I want to make a sentence, adequately using parallel structures, and can't find a way for that. I couldn't find an adjective for tobacco-relative, like I have for alcohol and automotive, in the following list:

tobacco, alcoholic and automotive goods

In a way I could write a phrase:

The new tax applies to tobacco, alcoholic and automotive goods.

Is there any way to make sentences like this parallel?

*Edited: I think the way I framed the question people would understand it as three different nouns; when I was actually meaning three different adjectives for goods. This is why I have provided an example phrase.

  • I would make the first two agree, and not worry too much about the last item, since it is separated from the others by a conjunction: "I sell tobacco, alcohol and automotive goods." It's not perfect but it's passable.
    – Mick
    Commented Nov 16, 2016 at 19:57
  • I agree with @Mick. Plus, "alcoholic goods" is a bad phrase given that "alcoholic" has the primary sense of "someone addicted to alcohol."
    – DyingIsFun
    Commented Nov 16, 2016 at 20:10
  • @Mick Nothing wrong with the parallelism you suggest. Three noun phrases. There is no count/non-count issue. Commented Nov 16, 2016 at 22:54
  • @Mick I don't think he sells tobacco and alcohol, he sells tobacco-related products and alcohol-related products.
    – Barmar
    Commented Nov 17, 2016 at 5:51
  • @Barmar I think you're wrong. 'tobacco: ... 3. Products made from these plants.' {AHD}. Likewise, the third sense AHD lists for 'alcohol'. Commented Nov 17, 2016 at 16:09

1 Answer 1


I can see that you're looking for brevity, but it can compromise understanding or accuracy, so I suggest the following:

The new tax applies to goods in the following classes: tobacco, alcoholic, and automotive.

If the word 'classes' is not suitable for the circumstances you're referring to maybe 'groups' would be better. Regardless, by specifying that you are referring to classes/groups you make it clear that you are not literally referring to raw tobacco.

  • I apologize for the late feedback. I voted it up, as it would normally answer such question and I think it's really a good answer. I couldn't use it, though, as it was a translation, thus I had to sticky to the original phrase. Thanks anyway, @user69911 :D
    – Ágatha
    Commented Jan 14, 2017 at 1:47

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