Parallelism in TOEFL Speaking and Writing

Parallelism in TOEFL Speaking and Writing: Understanding this type of grammar helps you to control your language use on the TOEFL speaking and writing sections.

Parallelism in TOEFL Speaking and Writing

 

 

 

 

 

 

Parallelism occurs in many forms. This blog post focuses on parallelism with paired conjunctions. Completing this lesson will help you with parallelism in TOEFL Speaking and Writing

Parallelism in TOEFL Speaking and Writing: Either + same structure = Or + same stucture

“Either” occurs with “or.” Moreover, you should use the same structure on both sides of these conjunctions.

  • Not parallel: Either Tom and his friend will attend the concert tomorrow.
  • Parallel: Either Tom or his friend will attend the concert tomorrow.

In the above example, the conjunction “either” is not parallel to the conjunction “and.”

  • Not parallel: If you want to meet with your biology professor, you will find her either in her office or she will be in the laboratory.
  • Parallel: If you want to meet with your biology professor, you will find her either in her office or in the laboratory.

In this example, the prepositional phrase “in her office” is not parallel to the independent clause “she will be in the laboratory.”

Parallelism in TOEFL Speaking and Writing: Neither + same structure = Nor + same structure

“Neither” occurs with “nor.” In addition, you should use the same structure on both sides of these negative conjunctions.

  • Not parallel: Neither the other students or Sally will complete the research project on time.
  • Parallel: Neither the other students nor Sally will complete the research project on time.

The example above illustrates that “neither” is not parallel to the conjunction “or.”

  • Not parallel: Susan likes neither shopping nor to sunbathe.
  • Parallel: Susan likes neither shopping nor sunbathing.

This example shows that the gerund “shopping” is not parallel to the infinitive “to sunbathe.”

Both + same stucture + And + same structure

“Both” is accompanied by “and.” Further, you should use the same structure on both sides of these paired conjunctions.

  • Not parallel: Both the teammates or the spectators will need to contribute if everyone wants to have an entertaining time.
  • Parallel: Both the teammates and the spectators will need to contribute if everyone wants to have an entertaining time.

In the example just mentioned, “both” is not parallel to “or.”

  • Not parallel: A closer examination of the new policy changes at Stanford reveal that the instution is both flexible and endure.
  • Parallel: A closer examination of the new policy changes at Stanford reveal that the instution is both flexible and enduring.

In the incorrectly written sentence above, the adjective “flexible” is not parallel to the verb “endure.”

Not only + same structure = But also + same structure

“So” sometimes occurs with “that.” Moreover, an adjective follows “so” and an independent clause follows “that.”

  • Not parallel: Death Valley was so hot and I felt like I was inside of an oven.
  • Parallel: Death Valley was so hot that I felt like I was inside of an oven.

“So” in the above sentence is not parallel to the coordinating conjunction “and.”

  • Not parallel: After someone farted loudly during the lecture, the class became so quiet that the silence in the classroom.
  • Parallel: After someone farted loudly during the lecture, the class became so quiet that the students could have heard a pin drop onto the floor.

In the “not parallel” above, noun clause, not a noun phrase should follow the subordinating conjunction “that.”

Watch the YouTube video in which one of my students uses parallelism in order to link ideas together:

 

May the next TOEFFL exam you take be your last!

Michael Buckhoffmbuckhoff@aol.com

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