Good writing employs parallel grammatical structure.
|…to explore strange, new worlds; to seek out new life and new civilizations; and so that we can boldly go where no man has gone before.|
|(This passage exhibits faulty parallelism; the items in the list do not follow the same grammatical pattern.)|
|…to explore strange new worlds; to seek out new life and new civilizations; to boldly go where no man has gone before.|
A list is more legible (and more useful) when all the items follow the same grammatical pattern.
|I like to run in the park, sleeping late, and it’s also fun to make home videos.|
|I like running in the park, sleeping late, and making home videos.|
|It’s fun to run in the park, sleep late, and make home videos.|
|(Presumably not all at once…. “or” might be a better conjunction.)|
Parallel structure is extremely important in bulleted lists, such as one finds in resumes.
|(In the above example, the grammar is not parallel.)|
|(Now the items in the list are grammatically parallel, but the verbs “edited” and “supervised” are both meaningful words, while the verb “spent” does not tell us anything about the author’s experience.)|
|(Better… but now the information is not parallel. Why are we told the number of years for one item, but not for all three?)|
|(Better, but not perfect. [Cue the Sesame Street “One of these things is not like the other” music.] A person who claims to have editing experience should have spotted the problem already!)|
|(This list is not a sentence, so I removed the final period. Now all the items look the same.)|
|I have experience|
|(Here is another revision option. Note the absence of the colon, and the presence of the comma and the conjunction; this is simply an ordinary sentence, broken up for visibility.)|
More on parallel structure:
- Parallel Form (Charles Darling and Capital Community-Technical College, Guide to Grammar and Writing)
- Parallel Structure (Purdue Online Writing Lab)