Faulty Parallelism: Parallelism With a Rebel

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Faulty Parallelism

Parallelism is the literary device. Faulty parallelism occurs when the device takes a wayward turn from the parallel structure or format in listing or pairing items.

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The writer begins his sentence with two or more similarly related words or phrases. The rhythm soothes the reader. Then the writer deviates from the pattern, and the derailment jars the reader.

Here are examples:

1. Craig liked to sketch, sculpture, and painting.

Parallelism

Craig liked to sketch, sculpture, and paint.

Craig liked sketching, sculpturing, and painting

2. Jake excelled in art, science, and learning history.

Parallelism

Jake excelled in art, science, and history.

3. I am not so much worried about global warming as the heat it’s causing among people.

Parallelism

I am not so much worried about global warming as I am about the heat it’s causing among people.

Changes in verb construction

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4. The gardener worked hard planting azaleas, trimming trees, and mowed the lawn.

Parallelism

The gardener worked hard planting azaleas, trimming trees, and mowing the lawn.

OR

The gardener worked hard. He planted azaleas, trimmed trees, and mowed the lawn.

Noun construction veering to a verb

5. Anna usually dressed in pink-hued blouses, black pencil skirts, and pulled on multicolored tights.

Parallelism

Anna usually dressed in pink-hued blouses, black pencil skirts, and multicolored tights.

Verb phrase construction detouring to a noun

6. Learning to listen is important in understanding what’s said, gaining information to form a response, and politeness.

Parallelism

Learning to listen is important in understanding what’s said, gaining information to form a response, and being polite.

Awkward sentences

7. Clarice interrupted her opponent, then adding to that using profanity, and infuriating the debate judges.

Parallelism

Clarice interrupted her opponent, used profanity, and infuriated the debate judges.

8. Grace needed to turn on her charm or it would be necessary for her to turn off her stubbornness.

Parallelism

Grace needed to turn on her charm or turn off her stubbornness. 

9. Stu was out of control also with shrillness and he was angry.

Parallelism

Stu was out of control, shrill, and angry.

Although faulty parallelism can jar or confuse a reader, it’s easy to correct. Click to tweet.

To you as a reader, is faulty parallelism invisible or annoying?

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3 thoughts on “Faulty Parallelism: Parallelism With a Rebel

  1. Fortunately, these are things that glare at me, so I don’t usually fall prey to them. I don’t think I could keep reading a book that has more than one!

     
     
    1. Hey, Jane. I can understand how they creep in drafts.

       
       
      1. Oh, yes. Anything can! That’s why we always need another set of eyes on it.

         
         

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