A photograph of an outdoor sign on a city sidewalk that reads: “is your thinking single-threaded or massively parallel?”

Source: Says it all really, frmb2u, Flickr

In the last section of the lesson, you focused primarily on how individual words contribute to parallelism. In this section, you will practice maintaining parallel structure with phrases.

A phrase is a related group of words acting as a unit in a sentence. A phrase is not a sentence because it is not a complete idea with a subject and a predicate. Some texting abbreviations are good examples of phrases. 

For the exercise that follows, match each abbreviation with the corresponding phrase by dragging the abbreviation on the top to the phrase on the bottom. Note: The words in each phrase are related and could act as a unit to add meaning to a sentence, but they are not sentences by themselves because they lack a subject, a verb, or both of these.

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A photograph of a person's hand holding a mobile phone, texting with their thumb

Source: Text Message, another.point.in.time, Flickr

Which phrases in the previous exercise are parallel to each other?

“LOL” and “SETE” are parallel because they are both verb phrases, beginning with -ing forms. You could use them in a sentence that reads, “Laughing out loud and smiling ear to ear, I replied to my friend’s text.”

“OTT” (over the top), “OMW” (on my way), and “OTL” (out to lunch) are parallel prepositional phrases.

When you include several prepositional phrases in a sentence, it is important to keep them parallel or balanced. Let’s look at these examples.

Nonparallel phrases

Americans report that at night they keep their cell phones by their beds, in their cars, or some people put them on the kitchen counter.

Parallel phrases

Americans report that at night they keep their cell phones by their beds, in their cars, or on the kitchen counter.

In the exercise that follows, identify parallel phrases by clicking on them within each sentence to highlight them. As you finish each sentence, read the explanation carefully.

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Now, try your hand at locating and clicking on the phrase that destroys the parallel structure in each sentence. If you answer correctly, the phrase will highlight.

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Now that you know about making phrases parallel, go to the next section to learn about making clauses parallel.