Using Parallel Verbs in english

Using Parallel Verbs in english
Using Parallel Verbs in english

Using Parallel Verbs in english

In English we can use more than one verb to describe what’s happening.

This sentence shows three things Donna (the subject of the sentence) did yesterday.

Yesterday Donna watched a movie, cleaned her apartment and was making lunch.




When two or more verbs have the same subject the verbs must be parallel. Parallel verbs mean the verbs used in a sentence should all be the same tense.

Read the sentence about Donna again. Is it grammatically correct? If not, why not?

The sentence is not correct because watched and cleaned are the simple past tense, but was making is the past progressive. The verbs are not parallel.

The correct sentence should be:

Yesterday Donna watched a movie, cleaned her apartment and made lunch.

Remember: when the subject of a sentence does two or more things, the verbs use the same tense.

Here are some other examples.

They talked and laughed for hours.

I will work and (will) study all summer.

He can play piano and (can) sing opera.

Diana is walking her dog and (is) playing games on her phone at the same time.

We’ll go to the beach and (will) have a swim.




If the verb has a helping verb (like will, can, is, are, etc.) use it before the first verb. It is not necessary to use it again before the second verb. We don’t need to repeat the infinitive (to) either with parallel verbs.

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