Parallelism (grammar)

Parallelism (grammar)

In grammar, parallelism is a balance of two or more similar words, phrases, or clauses. The application of parallelism in sentence construction improves writing style and readability. Parallelism may also be known as parallel structure or parallel construction. In English, parallelism of the predicate provides for one of the few structural situations in which the subject for each verb does not need restatement (a common misconception for non-native speakers). Parallelism is often achieved in conjunction with other stylistic principles, such as antithesis, anaphora, asyndeton, climax, epistrophe, and symploce.


Compare the following examples:

  • Lacking parallelism: She likes cooking, jogging, and to read.
  • Parallel: She likes cooking, jogging, and reading.

In the above example, the first sentence has two gerunds and one infinitive. To make it parallel, the sentence was rewritten with three gerunds instead.

  • Lacking parallelism: Affy ran across the yard, jumped over the fence, and down the alley he sprinted.
  • Parallel: Affy ran across the yard, jumped over the fence, and sprinted down the alley.

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