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Thursday, January 22, 2009

Criminal Sentence 157: Hiking and Being Parallel at the Same Time

From something I edited recently:

"At the top [of the trail] you'll want to stop for a drink, some snacks, and to take in the incredible view."

Sounds like a lovely hike, but it's not a parallel sentence. I did a double take near the end of the sentence because unparallel sentences throw the reader off. These are the elements that need to be parallel but aren't:

to stop for a drink
some snacks
to take in the incredible view

So we need to use three "to + verb" constructions (infinitives) or some other parallel format. I pick infinitives.

"At the top [of the trail] you'll want to stop for a drink and some snacks, and to take in the incredible view."

Now this is an incredible sentence to go along with the view.

2 comments:

Fennel Giraffe said...

Couldn't you also make the parallelism happen at the object-of-the-preposition level?

to stop for
- a drink
- some snacks
- the incredible view

"At the top [of the trail] you'll want to stop for a drink, some snacks, and the incredible view."

The Sentence Sleuth said...

Yes, that sounds right, too. You could also "have a drink, eat a snack, and take in the incredible view."