3 Sentences That Lack a Word to Achieve Parallel Structure

By Mark Nichol

Each of the following sentences is flawed because omission of a word prevents the statement from conveying the intended meaning. Discussion and revision point out the missing word.

1. Smith will discuss the organization’s mission and activities to date.

The writer likely did not intend to suggest that the discussion would be about both the organization’s mission to date and its activities to date; its mission is almost certainly unchanging, so “to date” pertains only to the activities, and therefore that noun must be preceded by a possessive noun or pronoun to match the preceding possessive noun: “Smith will discuss the organization’s mission and its activities to date.”

2. Dennis Eckersley, with his familiar mustache and long hair flowing out from underneath his cap, was perhaps the face of the Oakland A’s in the late 1980s and early ’90s.

Presumably, this baseball player’s mustache did not flow out from underneath his cap, so the references to the mustache and the long hair must have their own pronouns; in addition, each must be followed a distinct adjective: “Dennis Eckersley, with his trademark mustache and his familiar long hair flowing out from underneath his cap, was perhaps the face of the Oakland A’s in the late 1980s and early ’90s.”

3. The business moved forward without realizing the value or need for consultation with various departments.

Because value and consultation would not, in isolation, be bridged with the same preposition that separate need and consultation, value requires a distinct preposition: “The business moved forward without realizing the value of or need for consultation with various departments.”

Recommended for you: « »



Leave a comment: