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Grammar resource: Non-parallel structure

“Parallel structure means using the same pattern of words to show that two or more ideas have the same level of importance.”

What is a non-parallel structure?

Parallel structure is when you use the same way of describing several things in a list. 

Example:  The most common ways to network academically using social media are to follow academics and researchers on Twitter, join appropriate groups on LinkedIn or create an account on Academia.edu/ResearchGate.

Each of the options listed uses the same grammatical structure – starting with the base verb forms (follow, join and create). Non-parallel structure occurs when you mix the verb forms. 

Example: The most common ways to network academically using social media are to follow academics and researchers on Twitter, join appropriate groups on LinkedIn or by creating an account on Academia.edu/ResearchGate.

The verbs here are follow, join and creating – different forms of verb (two base forms and one -ing verb). The structure is therefore non-parallel.

Example of non-parallel structure:

 

Example: According to Kolb (1984), experiential learning consists of having an experience, reflecting on that experience, learning from it and plan changes for the future.

 

Should be: According to Kolb (1984), experiential learning consists of having an experience, reflecting on that experience, learning from it and planning changes for the future.

 

Or alternatively: According to Kolb (1984), experiential learning requires you to have an experience, reflect on that experience, learn from it and plan changes for the future.