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Punctuation, Structure

Note 34 – Parallel form (expressions)

For the background to my writing challenge, please read my first blog by clicking the following link –  If you would prefer to dive straight into note 34, then please read on…

Parallel form (expressions)

As mentioned in my blog yesterday on ‘Parallel form (lists)’ consistency is important in your sentences.  Parallel forms, however, don’t just apply to lists, but expressions as well.  William Strunk and E.B. White in their book The Elements of Style, explain that the principle of parallel construction “requires that expressions similar in content and function be outwardly similar”.  An example they give is “Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted”.

I would expect that there are many sentences out there that you could read in books to see if they are abiding to the rules of parallel form.  Please find below, some basic examples that I have come up with:

(1) We don’t just want to go to the cinema; we want to go to the restaurant as well.

This is correct because of the repetition of ‘we want to’.

(2) Yesterday I  found details about parallel form in The Little Red Writing Book; today I have found details about parallel form in The Elements of Style.

This is correct because of the repetition of ‘I found details about’

Applying these principles by consistently using one form of expression, gives clarity to your writing.  Please also refer to yesterday’s blog for more information about parallel form.

That’s it for today.  I’m going to a party at the Kensington Roof Gardens in London this evening, hence writing my blog earlier today.

Wishing you a great weekend

Until tomorrow…


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Twitter: @madeirasandra  and  @tipsandluxuries

Reference list

William Strunk Jr. and E.B. White  The Elements of Style, fiftieth anniversary edition (2009), USA


About Sandra Madeira

I am a full-time working mum with a passion for writing and inspiring others. Subjects I tend to blog about are life skills, parenting, decluttering, worklife balance, etc. At the moment I am on a decluttering mission creating space in my house, garden and mind. I have challenged myself to do at least ten minutes a day and write about it. Have a good day! Sandra Freelance Writer


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