Parallelism is when two or more phrases or clauses have a similar grammatical structure. While the concept may sound tricky, it’s actually quite easy to execute… and makes your writing easy to read when done correctly!
Let’s take a look at an example of parallelism done incorrectly, then break down what needs to happen for it to be fixed:
- Incorrect: To get ready for my trip, I needed to pack, call my bank, and taking out money from the ATM.
Taking out does not follow the same structure as the other parts of the list, so the above sentence does not demonstrate proper parallel structure.
- Correct: To get ready for my trip, I needed to pack, call my bank, and take out money from the ATM.
"Mixed construction" is a fancy way to say that your sentence doesn’t make sense. A mixed construction happens when you start a sentence with one construction and finish it with another one.
At their most basic level, sentences have a subject and a predicate. In a mixed construction sentence, the predicate doesn’t match the subject.
Let’s take a look at that in practice:
- Incorrect: Writers, creating manuscripts, require a lot of editing.
The predicate require a lot of editing relates to manuscripts, not to writers.
Here are two correct ways to re-write that sentence:
- Correct: Writers create manuscripts. Manuscripts require a lot of editing.
- Correct: Writers create manuscripts, which require a lot of editing.