In A Sentence What Is Parallel Structure

Updated Feb 6, 2023

What is Parallel Structure: Maintaining Balance in Sentences


Have you ever come across a sentence that just didn't sound quite right? One of the reasons for this could be a lack of parallel structure. Parallel structure, also known as parallelism, is a grammatical concept that ensures balance and clarity in sentences. In this article, we will explore what parallel structure is and why it is important in writing.

Understanding Parallel Structure

Parallel structure refers to the repetition of a grammatical pattern within a sentence or a series of sentences. It involves using the same grammatical form for elements that have equal importance in a sentence. This could include using the same tense, voice, mood, or structure for related words, phrases, or clauses.

Examples of Parallel Structure

To fully grasp the concept of parallel structure, let's take a look at some examples:

  1. She likes reading, swimming, and hiking. - In this example, the parallel structure is evident as the gerunds "reading," "swimming," and "hiking" are in the same form.

  2. He not only enjoys playing the piano but also loves composing music. - Here, the parallel structure is maintained by the infinitive verb phrases "playing the piano" and "composing music."

  3. The company aims to increase profits, expand its market share, and enhance customer satisfaction. - In this sentence, the parallel structure is achieved by using infinitive phrases for each goal.

Importance of Parallel Structure

Using parallel structure in writing and speaking is crucial for several reasons:

  1. Clarity: Parallel structure helps to make sentences clear and easily understandable. When the elements in a sentence are not parallel, it can confuse the reader or listener.

  2. Emphasis: Parallel structure can be used to emphasize certain ideas. By presenting related ideas in a similar form, you draw attention to their importance.

  3. Aesthetic Appeal: Parallel structure adds a sense of balance and rhythm to your writing. It creates a pleasing flow and makes your sentences more engaging.

Tips for Maintaining Parallel Structure

To ensure parallel structure in your writing, consider the following tips:

  1. Identify the elements: Determine which elements in your sentence or series of sentences need to be parallel.

  2. Use consistent grammatical forms: Make sure that all the elements being compared or contrasted are in the same grammatical form.

  3. Check for balance: Ensure that the parallel elements are of equal importance and carry similar weight in the sentence.

  4. Revise if necessary: If you find any inconsistencies or lack of parallelism, revise your sentence accordingly to create a more balanced structure.


Parallel structure is an important aspect of writing that helps maintain balance and clarity in sentences. By using the same grammatical form for related elements, writers can enhance the readability and impact of their work. So, the next time you want to express ideas or present a list of items, remember the significance of parallel structure and apply it to create more effective and engaging sentences.

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