Michael and an Error in Parallelism

May 26, 2006

Michael Jackson, who has been living in Bahrain, is preparing to make an appearance in Tokyo to accept an award. His plans for his visit include not only touring the city and visiting orphanages, but also to meet with Asian businessmen.

The second sentence contains an error in parallelism. The structure of the sentence is unbalanced because "not only" is followed by two gerund phrases and "but also" is followed by an infinitive phrase.

When correlative conjunctions (also known as "connectors" because they work together in pairs to connect words, phrases, and clauses) are used in a sentence, the items that follow each conjunction must be similar in structure. The correlative conjunction pairs are either/or, neither/nor, not only/but also, not/but, both/and, and whether/or.

This sentence contains the correlative conjuctions not only/but also. Look at the structure of the sentence:

not only touring the city and visiting orphanages,

but also to meet with Asian businessmen

The phrases "touring the city" and "visiting orphanages" contain gerunds, but the phrase "to meet with Asian businessmen" contains an infinitive. To correct the sentence, change the infinitive to a gerund.

Michael Jackson, who has been living in Bahrain, is preparing to make an appearance in Tokyo to accept an award. His plans for his visit include not only touring the city and visiting orphanages, but also meeting with Asian businessmen.

The structure of the sentence is now parallel.

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