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Editing Exercise: Faulty Parallelism

Practice in Correcting Errors in Parallel Structure


When two or more parts of a sentence are parallel in meaning (such as items in a series or words linked by correlative conjunctions), you should coordinate those parts by making them parallel in form. Otherwise, your readers may be confused by the faulty parallelism.

Rewrite each of the following sentences, correcting any errors in parallelism. Answers will vary, but you'll find sample responses on page two. (To view this exercise without ads, click on the printer icon near the top of the page.)

  1. We must either raise revenues or it will be necessary to reduce expenses.

  2. Stoics deny the importance of such things as wealth, good looks, and having a good reputation.

  3. In his farewell address to the army, the general praised his soldiers for their unsurpassed courage and gave thanks because of their devotion.

  4. The crowd that had gathered outside the court was loud and they were angry.

  5. The police have a duty to serve the community, safeguard lives and property, protect the innocent against deception, and they must respect the constitutional rights of all.

  6. Sir Humphry Davy, the celebrated English chemist, was an excellent literary critic as well as being a great scientist.

  7. The Johnsons were cheerful and knowledgeable traveling companions, and behaved generously.

  8. The delegates spent the day arguing with one another rather than work together to find common solutions.

  9. My sister's promotion means that she will be moving to another state and take the children with her.

  10. A company is not only responsible to its shareholders but also customers and employees as well.

  11. Examples of aerobic exercises are distance running, swimming, cycling, and long walks.

  12. Consuming too much of a fat-soluble vitamin can be as harmful as not to consume enough.

  13. The gyrocompass not only points to true north at all times, it is unaffected by external magnetic fields.

  14. Everything that could make a sound either was removed or taped down.

  15. If you hire a contractor to make home improvements, follow these recommendations:
    • Find out if the contractor belongs to a trade association.
    • Obtain estimates in writing.
    • The contractor should provide references.
    • The contractor must be insured.
    • Avoid contractors who ask for cash to dodge paying taxes.
  16. The new instructor was both enthusiastic and she was demanding.

  17. Annie's dress was old, faded, and it had wrinkles.

  18. By the time she was two, the child was not only active but also she was well coordinated.

  19. It is a truism that to give is more rewarding than getting.

  20. A battery powered by aluminum is simple to design, clean to run, and it is inexpensive to produce.

When you have completed this exercise, compare your answers with the sample responses on page two.

For additional practice, visit our Sentence Completion Exercise: Parallelism.

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