|LEO: Literacy Education Online|
Parallel structure is really a matter of balance. Balancing a sentence can be compared to balancing a scale if we pretend that certain words -- and, or, but -- are the balancing points and if we understand that the words being balanced must carry the same "weight" in the sentence. One part of speech or of a sentence can be balanced only by one (or a series) of the same kind.
Notice that modifiers (like "down by the pier," "with the sunrise," and "of the fisherman") do not affect the balance of the sentences.
I enjoy biking and to walk down by the pier.
I enjoy biking and walking down by the pier.
Boy Scouts at the camp can learn cooking, canoeing, swimming, or how to make ropes.
Boy Scouts at the camp can learn cooking, canoeing, swimming, or rope-making.
Non-traditional students often study long hours, get limited sleep, and up again with the sunrise.
Non-traditional students often study long hours, get limited sleep, and are up again with the sunrise.
The storm front was moving either east through Minneapolis or northeast through Duluth.
The hurricane not only destroyed the fishing fleet but also the homes of the fishermen.
The hurricane destroyed not only the fishing fleet but also the homes of the fishermen.
This page was written by Becky Marchant for the Write Place, St. Cloud State University, St. Cloud, Minnesota, and may be copied for educational purposes only. If you copy this document, please include our copyright notice and the name of the writer; if you revise it, please add your name to the list of writers.
Last update: 27 June 2000