Grammar Grammar

Document Sample
Grammar Grammar Powered By Docstoc
					                                                                11/13/2009




                       Grammar
        Parallel Structure
        Commas (part 1)




Next grammar quiz



     Grammar Quiz 3 (Nov 30/Dec 1—lecture) will be on
         Parallel structure
         Sentence problems
         Commas
         Mechanics (capitalization, italics, quotation marks
           etc.)




                                                                        1
                                                                   11/13/2009




             Using parallel structure
          Practical Grammar 124-128 (Review Exercise 7.A.
                             133-135)




Parallel structure



      Which sentence in each of these pairs is more
        effective?

        He intends either to win the competition or he will die
         trying
        He intends to either win the competition or die trying.


        You can run, but hiding will be impossible for you.
                 run,        can t hide
        You can run but you can’t hide.


        The snow was wet, grey, and it wasn’t very
         appealing.
        The snow was wet, grey, and unappealing.




                                                                           2
                                                                          11/13/2009




Parallel structure improves clarity and balance (and reduces wordiness)



      The more effective sentences use parallel structure


                                                         trying.
        He intends to either win the competition or die trying


        You can run, but you can’t hide.


        The snow was wet, grey, and unappealing.




Parallel structure uses similar phrasing for similar ideas



      Using parallel structure means expressing similar
        ideas using similar patterns of words

        He was lazy, good-humoured, likeable, and a crook.


          This sentence appears to be a list of four things.
          Lazy, good-humoured, and likeable are all adjectives,
          but crook is a noun. The sentence lacks parallelism.

          Example solutions: He was lazy, good-humoured,
          likeable, and dishonest.
          He was a lazy, good-humoured, and likeable crook.




                                                                                  3
                                                                    11/13/2009




Parallel structure creates balance



       Applying parallel structure is a little like balancing an
        equation
       Elements on each side of the = sign must balance
        The duties of the job include babysitting, house
         cleaning, and the preparation of meals.

              babysitting = cleaning = preparation


                                       j              y
           Solution: The duties of the job include babysitting,
           house cleaning, and preparing meals.




Parallel structure is a useful tool



       Using parallel structure usually results in simplifying
        your sentence structure
       This is a good thing: a very common writing fault is to
        complicate unnecessarily
       TIP: Write as simply as possible (especially when
        explaining complicated things)




                                                                            4
                                                                         11/13/2009




Parallel structure is required in certain cases



      Parallel structure is an effective rhetorical device
       commonly used in speeches because the balance it
       creates is pleasing to the ear
      Using parallel structure is also an effective way to
       clean up many sentences that seem vaguely
       unsatisfying


              Balance is most important with closely related
              structural elements. Windows in well-designed
               buildings usually share similar shapes, and so
             should sentence elements that appear in series.
                                   Jack Hart




Parallel structure is required in certain cases



      Parallel structure is usually required for
         Items joined with correlative conjunctions (these are
          conjunctions that work in pairs such as either…or, neither …
          nor))
         Lists
         Items joined with the coordinating conjunctions (FANBOYS)
         Comparisons




                                                                                 5
                                                                 11/13/2009




Parallel structure is required with correlative conjunctions



      Correlative conjunctions work in pairs
      By definition, they join equal things and require
        parallel structure
           Either…or
           Neither…nor
           Not only…but also
           Whether…or




Parallel structure is required with correlative conjunctions



       Either he plans to take the MBA program or to spend
         the year travelling.

       The Minister needs both a well-written proposal and
         to feel confident in the team carrying it out.

       The staff were not only well-respected professionally,
         but they were also often engaged in social activities
                                              charity.
         and went to events raising money for charity




                                                                         6
                                                                     11/13/2009




Parallel structure is required with correlative conjunctions



       Either he plans to take the MBA program or to spend
         the year travelling.
         Solution: He plans either to take … or to spend…


       The Minister needs both a well-written proposal and
         to feel confident in the team carrying it out.
          Solution (examples): The Minister needs both a well-
          written proposal and a competent team to carry it out.
          The Minister needs a well-written proposal and a team
                                              p p
          he feels confident in to carry it out.




Parallel structure is required with correlative conjunctions




       The staff were not only well-respected professionally,
                y                   g g
         but they were also often engaged in social activities
         and went to events raising money for charity.
           This sentence contains several elements and is
           difficult to fix. A simple solution is possible, but it
           loses some of the meaning in the original: The staff
           were not only well-respected professionally but also
           sociable and charitable.
           P b bl the sentence should be split i t
           Probably th       t       h ld b      lit in two.
           The staff were well-respected professionally. They
           were also often engaged in social activities and
           attended events to raise money for charity.




                                                                             7
                                                                            11/13/2009




Sometimes correlative conjunctions can be replaced for simplicity



      When fixing parallelism errors with correlative
       conjunctions, sometimes, for simplicity, you can
       replace the correlative conjunctions with a
       coordinating conjunction
      Use correlative conjunctions only when you have two
       complex ideas to join or want particular emphasis
      Consider this example:
      Not only was he a good swimmer but also an
                  runner
        excellent runner.
         You need to fix the parallelism problem: “He was not
         only a good swimmer but also an excellent runner.”
         However, using “not only…but also…” might be overkill
         here. Perhaps the sentence just means “He was a good
         swimmer and an excellent runner.”




Lack of parallel structure is sometimes caused by a misplaced preposition



      Sometimes, moving or deleting a preposition is all
       that is needed to make the elements parallel
      You often have a choice of putting the preposition
       before the first correlative conjunction or putting it
       after the conjunction and repeating it

      He is going either to win the award or die trying.

      The problem here is simply with the placement of the
      preposition “to.” You can change it to either of these:
      He is going to either win the award or die trying.
      He is going either to win the award or to die trying.




                                                                                    8
                                                                                 11/13/2009




Lists almost always require parallel structure



      Lists almost always require parallel structure.
      Consider this list. What does it need to make it
        parallel?
          New stapler
          Mr. Sanders’ email
          Check toner
          Meeting room for September 23
          Need post-its
                                       f
          Report on best-practices conference




The coordinating conjunctions join equal things and require parallel structure



      Items joined with coordinating conjunctions should be
       parallel
      The 7 coordinating conjunctions are
       for, and, nor, but, or, yet, so (FANBOYS)

          Does he want bacon or ham?
          Slowly yet inevitably, the time approached.
          He was ranting and raving and looking ready to
           scream.
           scream
          He eats badly, but he looks fit.




                                                                                         9
                                                                 11/13/2009




Items in a series require parallel structure



      Items in a series require parallel structure


        The subjects guaranteed to cause arguments are
         politics, religion, and money.

        English is a remarkably clear, flexible, and useful
         language.

        Extensions are granted only in cases of sickness,
       E t   i            t d l i            f i k
         family emergencies, and if you have serious personal
         problems.




Comparisons benefit from parallel structure



      Use parallel structure to keep comparisons clear


                                      snow,
       The Mustang handles poorly in snow whereas the
         Neon is a good car in snowy conditions.

       According to the 1996 census, 22.1 percent of the
         Canadian population is rural and 77.9 percent live in
         cities.




                                                                        10
                                                                     11/13/2009




Correct these sentences by applying parallel structure




       The watch is sturdy, attractive, and it also keeps
        g
        good time.
       The dentist gave him a choice of either laughing gas
        or having a local anesthetic.
       We decided we should eat more healthy food and to
        exercise regularly.
       She is not only the editor of a literary journal, but also
                      newspaper.
        a community newspaper
       Josh decided to move out because campus
        accommodation was more comfortable, more
        exciting, and his parents finally refused to feed him
        any more.




Avoid being reductive or over-simplifying with parallel structure



      Parallel structure is powerful, but it can be overdone
      Beware of “automatic parallelism” (the temptation to
       add words just for the sake of sounding parallel, e.g.
       “The day was wet, dreary, and grey,” where “dreary”
       and “grey” seem to overlap)
      The strength of parallel structure is that it implies
       equality between elements. If elements are not equal,
       they should not be presented in parallel.




                                                                            11
                                                                       11/13/2009




Parallel Structure—avoid over-simplifying



      The new technical writer is intelligent, conscientious,
         and wants to change the system.
       This sentence is awkward and cries out for parallel
       structure. Revising it for parallel structure would result in
       something like “The new technical writer is intelligent,
       conscientious, and innovative.” Yet this does not convey all
       the information in the original and seems reductive.




Parallel Structure—avoid over-simplifying




       The new technical writer, who is intelligent and
                      ,              g       y
         conscientious, wants to change the system.


        Revising the sentence this way shows that “wants to
        change the system” is more important to the intended
        meaning than the adjectives.




                                                                              12
                                                                  11/13/2009




SUMMARY: Balance: parallel structure



     Show equality between ideas by using similar
      phrasing for elements of similar weight (i.e., using
      parallel structure)
     Revise sentences that gesture towards parallel
      structure but fail to deliver
     Check
        o Sentences using paired conjunctions such as either…or
        o Lists
        o Items in series or any items joined with coordinating
                               y       j                      g
          conjunctions
        o Comparisons
     Do not use parallel structure if one idea is more
      important than others




                           Commas
                     Practical Grammar 140-147




                                                                         13
                                                                         11/13/2009




Use a comma before one of the FANBOYS if (and only if) it separates
two independent clauses

     You can join two independent clauses with a comma
       plus one of the FANBOYS

         You have to work hard, but the rewards are worth it.
         Derek is having fun with the baby, but Josh is standing
          jealously watching.
         The novel was fascinating, and I sped through it.
         The holiday is approaching fast, so you need to book your
          flight.




Use a comma before one of the FANBOYS if (and only if) it separates
two independent clauses

     You do not use a comma if the FANBOYS are joining
       anything except independent clauses
         His favourite occupations were reading Russian novels and
           skydiving.
                                    and is joining two verbs


         He was neither handsome nor rich.
                                         nor is joining two adjectives

         Is your place a house or a condo?
                                  or is joining two nouns




                                                                                14
                                                                          11/13/2009




Use a comma before one of the FANBOYS if (and only if) it separates
two independent clauses

     Compare these sentences (both are correct):


         Within ten minutes she had eaten all the chips, and she had
           drunk all the beer.



         Within ten minutes, she had eaten all the chips and drunk all
           the beer.




Use a comma before one of the FANBOYS if (and only if) it separates
two independent clauses


                                 ,
     The dog was a pit bull but not very vicious.



                           ,
     Sammy is smart and sweet.



                                          ,
     He told me that he likes salad and all vegetables.



                                              ,
     She puts dandelions in her salad and coke in her
       salad BBQ sauce.




                                                                                 15
                                                                         11/13/2009




Use a comma in a series of three or more items

     When you have a list of three or more items, use
       commas between them:

     Her children were named Aaron, Ariel[,] and Anais.
     He demanded transportation to the airport, a private jet[,] and
      five million dollars.
     Dilbert, Cuthbert, Cedric[,] and Tristan are my favourite names.



                 Thi optional comma is called th serial
                 This ti      l       i    ll d the    i l
                 comma (also known as the Oxford comma).
                 It is a matter of style whether you include
                 it or not. Most academic styles include it.




                                                                                16

				
DOCUMENT INFO