Gwyneth and an Error in Parallelism

June 4, 2006

Gwyneth Paltrow knocked over her husband Chris Martin's computer, damaging the outer casing, ruining the screen, and the forthcoming Coldplay songs that were stored on it were almost destroyed.

This sentence contains an error in parallelism. Three things happened when Gwyneth knocked over the computer, but the list contains two verbal phrases and one independent clause. Similar items in a series should be structured with similar parts of speech.

The two verbal phrases are "damaging the outer casing" and "ruining the screen." The clause is "the forthcoming Coldplay songs that were stored on it were almost destroyed." To make the sentence parallel in structure, change the clause into a verbal phrase.

Gwyneth Paltrow knocked over her husband Chris Martin's computer, damaging the outer casing, ruining the screen, and almost destroying the forthcoming Coldplay songs that were stored on it.

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