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Parallelism Examples

In grammar, parallelism, also known as parallel structure or parallel construction, is a balance within one or more sentences of similar phrases or clauses that have the same grammatical structure. The application of parallelism improves writing style and readability, and is thought to make sentences easier to process.

Parallelism is often achieved using antithesis, anaphora, asyndeton, climax, epistrophe, and symploce. This method adds balance, symmetry and rhythm to sentences giving ideas a smoother flow and thus can be persuasive because of the repetition it employs. For example, "People exercise because they want to look healthy, because they need to increase stamina, or because they hope to live longer." In this example 'because they' is parallel in structure and similar in importance to 'people'. The use of parallel structures in speech or writing allows speakers and readers to maintain a consistency within their work and creating a balanced flow. Examples of parallelism often found in written works include:

-Like father, like son

-Easy come, easy go

-To err is human; to forgive divine., Alexander Pope
WRONG: My income is smaller than my wife.
Meaning: RIGHT: My income is smaller than my wife's.
Faulty Grammar
WRONG: My objections are, first, the injustice of the measure; second, that it is unconstitutional.
Meaning: RIGHT: My objections are, first, that the measure is unjust; second, that it is unconstitutional.
Faulty Grammar
WRONG: Either you must grant his request or incur his ill will.
Meaning: RIGHT: You must either grant his request or incur his ill will.
Faulty Grammar
WRONG: A time not for words, but action.
Meaning: RIGHT: A time not for words, but for action.
Faulty Grammar
WRONG: It was both a long ceremony and very tedious.
Meaning: RIGHT: The ceremony was both long and tedious.
Faulty Grammar
WRONG: Formerly, science was taught by the textbook method, while now the laboratory method is employed.
Meaning: RIGHT: Formerly, science was taught by the textbook method; now it is taught by the laboratory method.
Faulty Grammar
WRONG: The frustrated customer wanted to exchange the article, to obtain a refund, or she wanted to speak to the manager.
Meaning: RIGHT: The frustrated customer wanted to exchange the article, to obtain a refund, or speak to the manager.
Faulty Grammar
WRONG: Physical and mental health and wellness rest on four pillars: regular exercise, healthy diet, social interaction, and getting sufficient sleep.
Meaning: RIGHT: Physical and mental health rest on four pillars: regular exercise, healthy diet, social interaction, and sufficient sleep.
Faulty Grammar
WRONG: She spent the day visiting all the tourist shops and watched the children on the beach, and then she went back to the hotel for a late lunch.
Meaning: RIGHT: She spent the day visiting all the tourist shops and watching the children on the beach, and then she went back to the hotel for a late lunch.
Faulty Grammar
Parallelism Meaning
Parallelism refers to using elements in sentences that are grammatically similar or identical in structure, sound, meaning, or meter. This technique adds symmetry, effectiveness and balance to the written piece.
Parallelism Examples
"Ask not what your country can do for you...ask yourself what you can do for your country."