• Sentences should be grammatically balanced.
  • Allows for clear and understandable words, phrases and clauses.
  • Use similar grammatical structures to balance your writing.
  • Incorrect: A student needs textbooks, notebooks and he needs pens.
  • Correct: A student needs textbooks, notebooks and pens.
  • Incorrect: A student who does well in exams attends class, reads the textbook and he reviews the notes.
  • Correct: A student who does well in exams attends class, reads the textbook and reviews the notes.
  • Incorrect: Before you write a paper or before you take a test, you must organize your thoughts.
  • Correct: Before you write a paper or take a test, you must organize your thoughts.

To summarize:

  • Words, phrases or clauses that are joined by co-ordinating conjunctions or correlative conjunctions must be written in parallel form (and, or, but, both…and, either…or, neither…nor, and not only…but also)
  • If the first structure is a noun, make all others nouns; if it is a prepositional phrase, make all the others prepositional phrases; if it is a dependent clause, make all the others dependent clauses.
  • All of the words in the first parallel structure do not have to be repeated in the seconds

Practice Examples

Credit cards are accepted by department stores, airlines, and they can be used in some gas stations.

Credit cards are accepted by department stores, airlines and some gas stations.

You do not need to risk carrying cash or to risk to pass up a sale.

You do not need to risk carrying or passing up a sale.

With credit cards you can either pay your bill with one check, or you can stretch out your payments.

With credit cards you can either pay your bill with one cheque, or stretch out your payments.

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