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Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Parallelism


(Continued from Monday, July 23)

GRAMMAR RULE #4: Place paired conjunctions (either—or, both—and, etc.) immediately in front of parallel items.

         Examples:
         Incorrect: You can either stay at my house or a hotel. (stay at my house is not parallel to a hotel)
         Correct: You can stay at either my house or a hotel. (my house and a hotel are parallel noun phrases)

         Incorrect: If you study both grammar and build vocabulary, you will improve your writing skills. (grammar is not parallel to build vocabulary)
         Correct: If you both study grammar and build vocabulary, you will improve your writing skills. (study grammar and build vocabulary are parallel verb phrases)


GRAMMAR RULE #5: Repeat any key words necessary to make the parallelism clear.

         Examples:
         Sam is good at cooking and teaching chefs. (not clear—is Sam good at cooking chefs as well as teaching them?)
         Sam is good at cooking and at teaching chefs. (Repeat at to clarify the parallelism.)

         Beth likes to read books that are scary and picture the action in her imagination. (not clear—do the books picture the action, or does Beth?)
          Beth likes to read books that are scary and to picture the action in her imagination. (Repeat to so that you know it’s Beth)


GRAMMAR CHALLENGE—Your Turn! Choose the sentences with correct parallelisms.
         1. The teacher wants us not only to tidy our desks at the end of the day but also to throw away litter from the floor.
2. Jim neither drives his wife to work nor his children to school.
3. Larry likes to run and judge races.
4. Ron often writes both short stories and poetry for the same magazine.
5. Mr. Owens is excellent at inventing and inspiring students to solve mechanical problems.
6. Either Anna is coming or she isn’t, and there’s nothing I can do about it.
(Answers are below.)

THURSDAY: TIPS FOR SHARPENING YOUR WRITING SKILLS
FRIDAY: MORE ON PARALLELISM

Answers:
         1. Correct (not only to tidy and but also to throw are parallel)
2. Corrected to two noun phrases: Jim drives neither his wife to work nor his children to school.
3. Unclear: Does Larry run while he judges races? Correct to clarify: Larry likes to run and to judge races.
4. Correct (both short stories and and poetry are parallel)
5. Unclear: Does Mr. Owens invent the students as well as inspire them? Correct to clarify: Mr. Owens is excellent at inventing and at inspiring students to solve mechanical problems.
6. Correct (Either Anna and or she are parallel)

CHECK OUT HOW TO ENTER THE FICTION WRITERS CONTEST ON SATURDAY’S POST.

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