Comparisons should be couched in parallel constructionswhenever that is possible and appropriate. The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of blessings; the inherent virtue of socialism is the equal sharing of miseries. Winston Churchill
Parallelism shows that two or more ideas are equallyimportant by stating them in a grammatically parallelform: Nouns line up with nouns Verbs line up with verbs Phrases line up with phrasesParallelism can lend clarity, elegance, and symmetryto what you say.
I Came; I Saw; I conquered. Julius CaesarUsing three verbs, Caesar makes coming, seeing, conqueringall of equal importance. He implies that for him, conqueringwas as easy as coming and seeing.
We look for signs in every strange event; we search for heroes in every unknown face. Alice WalkerWalker stresses oursearching by making thesecond half of thissentence exactly parallel
I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears, and sweat. Winston ChurchillChurchill uses four nouns to identifywhat he offers the British people inwartime.
. . . AND THAT GOVERNMENT OF THE PEOPLE, BY THE PEOPLE, FOR THE PEOPLE, SHALL NOT PERISH FROM THE EARTH. Abraham LincolnLincoln uses threeprepositional phrases todescribe the essentialcharacteristics ofAmerican democracy.
On all these shores there are echoes of past and future: of theflow of time, obliterating yet containing all that has gone before. Rachel Carson Carson uses two prepositional phrases about time, and then a pair of participles to contrast its effects.
We must indeed all hang together, or most assuredly we shall all hang separately. Benjamin FranklinFranklin uses two parallel clauses to stress the differencebetween two equally pressing alternatives.
Correlatives or words or phrases used in pairs to joinwords, phrases, or clauses. The principal correlativesare both. . .and, not only. . .but also,either . . .or, neither. . .nor, andwhether. . .or.•Before the Polish strikes of 1980, both the Hungariansand the Czechs tried in vain to defy Soviet authority.•His speech not only outraged his opponents, butalso cost him the support of his own party.•Near the end of the story, Daniel Webster threatensto wrestle with the devil either on Earth or in hell.
Faulty Parallelism Corrected Version•The French, the Italians, •The French, theSpanish, and Portuguese Italians, the Spanish,have their own language. and the Portuguese have their own •It was both a long language. ceremony and boring. •The ceremony was both long and boring.
In the last minute of the game, John interceptedthe football, evaded the tacklers, and a touchdownwas scored.A time not for words, but action.My income is smaller than my husband.He is strong and a tough competitor.The new coach is a smart strategist, an effectivemanager, and works hard.Either you must grant his request or incur hiswrath.
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