Locate partners in parallel and comparative structures
Parallelism and comparison have both been discussed in Identifying Sentence Errors in my article on 9 Aug 2011, they are worth mentioning again in Improving Sentences since they, especially parallelism, are frequently tested. Thus, you can read this article in parallel with that published on 9 Aug.
Skillful writers use a variety of sentence structures to convey meaning effectively and ensure ideas flow smoothly. However, when coordinate and contrastive ideas are juxtaposed in a sentence, they should be expressed in the same grammatical form in parallel structure. Juxtaposed elements are usually connected by conjunctions such as “and”, but” and “or”. This recognizable parallel structure helps writers to underscore the comparison and readers to follow the flow. Parallel structures can also reduce wordiness because part of the sentence is shared.
5a. Identify corresponding parallel parts
Careful writers balance a word with a word and a phrase with a phrase in parallel structures. In Improving Sentences, students need to identify the corresponding “partner” of a word or a phrase in the complex syntactic structure to determine which part of speech and forms should be used. First, read the sentence once and get its meaning. Meaning can help you see how the different parts of a sentence should be related.
5b. Use determiners and prepositions for the first or every member in parallel structures
Determiners (such as “a”, “the”, “every”, “my”, “this”, and “first”) are used in front of a noun to clarify the kind of reference the noun has. Following the principle of consistency, a determiner or a preposition which applies to all members in a parallel series should be used either
once before the first item
- in France, Italy and Spain
before each item
- the rich and the poor
If using the determiner or the preposition once does not affect meaning, it is unnecessary to repeat it before each item.
The area of comparison is tested similarly in Identifying Sentence Errors and Improving Sentences. Please refer to my article on 9 Aug 2011 for details. Here are a few examples to illustrate how this area is tested in Improving Sentences.
6a. Logical comparison
6b. Appropriate comparative structures
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(Next Tue: How to gain steady and consistent improvement)