SKILL 14 : PARALLEL STRUCTURE WITH COORDINATE CONNECTOR

Skill 14 : Parallel Structure with Coordinate Connector

One use of a conjunction is to connect words or phrases that have the same grammatical fuction in a sentence. This use of conju ctions is called parallel structure. The conjunction used in this pattern are and, but and or.

 

The job of the coordinate conjunctions (and, but, or) is to join together equal expressions. In other words, what is on one side of these words must be parallel to what is on the other side. These conjunctions can join nouns, or verbs, or adjectives, or phrases, or clauses; they just must join together the same structures. Here are examples of equal structures correctly joined by coordinate conjunctions:

He discussed the problem with the nurse and the doctor

The professor was knowledgeable but boring

She hikes, jogs, or rides her bicycle whenever she can.

There are meetings in the morning, in the afternoon and in the evening

You can do the work because you want to do it or because you have to do it

In the first example, two nouns are joined by the coordinate conjunction and. In the second example, two adjectives are joined by the coordinate conjunction but. In the third example, three verbs are joined by the coordinate conjunction or. In the fourth example, three phrases are joined by the coordinate conjunction and. In the last example; two clauses are joined by the coordinate conjunction or.

The sentences that follow show the types of errors in parallel structure that are common on the TOEFL test.

The evening dress was beauty* but expensive.

The student reads each chapter, takes a lot of notes, and memories* the material.

In the first example, the coordinate conjunction but joins the noun beauty and the adjective expensive. The adjective beautiful is needed in place of beauty. In the second example, the coordinate conjunction and joins the verb reads, the verb takes, and the plural noun memories. The verb memorizes is needed in place of memories.

The following chart outlines the use of parallel structures with coordinate con junctions.

PARALLEL STRUCTURE WITH COORDINATE CONJUNCTIONS

(same structure)

and

but

(same structure)

(same structure)

(same structure) and

but

(same structure)

EXERCISE : Each of the following sentences contains words or groups of words that should be parallel. Circle the word that indicates that the sentence should have parallel parts. Underline the parts that should be parallel. Then indicate if the sentences are correct (C) or incorrect (I).

1. The pastries in that shop are very expensive but quite deliciously. (I)

Analysis:

  • before BUT  and after BUT must have the same structure. EXPENSIVE is adjective, but deliciously is adverb. So, it is incorrect.
  • It should be ….very expensive but quite delicious.

2. You can find some change to buy a paper in the drawer, on top of the dresser, or in the jar. (C)

     Analysis:

  • in the drawer, on top of the dresser, or in the jar are all in same structure (adverb). So, it is correct.

3. The living room was decorated with expensive paintings and elegance lamps. (I).

Analysis:

  • expensive (adjective) painting and elegance (noun) lamps have different structure. So, it is incorrect.
  • It should be ….expensive painting and elegant lamps.

4. He knew that the financial problems were serious, that the situation was not going to improve, and that he needed to get a job.

Analysis:

  • ……that the situation was not going to improve and that he needs to get a  job have the same structure. Both sentences are clauses. So, it is correct

5. All day long during the trip to the mountains, they were skiing, sledding, or played in the snow. (I)

   Analysis:

  • skiing, sledding, or played.…(incorrect). It should be ..skiing, sledding, or playing.

6. The car needs new tires but not a new engine. (C)

Analysis:

  • new tires (phrase) but not a new engine (phrase). So, it is correct

7. He stops working when he gets too tired to continue or when he has finished. (C)

Analysis:

  • when he gets too tired to continue (clause) or when he has finished (clause). So, it is correct

8. To get to the office, you should go through this door, turn to the left, and continuation down the hall. (I)

Analysis:

  • go (verb) through this door, turn (verb) to the left, and continuation (noun) down the hall. So it is incorrect.
  • It should be “…..go……, turn, and continue,,,,,,,”

9. For dessert we could serve lemon pie, fruit tarts, chocolate cake, or butter cookies.(C)

Analysis:

  • ….lemon pie, fruit tarts, chocolate cake and butter cookies are all phrases. So, it is correct.

10. The sick child needs some medicine, some juice, and to rest. (I)

Analysis:

  • some medicine, some juice and to rest. (incorrect)
  • It should be “..some medicine. some juice and some rest

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