Grammar, Parallel Structures, Poor Editing

Walking Parallel through the Park

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Ahh. Here we have a lovely, healthful box of Nature Valley Trail Mix granola bars. Even thinking about eating them brings me joy — until I turn the box and find this:

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There’s a bit of glare here, but you can still make it out. The first sentence reads, “Maybe it’s when you’re walking through the park, collecting fall foliage or a weekend cycling trip.”

Wowza. Someone paid attention to apostrophes forming contractions (small Dumbledore clap) but skipped out on the lesson about parallel structures!

We have a list of three items here: walking through the park, collecting fall foliage, and weekend cycling trip. The problem is that the three items are not grammatically parallel. We have a gerund (walking), another gerund (collecting), and a plain-ol’ noun (trip) modified by two adjectives (weekend and cycling).

The point is to make all items in the series grammatically the same, or parallel. The easiest fix (since we already have two gerunds) would be to make the third item also begin with a gerund.

How about this: Maybe it’s when you’re walking through the park, collecting fall foliage, or taking a weekend cycling trip.

*Wipes hands off* There, that’s better.

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