Parallelism is often referred to as one of the basic principles of grammar and rhetoric, and you’ll see its use throughout literature. Parallelism has slightly different meanings, depending on the context, but it’s about balancing the weight or structure of ideas and phrases. In rhetoric, parallelism means balancing two or more ideas or arguments that are equally important. In grammar, it means using phrasing that is grammatically similar or identical in structure, sound, meaning, or meter. As you can see from literary examples, this technique adds symmetry, effectiveness, and balance to the written piece.
MLK I have a dream quote
Parallelism in Rhetoric
Parallelism in rhetoric is used to persuade, motivate, and/or evoke emotional responses in an audience and is often used in speeches. The balance between clauses or phrases makes complex thoughts easier to process while holding the reader's or listener's attention. The balance in importance is also an essential element; each phrase or idea should be as important as its counterpart.
Some examples of parallelism in rhetoric include the following:
- "I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. I have a dream today." - Martin Luther King, Jr.
- "My fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country." -John F. Kennedy
- "I don't want to live on in my work. I want to live on in my apartment." -Woody Allen
- "Today's students can put dope in their veins or hope in their brains. If they can conceive it and believe it, they can achieve it. They must know it is not their aptitude but their attitude that will determine their altitude." -Jesse Jackson
- "For the end of a theoretical science is truth, but the end of a practical science is performance." -Aristotle
- "My fellow citizens: I stand here today humbled by the task before us, grateful for the trust you have bestowed, mindful of the sacrifices borne by our ancestors." -Barack Obama
- "One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind." -Neil Armstrong
- "We've seen the unfurling of flags, the lighting of candles, the giving of blood, the saying of prayers." -George W. Bush
You can also see rhetorical parallelism used in longer speeches, such as this example by John F. Kennedy:
"The Ireland of 1963, one of the youngest of nations and the oldest of civilizations, has discovered that the achievement of nationhood is not an end but a beginning. In the years since independence, you have undergone a new and peaceful revolution, an economic and industrial revolution, transforming the face of this land while still holding to the old spiritual and cultural values. You have modernized your economy, harnessed your rivers, diversified your industry, liberalized your trade, electrified your farms, accelerated your rate growth, and improved the living standard of your people."
Parallelism in Literature
The opening paragraph of Charles Dickens' A Tale of Two Cities is perhaps the best-known example of parallelism in literature. Parallelism is shown by using "it was" to connect opposing ideas.
"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way."
William Shakespeare often used parallelism in his plays. Consider the following excerpt from Richard II.
"I'll give my jewels for a set of beads,
My gorgeous palace for a hermitage,
My gay apparel for an almsman's gown,
My figured goblets for a dish of wood,(Video) Parallelism: Explanation, Effects, Example | AP Lang Rhetorical Strategies
My scepter for a palmer's walking staff
My subjects for a pair of carved saints
and my large kingdom for a little grave."
Diazeugma, using a number of verbs to describe a subject, is also a form of parallelism. This can be seen in Vacation '58, a short story by John Hughes.
"It wasn't a big cliff. It was only about four feet high. But it was enough to blow out the front tire, knock off the back bumper, break Dad's glasses, make Aunt Edythe spit out her false teeth, spill a jug of Kool-Aid, bump Missy's head, spread the Auto Bingo pieces all over, and make Mark do number two."
Shooting an Elephant, an essay by George Orwell, uses the experience of hunting an aggressive elephant in Burma as a metaphor for British Imperialism. Starting each phrase with "some" creates a parallel structure that reinforces how easy it is for observers of the same event to have entirely different opinions.
"Some of the people said that the elephant had gone in one direction, some said that he had gone in another, some professed not even to have heard of any elephant."
The poem The Tyger by William Blake uses repetition of "what" to create a pleasing rhythm.
"What the hammer? what the chain?
In what furnace was thy brain?
What the anvil? What dread grasp
Dare its deadly terrors clasp?"
How Do I Love Thee? by Elizabeth Barrett Browning also creates rhythmic verse with repetition of the parallel structure "I love thee."
"How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight(Video) Rhetorical Devices and Parallelism
For the ends of being and ideal grace.
I love thee to the level of every day's
Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light.
I love thee freely, as men strive for right.
I love thee purely, as they turn from praise.
I love thee with the passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childhood's faith.
I love thee with a love I seemed to loseSee AlsoUTSA faculty earn accolades for their dedication to student successCorporate Videos: 17 World Best Examples (Latest 2022 Guide)50 Quotes About Studying Abroad | 2022 - A Broken BackpackCentral American Immigrants in the United States
With my lost saints. I love thee with the breath,
Smiles, tears, of all my life; and, if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death."
Community by John Donne contrasts ideas of "good" and "love" with "ill"and "hate" using parallel structure.
"Good we must love, and must hate ill,
For ill is ill, and good good still;
But there are things indifferent,
Which we may neither hate, nor love,(Video) Parallelism/Chiasmus: Repeat After Me - Rhetoric Series | Academy 4 Social Change
But one, and then another prove,
As we shall find our fancy bent."
E.E. Cummings' poem, love is more thicker than forget, uses the words "love is" and "more" or "less" to create a parallel structure that explains the meaning of love.
"love is more thicker than forget
more thinner than recall
more seldom than a wave is wet
more frequent than to fail
it is most mad and moonly
and less it shall unbe
than all the sea which only
is deeper than the sea
love is less always than to winSee AlsoHuman Geography Places And Regions In Global Context 7Th Edition PDF - INFOLEARNERS35+ Best College Essay Tips from College Application ExpertsUniversity of Exeter: Zulassung, Unterricht, Kurse, Stipendien, Ranking 2022Genshin Impact Anemoculus Locations: A Guide Each for All Positions
less never than alive
less bigger than the least begin
less littler than forgive"
Understanding Parallel Construction
Parallelism uses similar words, phrases, or clauses to show that ideas have the same level of importance. This structure improves readability by giving a natural flow to a written work.
For native speakers of English, parallelism is often instinctive. We say, "I like reading, writing, and painting" instead of "I like to read, writing, and painting."
Mistakes in Parallel Construction
However, one common mistake novice writers make involves failing to keep items in a list after a colon in a parallel form. For example, "Writers can use an online dictionary to find help with these issues: word meanings, pronunciations, and finding correct spellings" does not use a parallel construction. Changing the text to read, "Writers can use an online dictionary to find help with these issues: word meanings, pronunciations, and correct spellings" gives it a parallel construction and improves readability.
More Examples of Parallel Structure
Additional examples of parallel sentence structure include the following:
- Mother was very busy gathering the laundry, dusting the furniture, and washing the dishes.
- He likes television shows that have deep characters, interesting stories, and good actors.
- My face is washed, my hair is combed, and my teeth are brushed.
- We are giving away our furniture, selling our house, and moving to Spain.
- To succeed in life, you need to take advantage of opportunities and to follow your dreams.
Other Literary Devices Used With Parallelism
As you use parallel construction in your writing or begin to identify it in the literature you read, you’ll see that it also goes with other literary devices:
- Rhythm - The meter or rhythm of the repeated elements are often similar. You’ll see the same stressed syllables in a pattern in the parallel elements of the sentence or piece.
- Repetition - At its root, parallelism is about repetition. The phrase structure or impact of an idea is repeated to make it more powerful.
- Antithesis - A sophisticated way to use parallelism is to contrast two different ideas with the same structure.
- Alliteration - Using the same sounds for a list of items or similar phrases helps further enhance the parallelism.
Stay Balanced in Your Writing
Reading written text out loud is often an effective way to identify examples of parallelism or areas that need editing to maintain a parallel structure. Listening to the rhythm of words as they flow from your tongue will help you maintain the desired balance in your writing, whether you're writing a persuasive essay or a romantic love poem.
What is parallelism give 5 examples? ›
|I like to jog, bake, paint, and watching movies.||I like to jog, bake, paint, and watch movies. I like jogging, baking, painting, and watching movies.|
Parallelism is the repetition of grammatical elements in a piece of writing to create a harmonious effect. Sometimes, it involves repeating the exact same words, such as in the common phrases “easy come, easy go” and “veni, vidi, vici” (“I came, I saw, I conquered”).What are the 5 types of parallelism? ›
There are different types of parallelism : lexical, syntactic , semantic, synthetic , binary, antithetical . Parallelism works on different levels: 1. Syntactic level in which there are parallel structure of word phrase or sentence , 2.How do you identify parallelism in literature? ›
Parallelism is a literary device in which parts of the sentence are grammatically the same, or are similar in construction. It can be a word, a phrase, or an entire sentence repeated. King's famous 'I have a dream' repetition makes the speech compelling and rhythmic, as well as memorable.Which sentence is best example of parallelism? ›
Some examples of parallelism in rhetoric include the following: "I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. I have a dream today." - Martin Luther King, Jr.What is an example of parallel structure in literature? ›
Literary Devices that Use Parallel Structure
Consider this example: “I forgave you when you lost my cat, I forgave you when you left me at the airport, and I forgave you when you threw out my favorite stuffed animal.” The repeated use of I forgave you when you is parallel structure.
For the most part, parallelism in rhetoric will look the same in grammar. For example: “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.” This famous English proverb is a very good parallelism example being employed in rhetoric.What is an example of a parallel sentence? ›
Parallel: My dog not only likes to play fetch, but he also likes to chase cars. My dog likes not only to play fetch, but also to chase cars. When you connect two clauses or phrases with a word of comparison, such as than or as, use parallel structure.What is the meaning of parallelism in literature? ›
parallelism, in rhetoric, component of literary style in both prose and poetry, in which coordinate ideas are arranged in phrases, sentences, and paragraphs that balance one element with another of equal importance and similar wording.What are the 4 types of parallelism? ›
- Data Parallelism. Data Parallelism means concurrent execution of the same task on each multiple computing core. ...
- Task Parallelism. Task Parallelism means concurrent execution of the different task on multiple computing cores. ...
- Bit-level parallelism. ...
- Instruction-level parallelism.
What is another word for parallelism? ›
In this page you can discover 19 synonyms, antonyms, idiomatic expressions, and related words for parallelism, like: likeness, similarity, correspondence, affinity, analogy, resemblance, similitude, uniformity, uniformness, recursion and non-determinism.Is parallelism a rhetorical device? ›
Parallelism is a rhetorical device that compounds words or phrases that have equivalent meanings so as to create a definite pattern.How do you know if a sentence is parallelism? ›
A simple way to check for parallelism in your writing is to make sure you have paired nouns with nouns, verbs with verbs, prepositional phrases with prepositional phrases, and so on. Underline each element in a sentence and check that the corresponding element uses the same grammatical form.Why is it important to use parallelism in the sentences? ›
Parallelism is important in writing because it allows a writer to achieve a sense of rhythm and order. When sentence structures are not parallel, writing sounds awkward and choppy. Parallel clauses are usually combined with the use of a coordinating conjunction (for, and, nor, but, or, yet, so).What is parallelism in simple terms? ›
Parallelism is the matching of the forms of words, phrases, or clauses within a sentence. Editing your work for parallel construction improves clarity and emphasizes your points.What is an example of parallelism in the I have a dream speech? ›
Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream" speech is one very famous example of parallel structure: I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal."Which sentence is written correctly with parallel structure? ›
Explanation: The only sentence that has correct parallel structure is the following one: Sheila Peterson can run 20 miles, swim three miles, and bike 30 miles, all without breaking a sweat.. The three main verbs are all in the same tense, with the same grammatical pattern.Why do poets use parallelism? ›
Parallelism is a literary device that has parts of writing grammatically similar. This creates an emphasis on repeated ideas and can also connect ideas. In poetry, parallelism can aid in the meter, memorability, and efficient connection of ideas.What does parallel structure do in rhetoric? ›
In rhetoric, parallel syntax (also known as parallel construction, parallel structure, and parallelism) is a rhetorical device that consists of repetition among adjacent sentences or clauses. The repeated sentences or clauses provide emphasis to a central theme or idea the author is trying to convey.What does rhetorical question mean in literature? ›
rhetorical question. A question asked without expecting an answer but for the sake of emphasis or effect. The expected answer is usually “yes” or “no.” For example, Can we improve the quality of our work? That's a rhetorical question. [
What are the 4 literary elements? ›
Literary elements include plot, theme, character and tone. In contrast, literary techniques are non-universal features of literature and include figurative language, irony, and foreshadowing.Which sentence is parallel in a series of clauses? ›
A sentence is parallel when items in a series share the same grammatical structure (when all are nouns or verbs or gerund phrases, for example). Writers use parallelism to help readers see connections between ideas and to emphasize particular points.Which sentence is an example of faulty parallelism? ›
Faulty parallelism occurs when the items in the series of a sentence do not have the same grammatical structure. Faulty Parallelism Example: I like to spend my winter holiday skating, skiing, and I also enjoy snowboarding.What is a parallel expression? ›
Parallelism is a similarity of grammatical form for similar elements of meaning within a sentence or among sentences. If two or more ideas are parallel, they should be expressed in parallel grammatical form. Single words should be balanced with single words, phrases with phrases, clauses with clauses.What is the effect of parallelism? ›
Parallelism helps make an idea or argument clear and easy to remember. It also shows that each repeated structure is of equal importance. And, it is a powerful tool for public speaking. Throughout history, many famous leaders have used parallel structure to communicate with the public.What is parallelism in figurative language? ›
Parallelism is a figure of speech in which two or more elements of a sentence (or series of sentences) have the same grammatical structure. These "parallel" elements can be used to intensify the rhythm of language, or to draw a comparison, emphasize, or elaborate on an idea.What are the two types of parallelism? ›
- Bit-level parallelism – It is the form of parallel computing which is based on the increasing processor's size. ...
- Instruction-level parallelism – A processor can only address less than one instruction for each clock cycle phase. ...
- Task Parallelism –
Parallelism ensures that similar clauses or phrases are uniform in expression and function. To achieve parallelism, you must use the same verb, noun, adverb, or adjective forms consistently throughout a sentence.What is the opposite of parallelism? ›
c. 1600, " parallel position," from Greek parallelismos, from parallelizein (see parallel). In literature, "correspondence resulting from repetition of the same sentiment, imagery, or construction" is from 1778.
What's another word for antithesis? ›
Repetition, figurative language, and even rhetorical questions are all examples of rhetorical devices.What are the 3 rhetorical strategies? ›
There are three different rhetorical appeals—or methods of argument—that you can take to persuade an audience: logos, ethos, and pathos.What are the 4 rhetorical strategies? ›
Rhetorical appeals are the qualities of an argument that make it truly persuasive. To make a convincing argument, a writer appeals to a reader in several ways. The four different types of persuasive appeals are logos, ethos, pathos, and kairos.What is an example of parallelism in poetry? ›
In its simplest form parallelism consists of single words that have a slight variation in meaning: “ordain and establish” or “overtake and surpass.” Sometimes three or more units are parallel; for example, “Reading maketh a full man, conference a ready man, and writing an exact man” (Francis Bacon, “Of Studies”).What is parallelism sentence? ›
Parallelism refers to using similar words, clauses, phrases, sentence structure, or other grammatical elements to emphasize similar ideas in a sentence. It makes the sentence concise, clear, and easy to read.What is parallelism and its types? ›
Data Parallelism means concurrent execution of the same task on each multiple computing core. Let's take an example, summing the contents of an array of size N. For a single-core system, one thread would simply sum the elements  . . .What are the three types of parallelism? ›
Lowth listed three primary types of parallelism: synonymous, antithetic, and synthetic (Lucas 2003, pp. 67–68). These are sometimes called similar thoughts, contrasting thoughts, and additional thoughts, respectively (McQuilkin 1992, p. 205).What is an example of parallelism in rhetoric? ›
For the most part, parallelism in rhetoric will look the same in grammar. For example: “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.” This famous English proverb is a very good parallelism example being employed in rhetoric.What is parallelism rhetorical device? ›
Parallelism is a rhetorical device that compounds words or phrases that have equivalent meanings so as to create a definite pattern. This structure is particularly effective when "specifying or enumerating pairs or series of like things".
What are some examples of parallelism in the I have a dream speech? ›
Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream" speech is one very famous example of parallel structure: I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal."What is another word for parallelism? ›
In this page you can discover 19 synonyms, antonyms, idiomatic expressions, and related words for parallelism, like: likeness, similarity, correspondence, affinity, analogy, resemblance, similitude, uniformity, uniformness, recursion and non-determinism.How do you ensure parallelism? ›
To achieve parallelism, try skimming your papers for coordinating conjunctions such as and and or. Check the sentence elements on both sides of the conjunction to see if they are parallel in form. If they are not, revise those sentences to achieve parallel structure.