Parallel Run-In Listss Exercise (44)

For each sentence pair below, choose the one that achieves parallel construction.

    1.
    Presidents-elect typically spend the transition period assembling their cabinets, their White House staff, and preparing to take the reins of power.
    Presidents-elect typically spend the transition period assembling their cabinets, selecting their White House staff, and preparing to take the reins of power.

    2.
    There have been so many homeless-aid programs -- Matrix, Continuum of Care, and Real Housing, Real Care, as well as San Francisco Cares -- that, for the average person, they begin to blend together in one well-meaning rhetorical mishmash.
    There have been so many homeless-aid programs -- Matrix, Continuum of Care, Real Housing, Real Care, and San Francisco Cares -- that, for the average person, they begin to blend together in one well-meaning rhetorical mishmash.

    3.
    Richards wrote that he did eat a cougar for dinner, did not use a high-powered rifle, and said he has "consistently supported" conservation efforts as a commissioner when they are backed by scientific evidence.
    Richards wrote that he did eat a cougar for dinner but did not use a high-powered rifle and said he has "consistently supported" conservation efforts as a commissioner when they are backed by scientific evidence.

    4.
    He was a gifted travel writer, a talented photographer, and an outspoken environmentalist.
    He was a gifted travel writer, photographer, and outspoken environmentalist.

    5.
    The campaign went on for years and involved many organizations, tens of thousands of individuals, as well as statewide and national figures.
    The campaign went on for years and involved many organizations and tens of thousands of individuals, as well as statewide and national figures.

Answers and Explanations

1. Presidents-elect typically spend the transition period assembling their cabinets, selecting their White House staff, and preparing to take the reins of power.
Each action in a run-in list generally requires its own verb (though, as the second revision shows, two actions can share a verb as long as a conjunction rather than a comma separates them.)

2. There have been so many homeless-aid programs -- Matrix, Continuum of Care, and Real Housing, Real Care, as well as San Francisco Cares -- that, for the average person, they begin to blend together in one well-meaning rhetorical mishmash.
It’s not clear from the context, but Real Housing, Real Care is a single program. When a list item consists of two elements that might be misconstrued as separate list items, recast the list to make it clear that the phrase constitutes one item. ("Real Housing, Real Care" could have been relocated to the end of the list, but because the list items are ordered chronologically, the sequence should be retained.)

3. Richards wrote that he did eat a cougar for dinner but did not use a high-powered rifle and said he has "consistently supported" conservation efforts as a commissioner when they are backed by scientific evidence.
The middle item lacks its own verb, so combine that item with the first one, because both statements, unlike the third one, were written, so they should be paired.

4. He was a gifted travel writer, a talented photographer, and an outspoken environmentalist.
Just as each item in a list sentence should have its own verb or should share one, adjectives must be consistently distributed.

5. The campaign went on for years and involved many organizations and tens of thousands of individuals, as well as statewide and national figures.
"As well as" cannot substitute for and in a simple list. Recast the sentence so that a part of the sentence beginning with that phrase is distinct from the list.

Related Articles

Subscribe to our articles and exercises