Grammar Tutorial: What is parallelism?

Written by Nigina Dustova

Basically, almost all of the verb structures need to be the same verb tense; this holds true even when the verb acts as a noun. However, this is not true when the events take place at different times.

Examples: Same tenses:

1.) She walked along the road, ate some ice cream, and then rode the bike.

2.) Spiking the ball, upsetting the fans, and storming off the court are not ways to make friends.

Different times:

3.) After we get up, we will go to the store.

4.) He will return as soon as he has train fare.

Exercises on Parallelism

Correct the sentences.

  1. The team laughed all the way home, sang until midnight, and went swimming until dawn.
  2. The man, after he won the championship, returned to his normal life.
  3. Maybe he had not done it correctly, but he tried.
  4. I liked hiking as a child, sleeping under the stars, and to get up early the next day.
  5. I was thrilled, relieved, sad, and overjoyed – all at once.

Answers:

  1. The team laughed all the way home, sang until midnight, and swam until dawn.In this sentence, swam must be simple past tense like the other two verbs in the sentence.
  2. The man, after he had won the championship, returned to his normal life. We must have past perfect tense in this case, because he won the championship prior to returning to normal life. On these questions, always look at the time relationship, especially between clauses.
  3. Maybe he did not do it correctly, but he tried.We need simple past tense on both sides of the comma. Past perfect is wrong with the first clause, because he did it and tried at the same time.
  4. I liked hiking as a child, sleeping under the stars, and getting up early the next day.We use –ing ending, as with hiking and sleeping.
  5. I was thrilled, relieved, saddened, and overjoyed – all at once. We need V3 (a verbal) on all of these.
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