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VANCOUVER, BC, June 07, 2013 /24-7PressRelease/ -- Keeping things parallel:
Most of the time, if you are reading 'good' (grammatically correct) writing, you will be unaware of parallel construction; simply put - parallel construction just sounds correct. Just as your mother-in-law can spot the one dusty spot in your otherwise immaculate house, so can we immediately notice something 'wrong' - even if we're not sure what it is, or why.
Consider the sentences below:
When I stay at a resort, I love playing golf, swimming and to go to the spa.
When I stay at a resort, I love playing golf, swimming and going to the spa.
Hopefully, the second sentence just seems 'better' to you. That is because the first sentence does not have parallel construction. 'Playing' and 'swimming' are gerunds but 'to go' is an infinitive. Parallel construction means keeping everything the same, matching or parallel. Changing 'to go' to 'going' (also a gerund) makes the sentence parallel.
Try this sentence:
On my trip to Italy I plan to visit the Colosseum, the Vatican and explore Tuscany.
Something likely sounds wrong about this sentence, even if you can't quite put your finger on it. Think of it this way. You have listed three different things you wish to do - now separate them completely into three sentences:
I plan to visit the Colosseum.
I plan to visit the Vatican.
I plan to visit explore Tuscany.
Oops! Now it's easy to see what's wrong!
There are different options for fixing this:
a] On my trip to Italy I plan to visit the Colosseum and the Vatican and to explore Tuscany.
b] On my trip to Italy I plan to visit the Colosseum, see the Vatican and explore Tuscany.
My personal preference would be sentence b] - I don't like the two 'and's in sentence a].
Inserting a different verb 'see' for the Vatican enables us to keep the original construction while making it parallel - each item on the list now has its own verb, so it's fine.
Two more examples:
This weekend I intend to clean the house, the car and plant a vegetable garden. (incorrect)
This weekend I intend to clean the house, wash the car and plant a vegetable garden. (correct)
I enjoy going to the movies, reading a good book and to meet friends for coffee. (incorrect)
I enjoy going to the movies, reading a good book and meeting friends for coffee.
Take care to use parallel construction and your writing will always sound (and be) correct.
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