Argot Writing Capital
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Enjoy a balanced diet
A well balanced and grammatically equal sentence serves to help the reader.
If two or more parts of a sentence are equal in meaning but not in form, it slows comprehension:
❌ The candidate’s goals include winning the election, a national health program, and the educational system.
✅ The candidate’s goals include winning the election, enacting a national health program, and improving the educational system.
❌ Harry likes to run, swim and go biking.
✅ Harry likes to run, swim and bike.
Properly composed sentences match nouns with nouns, verbs with verbs, and phrases or clauses with similarly-constructed phrases or clauses.
A well-written sentence creates a sense of rhythm and balance within a sentence. As readers, we often correct faulty parallelism intuitively because an unbalanced sentence sounds awkward and poorly constructed
Lists can also suffer from faulty parallelism. For example:
❌ Our conclusions
❌ Finally, recommendation
These should read:
✅ Draw conclusions
✅ Make recommendations
The same applies to lists after a colon:
❌ A dictionary is used for the following: word definitions, pronunciation with phonetics, correct spellings, and looking up irregular verbs.
✅ A dictionary is used for the following: definition, pronunciation, spelling, and structure.
In each example, word forms should be consistent. Whether you are using gerunds, plurals or adverbs, balance is important:
❌ The production manager was asked to write his report quickly, accurately, and in a detailed manner.
✅ The production manager was asked to write his report quickly, accurately, and thoroughly.
If something is breaking the rhythm in the sentence, change it.
Learn more about common mistakes, with our course Common Grammar Mistakes or view a range of our online courses.
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