Parallelism is defined as one or more phrases or clauses in a sentence with similar grammatical structure. Read and watch the following resources for an introduction to parallelism.
- Reading about the [theory of parallelism]
- Watch a short [lecture about parallelism] with examples of how to recognize and construct parallel sentences.
- Optional: Video examples of identifying parallel structures:
After finishing the resources above, try to identify which of the following sentences are in parallel structure:
- (a) I like to watch movies and to travel abroad.
- (b) The job demands professional qualifications, managerial abilities, and global experience.
- (c) Let’s start by checking your essay and look for any faulty parallelism.
- (d) She wanted love, happiness and to feel secure.
Because sentence (a) connects two ‘to’-infinitive in a sentence, it is in parallel structure. In sentence (b), the parallel objects are noun phrases with the same grammatical structure. It correctly uses parallelism as well.
However, sentence (c) and (d) are non-examples of parallelism. In sentence (c), the gerund “checking” was being used for the first phrase; the verb “look” was used for the following phrase. Since the phrases do not have the same grammatical structure, it failed the rule of parallelism.
Similarly, for sentence (d), parallelism was used after the verb “wanted.” The parallel objects are “love,” “happiness,” and “to feel secure.” Observed that “love” and “happiness” are nouns; however, “to feel secure” is a ‘to’-infinitive. To meet the requirement of parallelism, all parallel objects have to be in the same structure. Thus, this is an improperly used parallelism.