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Parallel structure

Parallel structure isn’t a set rule, but more of a stylistic choice: it helps sentence elements maintain a pattern. This is a very special episode because it’s Paige’s last video with us as a KA intern! We will miss having Paige as a contributor to the Grammar Team. 

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  • blobby green style avatar for user student.164059
    why is paige leaving she's the best?
    (18 votes)
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    • aqualine tree style avatar for user David Alexander
      Please understand. When Paige helped David make these videos (in 2016) she was an undergraduate student at the University of California learning the video production skills that David was using. She had not yet finished university. When the summer of 2016 drew to an end, she went back to Berkeley and finished her degree. She's been gone for more than 3 years. Look her up on the googles. That's how I found her a couple years ago.
      (1 vote)
  • aqualine tree style avatar for user Ravengal101
    She was always the first to volunteer, the loud supporter screaming “YOU GOT THIS!”, and the advocate who ensured others’ perspectives were heard and respected.

    Is this structure appropriate? Can it be better phrased somehow?
    (0 votes)
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  • leaf blue style avatar for user Prodigy ITM
    They should have these team-ups (like Rosie, Paige, and David) on other videos like Math or Physics or whatever else. I like these videos.
    (7 votes)
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  • duskpin ultimate style avatar for user Quin
    Oh no, Paige is leaving?!
    (9 votes)
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  • blobby green style avatar for user madison kephart
    at , what is an infinitive verb?
    (7 votes)
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    • mr pants teal style avatar for user Cyrus Parson
      An infinitive verb is a verb that is usually preceded by "to."

      If you wanted to write the infinitive form of the verb "be," you would write "to be," where "to" is part of the verb.

      To be
      To think
      To dance
      To run
      To err

      [Often times you will see the infinitive form noted in a dictionary definition of a verb.]

      To err is human.

      It is important to realize:
      a) That the "to" in the infinitive form of a verb is part of the verb
      b) "To" in a sentence is not always part of a verb; it may be a preposition. Example:

      She went from kissing him to slapping him in no time.

      In this case, the "to" is a preposition (there is no infinitive verb). You can tell that this is not an infinitive verb because of the gerund (the '-ing' ending).

      You can look at more examples and study further using the following links and elsewhere:
      (2 votes)
  • aqualine sapling style avatar for user helenwon1004
    Where is Paige going and not be an intern
    (5 votes)
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  • blobby green style avatar for user Ocean Affonso
    I just finished the Grammar course. I'd like to know if there is more to grammar than what they teach. I thought there were other things such as: Appositive phrases, Infinitive phrases, Delayed and Opening Adverbs, etc.
    (3 votes)
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    • aqualine tree style avatar for user David Alexander
      Yes, there is more grammar than was introduced here, but for the purpose of this course, which is NOT comprehensive, what was presented here suffices.
      Should you want to find courses that lead you more deeply into the subject of grammar, you'll have to find a different course. I suggest you ask Uncle Google about "free online English grammar courses". Uncle Google knows where to find almost anything!
      (6 votes)
  • cacteye green style avatar for user gduncan281
    Paige why! it was out of nowhere!
    (5 votes)
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  • starky sapling style avatar for user Judy Li
    What does passive mean?
    (3 votes)
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    • stelly blue style avatar for user Romina M. Santoro
      A verb can be written in either active or passive voice.

      In active voice, the subject is the performer of the action:
      Patt is painting the house.

      In passive voice, the subject is the receiver of the action.
      The house is being painted by Patt.

      According to Merriam-Webster dictionary, passive means "acted upon by an external agency," so that should give you a hint of what the passive voice means.

      I hope this helps!
      (2 votes)
  • piceratops ultimate style avatar for user umotu1
    What about English techniques like metaphor, similes, etc? spelling?
    (2 votes)
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Video transcript

- [Voiceover] Hello, grammarians. Hello, Rosie. Hello, Paige. - [Voiceover] Hi, David. - [Voiceover] Hi, David. - [Voiceover] Today, all three of us are gonna be talking about parallel structure. And I've always had trouble spelling the word parallel, but Rosie pointed out something just before we started recording that is blowing my mind. Rosie, how do you spell parallel? - [Voiceover] Well, it's fun because the two ls that are together in the word are together in the middle of the word. - [Voiceover] Look at that, they're parallel! That's all. - [Voiceover] It's fun. - [Voiceover] That's just, that's amazing. Parallel structure is less a consideration of grammar, it's really more about style, right. Parallel structure basically means that when you're making some kind of list in a sentence, if you're using a series of verbs or if you're using a series of nouns, any series of words, they should all roughly line up with one another. So let's say I was an outdoorsman and I said, "I love fishing, skiing and rock climbing." Now each one of these is a gerund, right, it the ing form of a verb we're using as a noun. And this sentence exhibits parallel structure, but, you know, sometimes you'll see a sentence that'll mess that up, right? So let's say you were editing someone's personal statement, an athlete's personal statement and they said, "I love fishing, skiing, and to climb rocks." Now, there's nothing grammatically incorrect about this sentence, it makes sense, it is legal in the way that it is composed, but stylistically, it just doesn't harmonize. So this is not parallel, but this is. - [Voiceover] Some other things to look out for to make sure you're making a sentence parallel is if everything is active voice or passive voice, infinitive verbs versus other forms of verbs, like to eat versus eating, and a string of individual modifiers like adjectives versus larger phrases. - [Voiceover] Let's put that into action. Okay, so active versus passive voice. - [Voiceover] So an example if we're not gonna have parallel structure would be something like the cake was baked, frosted, and I put sprinkles on it. - [Voiceover] So what we're saying here is that here is a passive thing that happened to the cake, the cake was baked. Here's another passive thing that happens to the cake, the cake was frosted by someone else. And then that someone else comes in and Paige says, "I put sprinkles on it." But, if we're going to assume that sprinkled is now a verb that means to be covered in sugary cake decorations, we would say the cake was baked, frosted, and sprinkled, or decorated with sprinkles, but I kind of like sprinkled. So that's active versus passive. We've already covered infinitive versus other verb forms, so that's, you know, skiing, well, that's to ski versus skiing, so this is what we call an infinitive form, and this is another form that's called a gerund. So make sure to keep those separate in your lists. And then lists of individual terms versus longer phrases. So if you are describing something with a string of adjectives, be careful when you follow it up with a longer phrase. - [Voiceover] For example, sharks are large, damp, and dangerous. Those are all just short, individual modifiers, as opposed to sharks are large, damp, and not to be trifled with. - [Voiceover] And look, again, we're not saying this is not a grammatical sentence. It is. And sometimes you may want to break parallel structure in order to have some sort of particular effect. If you are trying to draw attention to this last element, then, yeah, you might want to break parallel structure, but we want to make you aware that there is just a sort of general tendency towards making your sentences harmonious in this way. Baked, frosted and sprinkled, large, damp, and dangerous, you know, and then when you want to have access to that ability, to really draw attention to that last element, then you can say, "Oh, you know what? "I'm gonna make this perpendicular." (girls chuckle) Now, is perpendicularity, is that a thing that I just made up right now? Yes. Are we going with it? Maybe. (girls chuckle) - [Voiceover] Yeah, I like it. - [Voiceover] Yeah. - [Voiceover] It's not parallel. - [Voiceover] It's not parallel. - [Voiceover] It's not parallel. - [Voiceover] Well, I suppose that just about covers parallel structure. So, for one last time with Paige, you can learn anything, David out. - [Voiceover] Rosie out. - [Voiceover] Paige out. - [Voiceover] You've been a wonderful intern, Paige, we'll miss you. - [Voiceover] We'll miss you. - [Voiceover] Thank you, I'll miss you, too.