Archive for the '<parallelism>' Category

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.

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.

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.

Ashlee and an Error in Parallelism

May 14, 2006

Ashlee Simpson had a nose job, got two tattoos, and her hair is blonde again.

This sentence is incorrect because it contains an error in parallelism. The first two items in the list are verb phrases and the last item in the list is a clause. Change the clause to a verb phrase to correct the sentence.

Ashlee Simpson had a nose job, got two tattoos, and changed her hair color from black to blonde.

Lindsay and an Error in Parallelism

May 14, 2006

Lindsay Lohan was on The Ellen DeGeneres Show on Thursday, promoting her new movie, doing more push-ups, and said "Oh, #&%!" on the air.

This sentence is incorrect because it contains an error in parallelism. There are two gerund phrases ("promoting her new movie" and "doing more push-ups") and one verb phrase ("said 'Oh, #&%!' on the air".) To correct the sentence, change the verb phrase to a gerund phrase.

Lindsay Lohan was on The Ellen DeGeneres Show on Thursday, promoting her new movie, doing more push-ups, and saying "Oh, #&%!" on the air.