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Grammar- The Power of Parallel Structure

THIS IS MY first BLOG in a series about the POWER of PARALLEL STRUCTURE

Parallel Structure is a powerful tool. If you master the skill of using parallel structure when speaking and writing you can gain many benefits:

  • You can add more details into a sentence

  • You can make long sentences easy to read

  • You can compose more professional reports for university classes

  • You can increase your IELTS band score for grammar in both the speaking and writing sections

Notice the points above: They are organized into parallel structure. Another way to put it would be like this:

You can

  • add more details into a sentence

  • make long sentences easy to read

  • compose more professional reports for university classes

  • increase your IELTS band score for grammar in both the speaking and writing section

WHEN WRITING A LIST USE PARALLEL STRUCTURE

JUST

REMEMBER

TO

KEEP

THE

SAME

SENTENCE

STRUCTURE

When writing a list in ENGLISH, the most accepted way to punctuate it is:1, 2 and 3

For example:

  • She likes pizza, hamburgers and chips.

  • (ie) she likes NOUN, NOUN and NOUN

NOTE: It's OK to add compliments, especially in the last item:

She likes pizza, hamburgers and chips with lots of ketchup on top.

Let's look at our first example of how to use this in IELTS WRITING task 1:

Imagine we want to describe more than one change on this graph.

We can use parallel structure.

BY the way, this graph is talking about a fictional person called Killah Kasanova

The number of girlfriends increased gradually between the ages of 18 and 22, then rose sharply at the age of 24 and remained steady for the next two years.

NOTICE the pattern: SUBJECT + VERB + Compliment (usually an adverb). (then keep it PARALLEL)

Verbs are BLUE, compliments are RED

You could add in the data like this:

The number of girlfriends increased gradually from one to eight between the ages of 18 and 22, then rose sharply to twelve at the age of 24 and remained steady for the next two years.

Another way to use parallel structure for the same idea would be like this:

There was a gradual increase in the number of girlfriends between the ages of 18 and 22, followed by a sharp rise at age 24 and a period of stability during the next two years.

Notice the pattern: THERE WAS + (adjective) NOUN or NOUN + compliment

NOUNS are purple and Adjectives and compliments are orange

Notice that FOLLOWED BY is used to join the ideas in this structure.

EXERCISE: CAN YOU write about 2 or more changes in the chart above using parallel structure??

Post answers in the comments...

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