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Parallel construction

Parallel construction

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Description:
  1.  

    Introduce parallel construction and in what common situations it is preferred. 

  2.  

    Explain how to repeat function words (e.g. prepositions, subordinators, etc.) between parallel structures.

  3.  

    Explain how to present lists with parallel construction and how to avoid missing forms (e.g. prepositional phrases with noun phrases, infinitives with gerunds, etc.)

  4.  

    Explain how to present paired ideas in a similar grammatical form for effect.

 

This packet should help a learner seeking to understand English writing style and who is confused about how to use parallel construction. It will explain when parallel construction is preferred and common errors with parallel construction.

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Tutorial

Introduction to Parallel Structure

This slideshow is an explanation of parallel structure and how it is most often used in writing.

Parallel Structure and Repetition

This slideshow explains how to use repetition to create parallel structure.

Using Parallel Structure to Present Lists and Comparisons

This slideshow explains how to use parallel structure to present lists and comparisons in writing.

Using Parallel Structure for Rhetorical Effect

This slideshow explains how to use parallel structure for rhetorical effect.

Parallel Structure in The Gettysburg Address

Abraham Lincoln’s famous speech after the battle of Gettysburg is full of excellent examples of parallel structure. Can you find all of the examples?

 

The Gettysburg Address

http://blueandgraytrail.com/event/Gettysburg_Address_%5BFull_Text%5D

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battlefield of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we cannot dedicate—we cannot consecrate—we cannot hallow—this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom— and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

 

 

Below are a few of the examples of parallel structure that you may have found as you read “The Gettysburg Address.”

The Gettysburg Address

http://blueandgraytrail.com/event/Gettysburg_Address_%5BFull_Text%5D

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived[M1]  in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we[M2]  are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so[M3]  conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battlefield of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we[M4]  cannot dedicate—we cannot consecrate—we cannot hallow—this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall[M5]  not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom— and that government of the[M6]  people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.


 [M1]Conceived and dedicated are the same verb form

 [M2]Both phrases beginning with “we are” followed by the same verb tense

 [M3]Same verb tense and form

 [M4]Parallel clauses expressing same level of importance

 [M5]Parallel phrases expressing same level of importance

 [M6]Series using prepositions