The Da Vinci Code and an Error in Parallelism

May 17, 2006

Critics at the Cannes Film Festival did not seem to enjoy The Da Vinci Code: they laughed at overly melodramatic scenes, whistled and hissed during the credits, and there was no applause at the end.

This sentence contains an error in parallelism. The list of the three things that happened in response to the movie contains two verb phrases and one clause. A list of similar items in a sentence should be structured with similar parts of speech.

The two verb phrases are "laughed at overly melodramatic scenes" and "whistled and hissed during the credits." These describe what the subject, "they," did. The final item in the list, "there was no applause at the end," is a clause. It should be rewritten as a verb phrase to give the sentence parallel structure.

Critics at the Cannes Film Festival did not seem to enjoy The Da Vinci Code: they laughed at overly melodramatic scenes, whistled and hissed during the credits, and did not applaud at the end.

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