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The Art of Parallelism: Crafting Engaging and Harmonious Lists

Comprehensive Definition, Description, Examples & Rules 

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Introduction to Parallelism

Parallelism in English Grammar is defined as words, clauses, phrases, etc., that are similar or have similar grammatical structures.

Parallel words or Parallelism can help in creating more effective, certain, and classy. In addition, parallelism can make your sentences look more impressive to readers. For good academic writing, parallelism is critical to use not only for grammar but also for the presentation of your ideas. 

Importance of Parallelism

To understand parallelism better, here is the importance of Parallelism: 

  • It helps in simplifying the sentence structure. 
  • It can help put emphasis on more than two ideas. 
  • It enhances the clarity and readability of the sentence. 

Creating Parallel Lists

The parallel list is the English grammar to ensure each item in the sentence list follows the same structure. 

To create a parallel list, the items in the list start with the same verbs and the same verb tense. 

The benefits of using the parallel list

  • They are easy to read as most of the time readers anticipate the grammatical structure after reading a few words. 
  • Parallel lists often bring more clarity and readability to the sentences. 
  • The parallel list can depict the writer as a logical thinker. 
  • Parallel words or lists are easy to write, writers only have to find words, and structure is established easily. 

Examples of Parallel Lists

Here are some parallel list or parallelism examples: 

“I would recommend visitors to avoid driving in the city, eating from local bars.” 

Here the normal sentence contains two things- ” driving and eating” which are ending with – ing making it parallel. 

Parallel list with correlative conjunction

“He should either sell his car or apply for a loan.” 

Here the sentence has parallelism because of the verbs either, or. 

Parallel Words and Phrases

To distinguish between parallel words and phrases, you must know how to identify them. Here’s how you identify parallel words and use them effectively: 

To identify parallel words in a sentence- check if elements on either side of conjunction and correlative have the same grammatical structure. 

To use parallel words effectively make sure it has the same grammatical structure such as a pen, a book, or a bag rather than using a pen, book, and bag. 

Using parallel phrases: parallel phrases can create rhythm, emphasis, clarity, and harmony in writing. It can make ideas look more presentable and effective to read. 

For instance, 

The movie was both funny and educational. 

Rules and Guidelines for Parallelism

Here are some guidelines when using parallelism or creating parallel lists: 

Maintaining Consistency: As mentioned above, to create a parallel list, it’s important to use the same noun, verb, tense, and sentence form. So, the key rule to creating parallelism in a sentence is maintaining consistency with your grammar. Such as if you are using past tense, the entire sentence should reflect the same. 

Avoiding Faulty Parallelism: Another important part of creating parallel lists is avoiding faulty parallelism. Such as using items with different types, and weights, and not creating a connection between them can be faculty. 

Tip- So, when you are revising, check sentences with ideas and make sure all the ideas are connected to each other.

Enhancing Writing with Parallelism

To enhance writing with Parallelism or using parallel lists in sentences. Here are some things  about Parallelism you need to follow: 

Creating Balanced Sentences: Parallel sentences or parallelism can be achieved if the sentence has a balance and connection between ideas. Often when you use two items in a list that are not comparable or seem less connected, the balance is lost. In addition, if you are using singular and plural items at the same time, it would create an imbalance. 

Adding Emphasis and Impact: Parallelism puts emphasis on the ideas, you can present more than two ideas perfectly in sentences without making it complex to read. In addition, parallel lists make it easy to add too many things as listed in a sentence briefly. 

Using a parallel list can enhance your writing and sentences with more clarity, coherence, and readability. 

Common Challenges and Solutions

Just like any other English grammar, there are some common challenges and solutions that you can face in parallel lists such as: 

  • The sentences or writing are imbalanced and disconnected. 
  • The two items used in parallelism do not have the same weight, height, or type to compare or use. 
  • Lack of connection between two things in parallel lists

Solutions and tips to resolve the challenges or common mistakes:

  • When you are revising and editing, check long sentences first. Usually, long sentences have more than one idea that has a high chance of mistakes. Re-read them and make improvements in sentences. 
  • Make sure you use elements after the colon in the same form. For instance, I like Books, Traveling, and Teaching. Rather, I like: books, to travel, and to teach. 
  • If the sentence with a list is starting with an adjective, or adverb make sure you continue the list with the same part of speech. 
list of adverbs for kids

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Key Takeaways

  1. Parallelism is defined as words, phrases, or clauses that have similar grammatical structures.

  2. Parallelism can help in making sentences more clear and more readable.

  3. Parallelism brings more balance to a sentence.

  4. If  a sentence does not have connection between ideas, it’s not parallel

  5. To create a parallel list you must have the same verb, noun, tense, or form of structure in a sentence.


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Frequently Asked Questions

Are parallel words and parallel phrases the same thing?

No! Parallel words mean using similar patterns of words to describe ideas. Parallel phrases is using the same grammatical pattern on two sides or parts of a sentence. 

What are the rules for creating parallel lists?

To create a parallel list, make sure the item list follows the same form of grammar, structure, tense, noun, verb, etc., to create balance in the sentence.

Can I mix different parts of speech in a parallel list?

A parallel list can use two different parts of speech when nouns are used in the sentence. 

What are some common mistakes to avoid when using parallelism?

One of the common mistakes is using two items of Parallelism that do not have the same meaning, type, weight, or length. 

How can I practice and improve my use of parallel lists?

To practice your parallel words, you can check out the worksheet provided by Edulyte at the end. 

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