Is this sentence parallel even though the noun "being honest" is a gerund and the noun "deception" is not?

"Living a life of being honest to yourself is better than living a life of deception.

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    Grammatically parallel, yes; Rhetorically not so much – Helmar Aug 24 '16 at 13:39
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    You might consider changing "deception" to "self-deception." – GoldenGremlin Nov 22 '16 at 21:29
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    Being honest is not a gerund. It's a Gerund Phrase. Being a verb not a noun, a gerund cannot take the place of a noun, but a Gerund Phrase can take the place of a Noun Phrase. – tchrist Feb 20 '17 at 23:29
  • Interesting that this was bumped today; there was a recent court case where this issue was relevant: "Court fight over Oxford commas and asyndetic lists" (Language Log) – sumelic Mar 23 '17 at 0:22
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    @tchrist: "a gerund cannot take the place of a noun" is that not disproven by examples such as "Your snoring kept me up all night"? – Flater Sep 19 '17 at 8:33

Yes, it's parallel. No problems here, except that being honest with yourself is the usual way of putting it.


"Living a life of being honest to yourself is better than living a life of deception."

"Being honest" is not a constituent in your example (so it can't be a gerund). However "being honest to yourself" is a constituent -- it is the NP (noun phrase) object of the preposition "of", and it is being contrasted with the NP "deception", which is object of the second "of". The latter NP contains the noun "deception" (though that NP could contain more than just that noun, such as a modifying adjective, for example).

You could call "being" a gerund, I suppose, but I wouldn't, because some take a gerund to be a kind of noun, and as tchrist noted in a comment, "being" is a verb in this construction.

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