Every piece of written content is nothing less than a piece of musical composition. Just as a musical piece has musical notes that accentuate its beauty, sound grammar and coherent parallelism is what makes a written piece of content bona fide and memorable. Just as the lead melody guides the choice of other musical instruments in a composition, the subject matter and tone of the article guide the choice of verbs and tenses in an article. Practicing parallelism throughout your content ensures that no sentence is out of tune. To understand parallelism even better, you can consider an article as a giant puzzle and its various grammatical tools as individual pieces. The practice of parallelism compels writers to utilize similar grammatical tools in tandem with each other to complete the puzzle in the most accurate way possible.

Understanding The Premise Of Parallelism

Parallelism refers to the appropriate use of similar grammatical structures in sentence formation. In parallelism, words, phrases, and clauses are put together using identical grammatical elements to improve the clarity of the ideas expressed and emphasize the relationship between them. It helps writers to craft clear, meaningful, and balanced sentences that are concise and easy to comprehend.

To avoid loss of clarity due to faulty parallelism, the verb tense consistency of a sentence should be identical. Here is an example to help you understand.

Faulty Parallelism: Jake’s hobbies are swimming, reading, and to paint.

In the above sentence, the words reading and swimming are gerunds (verbs that function as a noun) of the verbs read and swim. Whereas the phrase “to paint” is an infinitive. Even a kid who does not know grammar rules would find the above sentence odd and unsettling. This is where parallelism comes in and introduces writing consistency in such sentences. It is pretty clear by observation that the correct sentence would be,

Parallelism: Jake’s hobbies are swimming, reading, and painting.

Now that we have understood the concept of parallelism let us understand the purpose and benefits of parallelism in detail.

The Purpose Of Parallelism And Its Benefits

Famous speakers and orators often use parallelism to hold an audience’s attention by simplifying the structure of their sentences.

Writers can do the same by applying parallelism to emphasize the relationship between two ideas by setting up a contrast or comparison. Parallelism is also used extensively alongside other literary devices, such as alliteration and assonance, to provide rhythm and flow to their creations.

Parallelism, when executed accurately, makes your writings classy, effective, and impressive.

Benefits Of Parallelism

The greatest benefit of parallelism is the structure it provides to your writing. It makes your written pieces sound more pleasant and whole. It impresses upon the readers that the writer has chosen his words and structured them carefully.

Parallelism also equips writers with the power to say more with less, which helps writers to express complex ideas in fewer words. Let us deliberate on the following sentence to understand this fundamentally.

Since I woke up late, I hurriedly ate, dressed, and ran out the door to catch the bus.

In the above sentence, by using the verbs in a parallel structure, the writer was effortlessly able to describe the sequence of events without repeating the subject of the sentence. Hence, with parallelism, the writer can easily explain complex concepts without troubling the readers with too many words or jargon that are beyond their understanding.

Types Of Parallelism

Parallelism Of Words

When a series of elements of equal importance is to be expressed in a sentence, then parallelism is executed at the world level. To practice parallelism at the word level, nouns are essentially grouped with other nouns, and the same holds true for verbs and adjectives. A comma or semicolon separates these grouped nouns, words, or adjectives.

Example: I am looking for a new house that is large, affordable, and stylish.

Parallelism Of Phrases

Parallelism can also be practiced when a group of phrases are to be listed in a sentence. The same rule applies to phrases wherein noun phrases are used with other noun phrases and verb phrases with other verb phrases. To avoid faulty parallelism, make sure to use the same verb form while grouping two or more verb phrases together.

Example: Some of my interests include walking in the woods, horse riding on the beach, and playing the guitar.

Parallelism Of Clauses

By definition, a clause consists of a subject and a predicate. When a sentence has multiple clauses, they need to be arranged in a parallel structure to enhance readability. Here is an example of the same:

Example: My performance review stated that I regularly show up to practice on time, that I play well with other teammates, and that I communicate well with everyone.

Parallelism After A Colon

Colon does a great job at providing structure to your writing and improving readability. Parallelism is also to be followed for writing the pointers that follow a colon.

Let us try and understand with an example below:

Example: Our organization increased hiring for various reasons: demand within the industry, ample profit over the past year, and the need to keep up with competitors.

Parallelism With Pairs

When a sentence consists of two connected or contrasting ideas that are conjoined by conjunctions such as “and, or or but,” use of parallelism is a must to ensure utmost clarity. Parallel structure is used to present a pair of ideas with one another. Here is an example:

Example: I scheduled a meeting to discuss the project’s progress and set a timeline for future upgrades.

Parallelism As Literary Devices

Now that we have learned the types of parallelism with respect to grammatical structures, let us try and understand the literary terms used to describe the literary devices that make up particular types of parallelism.
Anaphora: The literal meaning of anaphora is “carrying back.” This type of parallelism emphasizes the words at the beginning of a clause.

Example: “In time, we will prevail; in time, we will be victorious.”

Asyndeton: This type of parallelism refers to the “unconnected” and deliberately omits coordinating conjunctions in a series of related ideas for poetic effect. The famous quote “Veni, vidi, vici” by Julius Caesar is a prime example of asyndetic parallelism. The English translation of the quote is as follows:

Example: “I came, I saw, I conquered.”

Antithesis: Antithesis is a literary device used to introduce two opposite or contrasting ideas. A great example of Antithesis parallelism is the saying:

Example: “Man proposes, God disposes.”

Epistrophe: An epistrophe, also known as epiphora, is the exact opposite of anaphora, where words or phrases at the end of a sentence are repeated for laying emphasis.

Example: The most popular example of epistrophe is when President of the United States Barack Obama made use of this rhetorical device in his world-famous “Yes We Can” speech.

Climax: A Climax is a figure of speech where it arranges parallel elements in increasing order of their importance.

Example: “She found the recipe, bought the ingredients, baked the cake, and won the competition.”

Symploce: Often used at both the beginning and end of an expression, Symploce is a combination of anaphora and epiphora.

Example: “I walked to the store and thought about the future, I walked to the park and thought about the future.”

Perfecting Parallelism: How To Avoid Common Mistakes

Lack of parallelism can occur in various ways, but the mistake is typically evident enough to make you cringe upon hearing it. Please keep reading to discover the most prevalent issues with parallelism that you will likely encounter and learn how to avoid them effectively.

Verb Forms

Incorrect: Hunters usually like hiking, camping, and to eat marshmallow sandwiches.

As you can see, hiking and camping are gerunds (verbs that function as nouns), and ” to eat” is an infinitive. It sounds pretty awkward.
Instead, the correct statements would be:

Correct: Hunters usually like hiking, camping, and eating marshmallow sandwiches.


Correct: Hunters usually like to hike, camp, and eat marshmallow sandwiches.

You can avoid repeating the word “to” in each instance of the infinitive verb form. As long as the verb form remains consistent, you’re good to go.

Nouns vs. Verbs

Incorrect: For dinner we like pork chops and to fry broccoli sprouts.

Pork chops is a noun. Broccoli sprouts is a noun, too, but to fry is a verb. Hence, the correct sentence form of the above sentence would be as follows:

Correct: For dinner, we like pork chops and broccoli sprouts.


Correct: For dinner, we like to grill pork chops and fry broccoli sprouts.

Noun Number

Incorrect: Public transit, such as trains or a bus, can help reduce air pollution.

Multiple trains, one bus? Something sounds off, right?

Correct:Public transit, such as trains or buses can help reduce air pollution.

Further Inconsistencies in Parts of Speech

Incorrect: The detective deftly and with pizzazz outlined how the crime had been committed.

What is the adverb form of “pizzazz”? A great question indeed. For this sentence to be properly parallel, both “deftly” (adverb) and “with pizzazz” (a prepositional phrase) need to be the same part of speech. Furthermore, if “pizzazzilly” is not a word, then two nouns are required.

So the correct sentence would sound something like:

Correct: With deftness and pizzazz, the detective outlined how the crime had been committed.

Subject Matter

Incorrect: He decided to stitch the gown finally, and had chicken wings for dinner.

Is being a fabulous designer really comparable to making chicken wings? At first glance, these two actions may not seem to have much in common. However, when it comes to parallelism in the subject matter, everything discussed in a sentence needs to have some level of clarity and connection.

So, to make the two statements more coherent, a more sensible sentence would be as follows:

Correct: He decided to stitch the gown finally, and to celebrate, he had chicken wings for dinner.


Correct: He was hungry after he stitched the gown, so he had chicken wings for dinner.

The potential connections are limitless, but to ensure proper parallelism, clarity of that connection is crucial for the reader.

Parallelism in Rhetoric

In the realm of rhetoric, which encompasses literature, speeches, and moments when you want to exude elegance, parallelism plays a significant and commanding role. It involves constructing sentences with comparable structures, creating a pattern of repetition and equilibrium. This technique adds depth and eloquence, elevating your writing to captivate and engage your audience. Simply put, parallelism is a powerful tool that can confidently elevate your words, leaving a lasting impact on your readers or listeners.

Here are some prominent examples of parallelism in the literature of the past:

Love me, love me, say that you love me,
Fool me, fool me, go on and fool me.

—The Cardigans, “Lovefool”

I celebrate myself, and sing myself,
And what I assume you shall assume,
For every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you.

—Walt Whitman, “Song of Myself”

Easy come, easy go.

—Common saying

Parallelism elevates your writing to the level of a precise geometry equation with perfectly aligned lines. To ensure your writing remains flawlessly structured, always be vigilant for these essential elements:

● Matching parts of speech
● Noun number
● Subject matter
● Rhetoric

As the saying goes, “you win some, you lose some.” However, when you employ parallelism effectively in your writing and speech, you greatly increase the chances of confidently declaring, “I came, I saw, I conquered.”

Proof Of The Impact Of Parallelism

Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address stands as one of the most remarkable illustrations of parallelism in speeches. Notably, it exemplifies the persuasive use of epistrophe in the phrase “government of the people, by the people, for the people,” and employs anaphora in the resounding repetition of “We cannot dedicate, we cannot consecrate, we cannot hallow this ground.”

Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” is an extraordinary demonstration of parallel structure in speech. By intentionally repeating the phrase at the beginning of his sentences, he skillfully employs epistrophe. Furthermore, he adeptly uses parallelism to emphasize the contrasting statement: “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” This profound rhetoric underscores the importance of his message and leaves a profound impact on the audience.

In his inaugural address in 1961, President John F. Kennedy skillfully wove two contrasting ideas in parallel structure, urging the audience to shift their perspective: “Do not merely expect what your country can do for you; actively contribute to what you can do for your country.” In a similar vein, Winston Churchill skillfully utilized the persuasive technique of powerful parallelism, employing both epistrophe and auxesis to resolutely reinforce his message:

“We shall engage in battle on the sandy shores. We shall confront our enemies on the landing zones. We shall wage war in the vast fields and bustling streets. We shall struggle in the lofty hills. We shall never surrender.”

Through these masterful words, Churchill conveyed his unwavering determination and unyielding spirit.

Neil Armstrong’s famous words upon setting foot on the moon employ parallel construction, effectively emphasizing the importance of his statement and the monumental achievement it signifies: “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.” This deliberate parallelism skillfully highlights the difference in momentum and progress, underscoring the contrast between the individual and the collective.


In addition to being grammatically correct, written content also needs to sound and feel right. By adhering to high standards of writing and following the law of the word, one can definitely create content that is not only impressive but resonates with its target audience. Just as great conversational skills make sales people effective at selling, parallelism helps writers to create content that is understandable and memorable. Parallelism is a worthwhile skill that adds another feather in your hat, and another quill in your quiver that turns every reader into a believer.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is Parallelism in Content Writing?

Parallelism in content writing refers to the use of similar grammatical structures, phrases, or patterns within a sentence or paragraph. It creates a sense of balance and rhythm in writing and helps emphasize important ideas. This technique can be used to improve readability, engage the reader’s attention, and make the overall content more impactful.
What are the Main Benefits of Using Parallelism in Content Writing

Improved Readability: Parallelism helps to create a flow in writing, making it easier for readers to understand and follow the content. By using similar structures, parallelism reduces confusion and makes the content more organized.

Enhanced Emphasis: By repeating certain words or phrases, parallelism draws attention to important ideas and makes them stand out. This technique can be used to emphasize key points, calls to action, or important messages.

Increased Impact: Parallelism adds a level of sophistication and elegance to writing. By using balanced structures, writers can create a powerful impact on the reader’s mind and leave a lasting impression.

Better Engagement: Parallelism makes writing more engaging and exciting for readers. It breaks the monotony of repetitive sentence structures and keeps the reader’s attention throughout the content.

Clear Communication: Through the use of parallelism, writers can effectively communicate their message with clarity and conciseness. This technique eliminates ambiguity and ensures that readers grasp the intended meaning of the content.

How Can I Improve My Writing with Parallelism?

Identify Key Ideas: Start by analyzing your content and identifying the central ideas or messages you want to convey. These fundamental ideas will form the basis of your parallel structures.

Use Repetition: Repeat certain words, phrases, or clauses to create a sense of balance in your writing.

Keep Sentence Structure Consistent: Ensure that similar grammatical structures are used in parallel sentences. This will help maintain the flow and create a sense of harmony in your writing.

Vary Sentence Length: While parallelism involves using similar structures, it is important to vary sentence length to avoid monotony and add interest to the content.

Practice, Practice, Practice: Like any other writing technique, mastering parallelism takes practice. Keep experimenting with different structures and see what works best for your writing style.

What is the difference between parallelism and parallel structure?

Parallelism and parallel structure are often used interchangeably, but there is a subtle difference between the two. Parallelism refers to the overall concept of using similar structures in writing, while parallel structure specifically focuses on maintaining grammatical consistency within those structures. In other words, parallelism is a broader term encompassing all types of repetition and balance in writing, while parallel structure is a specific technique used to achieve parallelism. So, while parallelism can be achieved by repeating words or phrases, parallel structure focuses on maintaining consistency in grammar, tense, and voice.

What are some examples of parallelism in content writing?

“Easy come, easy go.”
“Like father, like son.”
“She likes cooking, dancing, and singing.”
“Not only did she win the race, but she also broke a record.”
“To thrive in life, you need three things: a wishbone, a backbone, and a funny bone.”

How can I use parallelism to make my writing easier to understand?

To make your writing more clear and easy to understand, consider using parallelism in the following ways:

In lists: When listing multiple items, use consistent grammatical structure for each item to avoid confusion.

In comparisons: Use parallel structures when comparing two or more things to make the comparison more balanced and comprehensible.

In headings and subheadings: Use parallel structure in headings and subheadings to make them more impactful, as well as easier to read and understand.

In call-to-action statements: By using parallel structures in your calls-to-action, you can make them more memorable and persuasive for the reader.

In repetition of key points: Repeating key ideas or phrases using parallelism can help reinforce them in the reader’s mind and make your writing more effective.

How can I use parallelism to create emphasis in my writing?

Parallelism can be a powerful tool for creating emphasis in writing. Here are some ways in which you can use parallelism to make your writing more impactful:

Repeat important words or phrases: By repeating key words or phrases, you can draw attention to specific ideas and create a strong impact on the reader.

Use balance and symmetry: Parallel structures create a sense of balance and symmetry in writing, making important points stand out more clearly.

Emphasize key ideas with varying sentence length: Varying the length of sentences while maintaining parallel structures can help emphasize specific points and make them more memorable for the reader.

Use parallelism in persuasive writing: When trying to persuade readers, using parallel structure can give your arguments a more forceful and convincing tone, making them more likely to be accepted.

Combine parallelism with rhetorical devices: Rhetorical devices such as repetition, alliteration, and antithesis can work together with parallelism to create an even stronger emphasis in writing. Overall, parallelism is a versatile technique that can enhance the impact of your writing in various ways. By practicing and incorporating it into your writing, you can improve the clarity, engagement, and effectiveness of your content.

How can I use parallelism to make my writing more concise?

Parallelism can also make writing more concise and to the point. Here are some tips for using parallelism in this way:

Use parallel structures to cut down on repetition: By repeating key phrases or ideas in a parallel structure, you can avoid using multiple sentences to convey the same message.

Eliminate unnecessary words: Parallelism forces you to use concise and parallel structures, which can help identify and eliminate any unnecessary words or phrases in your writing.

Avoid ambiguity: Parallelism can make your writing more clear and direct, reducing the chance of confusion or ambiguity for the reader.
Use it in bullet points or numbered lists: In content such as FAQs or steps to follow, using parallelism in bullet points or numbered lists can help convey information in a concise and organized manner.

Don’t overdo it: While parallelism can be an effective tool for making writing more concise, using it too much can make your writing sound repetitive and monotonous. Use it sparingly and only when necessary.