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Parallel Structure in Professional Writing

Summary:

Provides information and examples on parallel structure in business documents.

It is important to be consistent in your wording in professional writing, particularly in employment documents; this is called parallelism. When you are expressing ideas of equal weight in your writing, parallel sentence structures can echo that fact and offer you a writing style that uses balance and rhythm to help deliver your meaning. You can use parallel structure in any kind of writing that you do, whether that writing is on or off the job. We also have another handout that has more general information about parallel structure.

Here are some examples that demonstrate how to implement parallelism in preparing employment documents. When you're done reviewing them, try the practice exercise at the bottom.

Incorrect:
My degree, my work experience, and ability to complete complicated projects qualify me for the job.

Correct:
My degree, my work experience, and my ability to complete complicated projects qualify me for the job.

Incorrect:

  • Prepared weekly field payroll
  • Material purchasing, expediting, and returning
  • Recording OSHA regulated documentation
  • Change orders
  • Maintained hard copies of field documentation

Correct:

  • Prepared weekly field payroll
  • Handled material purchasing, expediting, and returning
  • Recorded OSHA regulated documentation
  • Processed change orders
  • Maintained hard copies of field documentation

Practice

Correct the following bulleted list from a final report.

On the web page there is much wasted space which is unappealing to the viewer. Following are suggestions for eliminating the unwanted blank space:

  • Move some of the text into the blank space
  • Centering the picture
  • Centering the picture and add text to each side
  • On the right of the picture, tell a little bit about the picture (who owns the balloon, what year and where this picture was taken, etc.)
  • Have pictures that stretch the length of the screen, like with a panoramic camera
  • Or as a last resort even take the picture out
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Copyright ©1995-2018 by The Writing Lab & The OWL at Purdue and Purdue University. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, reproduced, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission. Use of this site constitutes acceptance of our terms and conditions of fair use.