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In my English class, my teacher gave me a sentence and asked me to correct it, knowing that the sentence is incorrect regarding the parallelism. The original sentence goes like this:

  • The candidate's platform included a tax code reform, an improved school system, and reviving good relations with the unions.

My attempt was like this:

  • The candidate's platform included a tax code reform, an improved school system, and a revival of good ralations with the unions.

However, my teacher insisted that my response had been completely wrong. In addition, she gave me the official solution (coming from the answer key section of her book):

  • The candidate's platform included reforming the tax code, improving the schools, and reviving good relations with the unions.

Everything ended here, she did not gave me the explicit explanation or any supplement materials so that I would never make the same mistake again. As a result, I got really frustrated. I wonder if anyone can help me out? Was my response correct because there may have been several solutions to an English exercise? Or if I was wrong, would someone explain why?

Best regards

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    Your teacher is overopinionated (there's nothing wrong with combining explicit nouns with gerunds in this context). But your "correction" is a bit pointless too. There's nothing wrong with the original, whatever your teacher claims (I think it's way over the top to carp about the slightly different syntax of the last item). – FumbleFingers Jul 18 '16 at 14:55
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    You spelled "relations" wrong, but apart from that I think that your attempt and the "official" right answer are both a) fine and b) don't really add any extra meaning and are therefore a bit pointless. You need to take it up with your teacher. – Max Williams Jul 18 '16 at 14:56
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    There are no rules about parallelism in English grammar. As FF suggests, your teacher clearly is not well-schooled in English, or in language; native speakers and non-native learners alike can become English teachers without learning the rules. The fact that there is an official answer, and that it's wrong, is enough to suggest that your textbook is a waste of time. – John Lawler Jul 18 '16 at 15:27
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Think of this as a list:

Original

The candidate's platform included:

  • a tax code reform,
  • an improved school system, and
  • reviving good relations with the unions.

The first and the second are parallel, but the third is different. You can keep parallelism by using a something, a something else, and a final thing.

First rewrite

The candidate's platform included:

  • a reformed tax code,
  • an improved school system, and
  • a revived relationship with the unions.

You can also keep parallelism by using a gerund, another gerund, and a final gerund. This seems to be what the teacher is looking for.

Second rewrite

The candidate's platform included:

  • reforming the tax code,
  • improving the schools, and
  • reviving good relations with the unions.

There is a certain rhythm to the last one. Its parallelism might make it easier for hearers or readers to understand.

  • There's no doubt that your rewrites are parallel, but you don't account for the fact that the original and OP's own rewrite, though not parallel, are completely acceptable, contrary to the teacher's claim – deadrat Jul 18 '16 at 16:13
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    The comments on the OP soundly critiqued the teacher's claims.I was answering the OP's question and providing an explicit answer. – rajah9 Jul 18 '16 at 18:40
  • Comments are considered ephemera. And I know you gave an explicit answer. I just found it incomplete. It's actually quite difficult to define parallelism in a useful manner. Most definitions are by example. See John Lawler's comment above. – deadrat Jul 18 '16 at 22:28

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