ENG 1101 English Composition I, section OL 0110

Parallelism activity (35 minutes)

finish now! If you “get” the concept, then reread any of your ungraded work and look to see if you could improve the “sound” of your word choices by improving your parallelism. You may send me improved work, of course.

There is a concept in writing improvement that many students may not have ever been taught about: parallelism.

We hear and use the word “parallel” often, but not in the context of an English class.

1. What does the word “parallel” mean?

2. When have you heard it or used it, i.e. in what context.

3. Do you think parallelism in writing is good or bad?


Parallelism is a balance among two or more items in a sentence, usually items in a series. The balance is created by having the same sequence using the same kinds of words, for example, an adjective in front of a noun followed by another adjective in front of a noun: “blue sky and white clouds” sounds better than “blue sky and clouds that are white.” The meaning is the same, but there is greater harmony, a balance. Often, good parallelism uses fewer words to get across the same point.

Sometimes, it is not possible to have the exact number of words. In that case, the one that doesn’t match perfectly is usually placed at the end” “truth, justice, and the American way.” The longer phrase goes at the end. Similarly, we say “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”

A simple matter like improving on parallelism makes your writing flow smoothly and sound pleasing. A famous example is in Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech in which he says, “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.” Notice the similar words are balanced, beautiful, and memorable.

Meanwhile, please do this activity, which is posted in Files. Please note, the assignment appears as a jpg file, so you cannot write directly on it.

Please correct each of the ten sentences, each containing “faulty parallelism.” DO NOT WASTE TIME BY WRITING THE FAULTY VERSIONS FIRST. Just write down the newly corrected versions. The worksheet is a jpg, so you cannot write directly on it. Just number 1 through 10 with your corrected versions. DO NO WASTE TIME WRITING DOWN THE FAULTY ONES!

You may post your answers or you may email me them (but not as a PDF). The jpg file with the assignment is posted on Moodle. If you cannot find it, please email me for it.