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Parallel construction is a grammatical concept which appears both in natural language and in artificial languages such as programming languages. It holds that when one is stating points or ideas which follow the same pattern and relate to one another -- such as examples, options, branches, or cases -- one should use the same grammatical structure for each point or idea.

Consider the following sentences:

  1. "We could go to the movies, go to a concert, or smoke some pot."
  2. "We could go to the movies, a concert, or smoke some pot."
  3. "We could go to the movies, a concert, or a pot party."
Of these three, the first and third exemplify parallel construction. In the first, all three options are written as verb phrases, predicates of the subject "we"; in the third, the options are noun phrases, objects of the verb "go". The second, however, stands out as awkward, as it offers as options two verb phrases and a noun phrase.

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