The University of Wisconsin
Purdue Writing Lab
Greetings, faithful readers (Bubba chases a firefly in the night, leaving no one else).
Last time, we discussed using transitions in sales copy and emails for better conversions.
While Anthony attends to in-house secretarial work, I have another helpful post for you, one that will please you, create better sentences, and continue my legacy!
Actually, the topic is upon one of my own weaknesses. (But, Willie, why would you tell us about your weaknesses?!) It’s a gift …
Let’s consider how errors in parallelism occur.
I wrote an epic post, took a bubble bath, and then was vacuuming peanut butter cookie (my favorite, readers!) crumbs from the carpet.
The sentence sucks. It’s oddly presented. While thoughts clear, associated logic sound, and readers (still?) engaged, rearranging the sentence as to maintain same (past) tense is preferred:
I wrote an epic post, took a bubble bath, and vacuumed peanut butter cookie crumbs.
All the above descriptive points in past tense. (Note: Writing software may not identify errors in parallel logic or respective software default not accordingly set.)
Another error associated to parallelism is maintaining ‘voice.’ Sometimes, I’m active and then I start being passive – all in the same sentence. Depending on desired affect or poetic cadence, one may do so, yet low wordcount and active voice is oft preferred regarding ad and sales-related copy.
Let’s use the above sentence again:
I wrote an epic post, took a bubble bath, and then was vacuuming peanut butter cookie crumbs from the carpet.
Not only did I use a different tense but switched to being passive in the above sentence. Active vs. Passive Voice deserves an entire post, but for brevity, concentrate on active and passive voice regarding parallel structure.
I wrote (active voice) an epic post, took (active) a bubble bath, and vacuumed (active) the carpet.
I do this often on holidays, various strong coffees, and on every other Wacky Wednesday. I switch the implementation of prepositions, either varying them or presenting inconsistently, which could confuse the reader or make for a poor sentence.
Let’s revisit the error:
I do this often on holidays, various strong coffees, and on every other Wacky Wednesday.
“This” takes place “on”… 1, 2, 3. Keep the series consistent and aligned with apropos prepositions.
The above is inconsistent regarding included preposition and the associated preposition is awkward and wrong.
It’s more street to say you’re ‘on’ coffee. And, since the other two events relate to times rather than states of being, I fucked it all up…so to speak.
Here is a better version:
I do this during holidays, coffee breaks, and alternating Wacky Wednesdays.
Now, get to (better) writing.
I tutor, provide writing services, and consult on case-by-case basiseseseseses. (That last part is a joke – the ‘es’s not mention of hiring me.