Some sentences involve repeating the same grammatical structure to link points. Repeated grammatical forms of this kind are called parallel structures. Writing Tip Parallel structures enable you to integrate lists of ideas into long, coherent, well-formed sentences. Read the student’s notes from a lecture on the subject of new media. Then read the sentence beside it and underline the parallel structures. What error has the student made? There is evidence that excessive use of new media among children can affect their performance at school, influence their behaviour at home and limiting their overall attention span. What’s wrong: Different verb forms are used within the parallel structures. The first two verbs ‘affect’ and ‘influence’ are parallel. They are not in the singular form because they go together with ‘can’. The third verb should therefore be in the same form as ‘affect’ as it is also linked with ‘can’ → ‘can limit’. Here is the sentence with parallel structures: There is evidence that excessive use of new media among children can affect their performance at school, influence their behaviour at home and limit their attention span.
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