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Am I using correct parallelism in the following sentence?

They say the place where you are born is not a choice, as it is not the family into which you are born.

If the above sentence uses correct parallelism, can I reduce it as follows?

They say the place where you are born is not a choice, as it is not the family.

or

They say the place where you are born is not a choice, as it is not your family.

Would the following examples with "nor," "or," and "neither... nor" be valid alternatives (with correct parallelism) to the original example?

They say you don't choose where you are born, nor do you choose your family.

They say you don't choose your country or your family.

They say you neither choose your country nor your family.

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    All the sentences seem like correct grammar, but the first 3 sentences do not make logical sense. "it" would refer to "the place where you are born". Thus expanded out, the second half of the sentence reads: "the place where you are born is not the family into which you are born" – BenL Mar 14 '16 at 20:09
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    Yeah, the sentences don't make sense. – Hot Licks Oct 11 '16 at 1:46
  • They say that just as the family you are born into is not a choice, neither is the place you are born. – curious-proofreader Oct 11 '16 at 3:04
  • "They say the place where you are born is not your choice, just as the family into which you are born is not." "They say that the place where you are born is no more your choice than is the family you are born into." – Greg Lee Jan 9 '17 at 2:56
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As others have said, your first example does not have the meaning you want, because "it" is not read as a dummy subject.

If you leave out the "it", you get something that nearly works

?They say the place where you are born is not a choice, as is not the family into which you are born.

But it doesn't quite work, because there is no satisfactory placement for the 'not'. If you cast it as positive, it works:

They say the place where you are born is out of your control, as is the family into which you are born.

This is grammatical and readily understandable.

But for the negative case, I would use "and neither":

They say the place where you are born is not a choice, and neither is the family into which you are born.

You could alternatively use "nor":

They say the place where you are born is not a choice, nor is the family into which you are born.

  • How about, "You can choose neither the place you're born nor the family into which you're born"? Or, "You cannot choose either the place you're born or the family into which you're born." There's no right or wrong answer here, obviously. I just kinda like how my suggestions sound, that's all. – rhetorician Jan 9 '17 at 2:50
  • @rhetorician, those are both fine. – Colin Fine Jan 9 '17 at 5:14
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Yes.... Most of your alternate sentences are somewhat correct.. Although I would never use them. If I were trying to use that sentence I would say:

The family in which you're born in not a choice.

This method eliminated the entire second part of the sentence and makes what you're trying to say more concise.

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The first sentence:

They say the place where you are born is not a choice, as it is not the family into which you are born.

doesn't make any sense, in my opinion. Swapping a few words out, the sentence could be rewritten:

They say the place where you are born is not a choice, because the place where you are born is not the family into which you are born.

However, the last three examples you give (especially the two using "nor") correctly juxtapose and compare birthplace and family. Which one of those three you choose is a question of style, not of correctness of meaning.

I would probably prefer the style of the first alternative sentence you give:

They say you don't choose where you are born, nor do you choose your family.

because it seems like the closest sentence to the original parallel structure you tried.

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The place where you are born is not a choice, nor is the family into which you are born.

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