Communication Resources 

 

Parallel Structure

 

Overview: Parallel structure in writing is a way to give equal weight to ideas through patterning words, phrases, or clauses. Parallel structures are normally joined with conjunctions such as "or" and "and." Below are numerous examples of parallel structures in business writing. 

 

Resume

Example 1

  • Prepared weekly reports to director
  • Audited incoming accounts
  • Attended weekly meetings
  • Wrote weekly newsletter

Note that each bullet point begins with a verb in the past tense, thus giving equal weight to each achievement.

 

Example 2

  • Purchasing merchandise directly from sellers
  • Setting up displays
  • Organizing staff schedule
  • Balancing monthly accounts

Note the gerund structure of the verb after each bullet point, giving each equal weight and also indicating an ongoing function.

 

Letter/Document

Example 1

My personal characteristics, my experience and my degree make me the perfect candidate for the job.

Note that the three details the writer lists (my personal characteristics, my experience, and my degree) are all nouns preceded by the pronoun "my." 

 

Example 2

The sales associate was required to greet his clients quickly, warmly, and formally. 

Note the "ly" ending on each of the adverbs describing how the sales associate greeted his/her clients. 

 

Example 3

The manger told his team to arrive early, to set up near the entrance, and to hand out flyers to each person that walks through the door.

Note the use the infinitive (to + verb) for each of the tasks that the team must do.

 

A Final Word

Parallel structure gives flow and clarity to writing. It shows that you are a professional by utilizing a universally accepted method in business writing. 

 

 


References:


The Writing Lab & OWL at Purdue and Purdue University. Parallel

        Structure in Professional Writing.