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 thoughts on “Faulty Parallelism”

    1. 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?

  1. LacoursièreL.

    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.

  2. 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!

  3. Benoit Jones-Vallée

    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 ?

  4. Andréanne Lessard

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

  5. Vallecillos Lucas

    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.

  6. Camille Dubois-Francoeur

    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.

  7. Marie-Ève Paradis

    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!

    1. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. Kateri-Laurence

    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!

    1. 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?

  10. Samuelle Grande

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

  11. 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!

  12. Camille Turcotte-Charbonneau

    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!

    1. 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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