Have you ever read a list of features or services in a real estate marketing piece and felt slightly confused? The information was all there, but something about it made it seem not quite right.
OK – what the heck is parallel language?
Simply put, when you use parallel language to write a list, the various items in your list will all be offered in the same form of speech. All nouns, all verbs, all adjectives, etc.
Here’s an example in which the writer used non-parallel language in self-promotional copy:
“As your listing agent, my service includes tips for giving your home more appeal, taking professional photographs, and available 24 hours a day.”
You think you know what the writer meant, but the presentation makes it come out lumpy and disjointed.
He should have said “My service includes providing you with tips for giving your home more appeal, taking professional photographs, and being available to you 24 hours a day.”
How about a list of home features: “This home offers access to the lake, recently painted, and you’ll love the home office.”
Again, the information is there, but… it simply sounds wrong. Sort of like driving on a road filled with pot holes.
Change that to “This home offers lake access, fresh paint, and a home office you’ll love.”
Our goal as writers should be to get our message into the minds of our readers without them even really noticing the words we used.
So – avoid lumps and bumps. Check your lists to make sure all the words and phrases are parallel.
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