Three Reasons to Fix Faulty Parallelism and One to Leave It


Erin Brenner's picture

Eggs, Toast, and Juice

Erin Brenner

I, too, see sentences like this frequently and I edit them. They're grammatically incorrect. In the example, the sentence sets up a series of nouns but offers two nouns and a verb. The result is:

I ate eggs.
I ate toast.
I ate drank juice.

To leave the sentence as is is to leave an error. I'm not sure I would leave it when triaging a manuscript. I'd hate to, but it would depend on how much time I have and whether there are more egregious errors to tackle first. This, at least, is understandable.

Posted on Wed, 06/18/2014 - 9:01am

Erin Brenner's picture

RE: Adverb and adverbial parallelism?

Erin Brenner

Hmm, good question. I picked up the reasoning from Einsohn. Let me do some research on that.

Posted on Wed, 06/18/2014 - 9:04am


Punchline Communications (not verified)

Thanks for the interesting post, Erin. I'm happy to see a post that only explains parallelism very well, but also shows that parallelism that is technically 'wrong' should not always be fixed.

Parallelism can be a hard one to explain to some clients; the difference between the spoken and the written word is often significant when it comes to this topic, yet it may seem insignificant to the untrained eye.

Certainly, in some genres, it's more important than in others. Take a government report vs. a literary work, for example. Your example is a good reminder to thos of us who often get caught up in technicalities.


Posted on Fri, 06/20/2014 - 10:34am