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Old 9th September 2018, 01:35 AM   #1
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Default English Writing - Write in parallel list technique

Hi guys.. This is my first post on this exciting forum. As a start, I'd like to write about one unique yet humble writing technique that might be useful for everyone.

It's called Parallel list technique.

Don't be lazy. Write parallel lists

People like reading bullet points. That's because there's one introduction and then a list of important information that's presented in easy-to-find, bite-sized chunks. Bullet points are great. Whenever you're writing a list, don't string it out in a long line of text as part of a sentence. Get it chopped up into bullet points.

I've been told I suffer from obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) when it comes to lists. That's rubbish. If I suffer from something that doesn't have its letters in alphabetical order.

Seriously though, it is an excellent idea when writing lists to ensure that each list item is written in the same style. When list items are written in the same style, the list is said to be parallel. Bullet points are great, but paralel bullet points are great with a cherry on top.

You will have to invest some brainpower to make a list parallel, but a parallel list is much easier to read and far cleaner.

Example

Risk-mitigation levers:
  • The updating of the memorandum of understanding
  • Engage with stakeholders on a monthly basis
  • Completed tender by January

Here's a parallel version:

Ways to reduce risk:
  • Update the memorandum of understanding
  • Engage with stakeholders on a monthly basis
  • Complete the tender by January


Note: the two introductions are not related to parallel lists. I just wanted to make the point that 'ways to reduce risk' is clearer than 'risk mitigation levers'. Have the confidence to write simply.

Here's another example:

I would advise visitor to avoid:
  • Bathing in the river
  • Driving in the town
  • The local tapas bar

That's not bad, but it's not quite parallel. This would be the parallel:
I would advise visitors to avoid:
  • Bathing in the river
  • Driving in the town
  • Eating in the local tapas bar


Parallel lists will make your writing far clearer. If you look back at the first set of lists (Risk mitigation levers), it's not clear from the non - parallel version that there is an action required for each bullet. However, that is very clear on the parallel version. When dealing with risk to your business, you really don't need any ambiguity surrounding how you're going to reduce your risks.

Hope this helps you into better writing in the future. I will write some more cool stuff in writing techniques soon. Just stay updated with my profile by adding me as your friend and add me into your subscription lists to receive updates in the future.

Cheers.
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