Kristen Guy Copywriting

A Gram of Grammar: Parallel Construction

Two construction cranes parallel to each other

When we speak or write, our brains process words quicker if they are uniform in structure. Using parallel construction makes understanding the content much easier. Let’s take a look at how this works.

Read this sentence out loud:

A successful meeting requires a prepared agenda, to discuss key topics and agreeing on next steps.

A little awkward, right? Was it difficult to follow what was being communicated?

That’s because there are three different grammatical structures. “Agenda” is a noun, “to discuss” is an infinitive and “agreeing” is a participle.

Now let’s rework it a bit and try again:

A successful meeting requires following a prepared agenda, discussing key topics and agreeing on next steps.

Easier to follow, isn’t it? Now each item in the list—following, discussing, agreeing—is a participle and the grammatical structure matches up.

Every time you write or speak, remember to use parallel construction so you can keep your words in line. If you do, you’ll have greater success getting your message across.

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