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Parallel Wording in Lists

Select like word forms in a series

Alan-fanatical sports fan


Using Like Word Forms


A sentence that is not parallel is said to be "mixing apples with oranges"  –  good in a fruit salad, but not in writing.       


Alan is a football fan.
*He is very lively, passionate and imagination.
      adjective — adjective — noun

*He enjoys running, eating and to watch football.
      gerund — gerund — infinitive

*He knows how to enjoy life and where he can find entertainment.
      how + infinitive — where + clause


When mentioning item s in a series, we use the same word form for each item or phrase. This helps a reader or listener to comprehend the information more easily.


Alan is a football fan.
He is very lively, passionate and imaginative.
      adjective — adjective — adjective

He enjoys running, eating and watching football.
      gerund — gerund — gerund clause¹

He knows how to enjoy life and where to find entertainment.
      how + infinitive clause — where + infinitive clause


like (Adj) – of the same form or type

¹gerund clause vs. phrase — in current linguistic analysis, the term"phrase" is reserved for particular word groups.  A gerund and its modifiers) falls into the clause category of a nonfinite clause.

Also see suffixes Adjective Forms, Noun Forms, Adverb Forms.






Common Mistakes

Errors and Solutions

matched cherries on slot machine


Error and Solution


*We stood in a long line waiting, talking and discussed how to fix this this country.

*Where we go and how are we going to do it is the question.

*Jack is enthusiastic and fanatic about football.

*Jack is enthusiastical and fanatical about football.


We stood in a long line waiting, talking and discussing how to fix this this country. 

(Change the third item to a gerund word form.)

Where we go and how we do it are two things to consider.
Where will we go and how will we do it are the questions to ask.

(Change the wording so that it is similar.) 

Jack is enthusiastic and fanatical about football.

Jack is an enthusiast and a fanatic of football. 

(Use like word forms. Look up unfamilar or confusing word forms.)


* incorrect usage.

Also see Parallel Phrasing , Pop-Q "Parallel", and suffixes Adjective Forms, Noun Forms, Adverb Forms.





Practice 1

Summer Activities

summer kids

Beginning Level  



Select a parallel word form to complete the sentence.

  1. Select the response from the list that best completes the sentence. 
  2. Compare your responses to the feedback by clicking the "Check" or "Check 1-8" button.





getting to know (v) – socializing, meeting


nap (v. ) – take a short rest, sleep for a little while





sail (V) – move across water by boat or ship; cruise






Practice 2

Parallel Phrasing in a Paragraph



intermediate-advanced level



Read for Errors

Having family and support each other is both reassure and necessary for a person to succeed in this world. Coming from a large family and that I am the oldest of the children, I have always had certain responsibilities and duty in the home.

One of my jobs, because I have "the" alarm clock, has been waking up my younger brothers and sisters, make sure they get dressed, and to see that they get downstairs by 7:20a.m. in time for breakfast.

My brother, who is one year younger and very responsibility, and who is tall enough to reach the high shelves in the kitchen, takes down the cereal boxes and putting them on the breakfast table. My second little brother and sister, who are twins. They are always arguing over whose job it is to put the milk and sugar on the table and whose job is it to put them away.

My six-year old sister, who is more mature than my brother who is ten, puts spoons and napkins on the table, never complaining and she always completing her job on time. While we are getting the breakfast table ready, Mom, who will later drive us to our schools, which are nearby. At 7:30a.m., we all sit down to eat, talking and preparation our minds for the day.

I really enjoy our mornings together even though the fighting and squabbling. Ours is a family in which we work hard, cooperatively, and responsibly, and also which we take care and watching out for each other.


see — (1) view, (2) manage (oversee)

reassure (V) — give confidence

squabble (V) — engage in small quarrels

"the" alarm clock — there is only one in the family






Edit for errrors.

  1. Select a response correct or incorrect.
  2. Compare your responses to the feedback by clicking the "Check" or "Check 9-20" button.












Ours is a family in which we work hard,




Also see:  Parallel Wording