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Faulty Parallelism

 

Ways to beat faulty parallelism

Ways to beat faulty parallelism

Faulty parallelism shows bad writing

What’s wrong with this sentence?

Example:

BEHQ’s vision is to offer weekly blog posts on business writing style and business topics of current interest, to create ebooks and ecourses, and working with affiliate partners.

No, it’s not pie-in-the sky – an idiomatic expression meaning unrealistic – thinking. No, Frank would never do that!

It’s faulty parallelism: equivalent parts of a sentence do not have equivalent forms.

It is a common writing problem for many non-native speakers of English.

In the example, the list of items is not parallel. In other words, the three items in the series are not balanced. They don’t have the same grammatical structure.

How do you correct it?

For the last item in the series, don’t use the expression “working with . . . ” but rather “to work with . . .“ (Notice we used “ellipsis” – three points . . . – a topic for another blog post.)

Correction: BEHQ’s vision is to offer weekly blog posts on business writing style and business topics of current interest, to create ebooks and ecourses, and to work with affiliate partners.

What to do next time?

Break a series of items into its separate parts:

  • to offer weekly …
  • to create ebooks …
  • to work with …

That way you see the balanced grammatical structure clearly. Don’t be afraid if you think you are being repetitive.

Other examples of faulty parallelism: correct the mistake

Ways to  avoid faulty parallelism

Ways to avoid faulty parallelism

1. BEHQ recommends that you improve your command of English by
– reading its blog posts regularly
– make comments on the blog
– to ask Craig and Frank questions.

2. When writing business documents, you should
– define your purpose
– stating your conclusion first
– to simplify your words.

3. Writing effectively means being clear about what you want to express, write out your thoughts correctly, and having reviewed your text.

Answers:
1.
– reading its blog posts regularly
– making comments on the blog
– asking Craig and Frank questions.

2.
– define your purpose
– state your conclusion first
– simplify your words.

3. Writing effectively means being clear about what you want to express, writing out your thoughts correctly, and reviewing your text.

{ 35 comments… add one }
  • Maïté Frégeau March 8, 2013, 5:55 pm

    I found this post very clear and well structured! Thank you for the good tips 😉 😉

    • Frank March 10, 2013, 8:47 pm

      Hi Maite,

      Fantastic! I’m glad we could help. Check in again soon for more help. What other grammar points would you like to learn about?

  • LacoursièreL. March 8, 2013, 5:59 pm

    I found this post pretty useful, it was entertaining and it was easier to follow with the text on the screen. It also made me participate.

    • Frank March 10, 2013, 8:45 pm

      Hi Laurence,

      Super duper! I’m glad it was helpful. Visit us again for more grammar points.

  • Tommy Milot March 8, 2013, 6:01 pm

    This is very interesting!
    These mistakes happen to me sometimes, but mostly because of a lack of focus!
    Even though I already know that rule, I`m sure it is going to be very good for others.

    Good work – keep going!

    • Frank March 10, 2013, 8:43 pm

      Hi Tommy,

      Thanks for your comment and encouragement. Check back often for more grammar points.

  • Benoit Jones-Vallée March 8, 2013, 6:05 pm

    I found that post very informative because at first, I didn’t know how that type of mistake is called, and I also learned how to write better. But how do you make sure that you can’t develop any further ?

    • Frank March 10, 2013, 8:41 pm

      Hi Benoit,

      Thanks for your comment, however I’m not sure what your question is.

  • Andréanne Lessard March 8, 2013, 6:06 pm

    I found this post interesting because I learned how to put the right verb tenses in my sentences, when there is an enumeration.

    • Frank March 10, 2013, 8:39 pm

      Hi Andreanne,

      You need to practice too.

  • Aïki Mekerian March 8, 2013, 6:09 pm

    thank you! that helped me a lot!

  • Neïl Touisi March 8, 2013, 6:09 pm

    Now I know that i won’t make those mistakes again, thanks!

    • Frank March 10, 2013, 8:37 pm

      Hi Neil.

      I’m glad it helped.

  • Genevieve March 11, 2013, 12:21 pm

    I found this post very helpful and easy to understand.

  • Mathieu March 11, 2013, 12:23 pm

    It was very helpful! Thank you for the tips!

  • Vallecillos Lucas March 11, 2013, 12:25 pm

    I found this recording very interesting because I have never heard about this rule and it was easy to understand with the examples on the screen.

  • Timothy Farthing-Messier March 11, 2013, 12:27 pm

    Thank you for the info! I hope to learn more.

  • Camille Dubois-Francoeur March 11, 2013, 12:27 pm

    Very interesting, I didn’t know that mistake. At first, I didn’t understand what it was about, but while listening I clicked. I found it very useful.

    • Frank March 11, 2013, 5:03 pm

      Hi Camille,

      I`m glad it was helpful. Find out about other grammar points that will help your writing.

  • Timothy Farthing-Messier March 11, 2013, 12:28 pm

    Thank you for the info! I’m looking forward for more videos like this.

    • Frank March 11, 2013, 5:01 pm

      Hi Timothy,

      Great going! Check back for more posts.

  • Marie-Ève Paradis March 12, 2013, 4:15 pm

    This post was very helpful; I make this mistake a lot, and I didn’t even know it was a mistake. I’m looking forward for more helpful videos!

    • Frank March 13, 2013, 6:53 pm

      Hi Marie-Eve,

      Fantastic! I’m glad you picked up a new point. Let us know if there is anything else you’d like to learn about.

  • etienne doiron March 12, 2013, 4:16 pm

    This was clear and helpfull

  • Joshua March 12, 2013, 4:16 pm

    As students, we must fight the evils of faulty parallelism! *Points sword to the sky*

  • Félix Gagné March 12, 2013, 4:17 pm

    2. When writing business documents, you should
    – define your purpose
    – stating your conclusion first
    – to simplify your words.

    I think the most correct way of writing this would be

    – state your conclusion first
    – define your purpose
    – simplify your words.

    Because of the word ‘should’. The purpose of these sentence segments is to complete the sentence above and the other forms would be inappropriate in the sentence.

    • Frank March 13, 2013, 6:51 pm

      Hi Felix,

      You got it! Good work on the revised text.

  • Emilie March 12, 2013, 4:18 pm

    Thanks It’s really interesting

  • Kateri-Laurence March 12, 2013, 4:18 pm

    Although I knew about this common mistake, it was very helpful. The multiple examples help us have a clear idea on how not to repeat it in the future. Thank you!

    • Frank March 13, 2013, 6:50 pm

      Hi Kateri-Laurence,

      Nice comment! I’m glad you liked the many examples we gave. It does make understanding easier. Are there any other writing points that you would like us to cover?

  • Samuelle Grande March 12, 2013, 4:20 pm

    This video was very clear and informative. I had no problem understanding it and I will definitely never make these mistakes ever again!

  • Sarra March 12, 2013, 4:20 pm

    this was very interesting! i never heard about this grammar point before!!
    Thank you

  • Viola Ferrando March 12, 2013, 4:27 pm

    Dear M Gonzalez,

    Good job explaining faulty parallelism. In the future, you should work on your breathing throughout the explainations. For example: avoid breathing in the middle of sentences. This will make the explainations sound more natural.

    I’ll be checking in soon to see if you’ve followed my advice!

  • Camille Turcotte-Charbonneau March 12, 2013, 4:27 pm

    I think it was a great video! Most people do not understand these types of mistake when English is not their maternal langage. I will definitly give more attention to the structure of my sentences from now on. Thank you!

    • Frank March 13, 2013, 4:35 pm

      Hi Camille,

      Thanks for the great compliment! By paying attention to these kinds of mistakes you can improve your writing. Check back with us often for other advice on writing.

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