Sentence Sense home   part one index parts 2 part 4 part 4
blank     chapter #

15.3 Consistency: Finding and Using Parallel Elements

Parallel elements within a sentence can be linked with a conjunction.

Sentence Parallel Elements
Alone but not afraid, Mrs. Herschel
set off for the bus terminal.
Alone
afraid
(2 modifiers for the subject)
She intended to buy her own ticket,
to carry her own bag,
and to make her own way
to Missouri.
to buy her own ticket
to carry her own bag
to make her own way
(3 infinitives used as completers)
As she turned the corner and waited
for the light, she felt that life was
beginning again for her.
turned the corner
waited for the light
(2 simple past verbs with completers)

We call straight lines parallel if they move in the same direction, so we can call sentence elements parallel if they show readers that certain thoughts are moving in the same direction. When you have several ideas to pack into one sentence, you can often arrange some of them in words that play the same sentence role and then link them with a conjunction. Skim through the sentence-combining sections at the ends of Chapters 2 - 6 (See Table of Contents) to refresh your memory of how conjunctions can connect groups of words that play the same role in a sentence.

Application 1

Using parallel elements makes a sentence easier to understand.

Those experiences have helped me to develop a strict sense of discipline that I've applied to my work habits and I gained a clear sense of right and wrong in moral questions.

Those experiences have helped me to develop a strict sense of discipline in my work habits and a clear sense of right and wrong in moral questions.

Which of the two sentences above is easier to follow? Look for the parallel elements in the second one.

  Application 2

Application 3       

home chapter 15  


 
Chapter 8 Chapter 9 Chapter 10 Chapter 11 Chapter 12 Chapter 13 Chapter 14 Chapter 15