Monday, October 8, 2012

Parallel Structure: Verb Tense Agreement




Sabrina writes:
Hey Snarky! I wrote a persuasive essay that included this sentence:
The phone ban in my school launched a storm of protests, from students who hung up posters to parents emailing the principal.
My teacher circled 'hung up' and 'emailing' and wrote "not parallel." Can you please explain what's wrong with that? It looked good to me.
A lot of grammar rules are really about sentence organization. When sentences are well-organized, it's easier for the reader to follow along and understand your meaning.

A sentence that includes a list, range, or comparison should be organized so that the examples follow a parallel structure.

Your sentence includes the idiom "from _______ to _______," which is used to give a range of examples. So the examples that come after 'from' and the 'to' should be parallel.

Right now, the nouns agree but the verb tenses do not.
from students who hung up posters | to parents emailing the principal.   
from + pl. nounwho + past participle | to + pl. noun + present participle ("-ing")....

Quick rules:
  • In sentences that contain a list, range, or comparison, compose your examples so that nouns match and verbs are in the same tense.

Corrections:
  • The phone ban in my school launched a storm of protests, from students hanging up posters to parents emailing the principal.
  • The phone ban in my school launched a storm of protests, from students who hung up posters to parents who emailed the principal.

1 comment:

  1. It will probably help students to understand every fact with respect to possible provisions of ideas and interest which are considered to be essential.

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