For many students, learning how to put together a strong essay requires practice, and not a small amount of agony. It is, admittedly, a complex process. Part of the challenge in essay writing is coming up with a coherent product – an essay that hangs together and makes sense. This requires content that stays on track and that does not wander from the main point. One trick in keeping the content of an essay on track is to use parallel construction, in the thesis, in the main points, and in the content of each paragraph. What do I mean by parallel construction?
Suppose I went to my school’s prom and I was frustrated that the chaperones just sat around and talked and ate and did not pay close attention to the students. Not wanting to spoil students’ good time, they turned a blind eye and a deaf ear to things that made some students uncomfortable. I thought the adults let the students down. This will be the subject of my essay.
It would be easy for me to complain about student conduct in the process of explaining my frustration with the adults. Complaining about the students, though, is not my primary objective in writing the essay. I’m trying to persuade my audience that administrators need to tighten supervision at the dances. I will more easily become sidetracked by the student conduct issue – and lose track of my primary objective – if I don’t use parallel construction in my essay.
Let me show you what I mean. Here is an example of a thesis that is not written in parallel construction: At school dances, school administrators need to enforce strict standards in music, in what students wear, and the types of dancing students do.
That’s an OK thesis, but by the end of it, I’m thinking about the way the students dance; not about the role of the administrators. I’m already veering off track.
Here is the same thesis statement in parallel form: School administrators need to enforce strict standards in music, conduct and attire at school dances. In this thesis statement, I use three nouns in parallel form: music, conduct and attire. I also keep the pressure on the administrators.
Putting the thesis statement in parallel form emphasizes the main players in the action (the administrators, as opposed to the students) and it will make it much easier to write the essay using parallel construction. Why is that important?
Here are three main points shaped from the non-parallel thesis.
Administrators need to be stricter about the kind of music allowed at the dances pay for essay reddit
The dress code at the dances should be more modest.
Dancing should be decent and not the bump-and-grind suggestive stuff.
These three main points are not parallel for several reasons. First, the second statement is in the passive form, while statements one and three are active. It is best to state all three main points in the active voice.
Furthermore, only one of the three above points directly relates back to my thesis. Remember, my thesis states that administrators need to enforce the standards. Parallel main points will all relate directly to the thesis.
If I use the second main point as a springboard, I might end up writing about plunging necklines and forgetting about the role of the administrators. Since my thesis is a call to administrators to be more assertive about enforcing the standards, I need to return to that issue in all three main points.
Using parallel structure in all of my main points will help me stick to the issue I’ve introduced. To create parallel structure in the main points, I’m going begin each point with the word “administrators” and I’m going to use the exact nouns I used in my thesis. I may not use this rigid wording in my final draft, but using it in my outline and rough draft will help me keep my essay on track. Here is how my three main points look, now.
Administrators need to enforce strict standards in music.
Administrators need to enforce strict standards in conduct.
Administrators need to enforce strict standards in dress.
Even at this point, parallelism comes into play. Am I going to focus on why the administrators need to be more involved in each of these areas, or what that involvement would look like? I don’t want to explain why administrators need to enforce stricter standards in music, and then start explaining how they might enforce stricter standards in dress. Choosing to discuss either how, or why, all through my essay will keep me on track as well.