Solving and Suggesting: An Exercise in Parallel Structure

I’ve offered ideas for using advice columns in the past. I’ve suggested using such materials for grammar topics, such as gerunds and infinitives. In the context of an advance writing class, I once used advice letters as a means to practice parallelism. Let me share the materials I used.

 Parallel Structure_Model Letters

 Parallel Structure_Tasks

STEP 1 – Have students read the model. Have them identify the structures which require parallelism. Here they are in the order they appear (in response letter):

  • gone over and talked
  •  that his cats make so much noise or that the walls are so thin
  • explain the situation and not complain about it
  • Speak rather than yell
  • how you yourself love cats and how you’d like to find a solution that keeps everyone happy
  • keep his balcony door shut during the day and have the cats spend the night in his living room instead of his bedroom
  • you, your neighbor, and his cats

STEP 2 – Present additional structures if desired. They might include: not only…but (also), whether…or, either…or, neither…nor, just as….

STEP 3 – Place students in pairs. From the tasks sheet assign them each a letter to respond to. In their letter, they must provide advice using at least three different examples of parallel strucuture.

STEP 4 – Create small groups of 4 or 6 by combining pairs who responded to the same letter. Each pair will present their advice to the other pair(s). Encourage them to discuss similarities and differences.

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