Language Arts: Parallel Structure - Tutorial
A phrase is a part of a sentence that does not contain a subject and a verb.
A clause is a part of a sentence that contains a subject and a verb.
The sentence can be rewritten so that it reads:
This section will cover how to create sentences that have parallel structure.
Parallel structure adds balance and consistency. Sentences or parts of sentences that are connected by similar ideas should have similar form.
To understand how to create sentences with parallel structure, let's begin by looking at sentences that have a series of nouns, phrases, clauses, and prepositions.
Megan has a sandwich, apple, and a milkshake for lunch everyday.
Megan has a sandwich, an apple, and a milkshake for lunch everyday.
The first and last noun have the article a in front of them. The second noun does not have an article at all. This sentence is inconsistent.
Rewrite the sentence using articles to introduce all the nouns. Since apple begins with a vowel, we will use the article an.
The sentence has parallel structure.
Nate wanted to clean the garage, work in the yard, and go exercising at the gym.
clean the garage
work in the yard
go exercising at the gym
Only the third phrase contains an ing verb. This sentence can be rewritten so that it reads:
Nate wanted to clean the garage, work in the yard, and exercise at the gym.
Now the sentence has consistency and balance because all the verbs are without an ing ending. The sentence has parallel structure.
Marcie believes that with the right training a parrot can talk, a lizard can dance, and a dog sings.
a parrot can talk
a lizard can dance
a dog sings
The sentence can be rewritten so that all the clauses have the same verb tense.
Now the sentence has balance and parallel structure.
Marcie believes that with the right training a parrot can talk, a lizard can dance, and a dog can sing.
The following is a sentence that contains a series of prepositional phrases.
I kicked the ball across the yard, up the street, and I kicked it around the puddle.
- The first and second phrase begin with prepositions.
- The third phrase contains a subject and a verb.
This sentence shows inconsistency
across the yard
up the street
I kicked it around the puddle
I kicked the ball across the yard, up the street, and around the puddle.
Note: If the sentence contained a series of phrases with the same preposition, you can keep the preposition in the first phrase and omit the preposition from the last two phrases.
I kicked the ball across the yard, the street, and the puddle.
Remember to only add the preposition to the first phrase.
across the yard
across the street
across the puddle