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Parallelism or consistency in sentences

When we read a sentence, we expect it to be logical and use consistent tenses or structure.  When we are speaking, we can change ideas mid-sentence, but when we write, the reader expects to read a logical sentence.

Here is an example where the sentence is unparallel or inconsistent. It changes from passive voice to active voice.

Incorrect: The director was welcomed to the meeting and greeted the participants.

Correction: The Chair welcomed the director, who then greeted the participants.

Test yourself. Can you work out what is inconsistent and suggest a solution?

1 Verb tenses: sloppy

Inconsistent: Maria believes that the agenda, attendance lists and minutes of the last meeting has been sent out on time, but she forgot about the postal strike.

2 Infinitives and gerunds

Inconsistent: David likes to attend the meetings, helping prepare for them and taking notes for his section.

3 Unbalanced on either side of “and” or “or”

Incorrect: We sent out the invitations, organized the room allocations and the documentation was emailed to the participants.

Suggested solutions

1             Maria believed that the agenda, attendance lists and minutes of the last meeting had been sent out on time, but she had forgotten about the postal strike.

2             David likes attending the meetings, helping prepare for them and taking notes for his section.

3             We sent out the invitations, organized the room allocations and emailed the documentation to the participants.

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