Grammar: Parallel Construction
Parallel Construction Basics
Parallel ideas must be presented in parallel grammatical form, which means that each part of a sentence uses the same grammatical structure.
Examples of Parallel Construction
“Between” and “And”
Incorrect: We debated the difference between the weather in Minnesota in the winter and how hot it is in the summer. Correct: We debated the difference between the weather in Minnesota in the winter and the weather in Minnesota in the summer.
“Both” and “And”
Incorrect: The films were enjoyable both to watch and for discussing. Correct: The films were enjoyable both to watch and to discuss.
“Neither” and “Nor”; “Either” and “Or”
Incorrect: Neither the responses to the questionnaire nor what we asked on the survey were answered. Correct: Neither the responses to the questionnaire nor the responses to the survey were answered.
“Not Only” and “But Also”
Incorrect: It was surprising not only that the house sold, but also it sold well over the asking price. Correct: It was surprising not only that the house sold but also that it sold well over the asking price.
When we listen to the news, or podcasts, or listening exercises in English class, there are usually no extra sounds, like ‘uh’, ‘ummm’ or ‘ er’. The extra sounds are taken out.
But in normal conversation, English speakers use these little extra sounds all the time!
And if you’re not used to hearing them, they can be very confusing.
For example, let’s look at ‘er’ in this sentence. ‘Er’ is an extra thinking sound.
•I want – er – to go.
This person pauses and says ‘er’ to have time to think.
But ‘er’ sounds very, very similar to ‘her’.
The meaning of ‘I want her to go’ is completely different!
In my opinion, these little words are often the reason why we don’t understand someone well.
I think the best way to be able to hear the extra words is to focus a lot on this part of the audio.
In fact, the rhythm of speech and the pauses are a little different with ‘her’ and ‘er’.
We can practise hearing this with natural audio, with a proper transcript that includes extra thinking words.
If you listen to real conversations in small sections, you will start to hear these differences.