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THE PARTS OF SPEECH [ ? ]
> Adjectives
> Adverbs
> Articles
> Conjunctions
> Nouns
> Pronouns
> Prepositions
> Verbs : Verbals
> Vowels : Consonants
CHEAT SHEETS
> Violations of English Words
> Homonyms
> Homogeneous words
> Possessive nouns
HOW TO WRITE BETTER
> Ad Copy
> Blog Copy
> Resume
> Sales Letter
PLAIN ENGLISH WRITING ( What is? )
> Plain English Material
> Jargon and Legalese
> Active Voice
> Plain English Gobbledygook
> Using plain English
WRITING STYLES
> APA Style
> MLA Style
> Chicago Style
GRAMMAR ( What is? )
> The English Grammar
> Plain English Style
> Most confusing English Words
GRAMMAR MISTAKES
> Attraction
> ALONE (usage)
> AND relative
> Broken Construction
MISUSED ENGLISH WORDS
> Aggravating, Irritating
> Both, Each, Every
> Continual, Continuous
> Decided, Decisive
> Show all
CAPITALIZATION ( What is? )
> Book Titles
> First Words
> Titles of People
PUNCTUATION ( What is? )
> Apostrophe
> Colon
> Comma
> Dash
FIGURES OF SPEECH
> What is a figure of speech?
> the Simile
> the Metaphor
> Personification
WORD CLASSES
> Word Groups
> Spoken and Written Words
> Motion Words

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PLAIN ENGLISH WRITING : 9 Tips to Write Better Plain English Material : Complexity and Pomposity in Poor Writing : Drop the Officialese, and Write in Plain English : How to Recognize Passive Voice : How to Replace Jargon and Legalese : How to Start Writing in Plain English : View all articles

Sentence Parallelism in Plain English Writing

A long sentence often falls apart in meaning and comprehension without a parallel structure. Parallelism means you present a list or series of items using parallel parts of speech, such as nouns or verbs.

Here's an example that lacks parallel structure:

BEFORE
If you want to buy a Wilson tennis racquet by mail, fill out and sign the order form, making your check payable to "Tennis Store Pro," and put your phone number or driver's license on your check.

AFTER
If you want to buy a Wilson tennis racquet by mail, fill out and sign the order form, make your check payable to "Tennis Store Pro," and put your phone number or driver's license number on your check.

Here is a more subtle example:

BEFORE
We invest the Fund's assets in short-term money market stocks to provide you with liquidity, security of your investment, and high current income.

This sentence is unparallel because its series is made up of two nouns and an adjective before the third noun. It's also awkward because the verb provide is too closely paired with the nominalization socialize.

One logical revision to the original sentence is to change the noun series to a verb series.

AFTER
We invest in short-term money market stocks to provide you with liquidity, to secure your investment, and to generate high current income.

All writers, regardless of their degree of expertise, occasionally write unparallel sentences. The best way to rid your document of unparallel sentences is to re-read what you write to find these mistakes. Reading your document aloud can make unparallel constructions easier to spot.

Conditional Statements in Plain English Writing

Conditional statements are common in documents— although writers rarely write them that way. When we rewrote the last example as a conditional, we followed the natural English word order closely. That's why the sentence is easier to read.

Here are four tips to help you write effective conditional statements:

TIP 1: One "if," one "then"—When you find only one if and one then in your sentence, then start with the if because it may spare your readers from having to read the entire sentence. In these cases, the if clause defines who or what to which the "then" clause applies. If you bought the purple-colored playpen, then

TIP 2: One "if," multiple "thens"—If you find only one if and more than one then in your sentence, then start with the if and tabulate the thens.

TIP 3: Multiple "ifs," one "then"—If you find only one then and more than one if, then start with the then and tabulate the ifs.

TIP 4: Multiples "ifs" and "thens"—If you findmore than one if and more than one then in your sentence, consider breaking it down into more than one sentence and specify which ifs apply to which thens.

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PLAIN ENGLISH WRITING : 9 Tips to Write Better Plain English Material : Complexity and Pomposity in Poor Writing : Drop the Officialese, and Write in Plain English : How to Recognize Passive Voice : How to Replace Jargon and Legalese : How to Start Writing in Plain English : View all articles





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