Make your writing effective and classy with this forgotten literary device

Do you have a good grammar but still feel that your writing is not clean and clear enough to convey a message? Well, there must be something in the manner of how you form your sentences. Either you have a style that can be improved or just face the truth  – you don’t have a style at all.

Learning this hundred literary device can perk up your composition, but it may take a while before you get familiarized with these. However, one particular device will give you the first step on your way to becoming a writer or the best-selling author! Make friends with parallelism.

What is parallelism?

The word Parallelism has the base word ‘parallel’ which is defined in Merriam-Webster as ‘similar, analogous, or interdependent in tendency or development‘. In grammar, it is a writing technique that arranges words with syntactical accuracy.

It creates sentences that have the same structure. That is why this device is significant as it makes your composition smooth, clear, and concise. Without the use of parallelism, your writings sound awkward.

How to use parallelism

This literary device makes use of repetition, which gives rhythm and balance to your sentences.

For example, “The dancer hopped on the floor, jumped in the air, and turned around the stage.”

Subjected to repetition were the phrases:

  • hopped on the floor
  • jumped in the air
  • turned around the stage

They all possessed the same structure, which was a verb in past tense + prepositional phrase.

Observe the words in bold typeface.

For example, “My brother wants swimming, to snorkel, and cliff diving in the Hundred Islands.”

By using parallelism, it will be fixed either way into:

  1. My brother wants swimming, snorkeling, and cliff diving in the Hundred Islands.
  2. My brother wants to swim, snorkel, and cliff dive in the Hundred Islands.

Be careful with the use of articles, too.

Another example, “Inside the basket, I saw an apple, the blue ball, a ribbon, and the bananas.”

This should be fixed either way as:

  1. Inside the basket, I saw an apple, a blue ball, a ribbon, and a bunch of bananas.
  2. Inside the basket, I saw the apple, blue ball, ribbon, and bananas.

Take note: A and An have equal meaning and value.

You can also use it on consecutive sentences like:

I was surprised when I came home. My father hugged me. My mother kissed me. My sister pinched me. They all missed so much.

How do you make a perfect cup of tea? First, put the tea in the cup. Next, add hot water. Then, let the tea steep. Lastly, serve with a pastry.

Other examples

These were the works of famous people that made use of parallelism.


Elizabeth Browning

I love thee freely, as men strive for right.
I love thee purely, as they turn from praise.

How Do I Love Thee?


William Shakespeare

Mad world! Mad kings! Mad composition!

 –  King John


Martin Luther, Jr.

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.”

I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia, the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.

I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.

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!

I have a dream that one daydown in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of “interposition” and “nullification” — one day right there in Alabama little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.

I have a dream today!

I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, and every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight; “and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed and all flesh shall see it together.”

–  I Have a Dream


There are many other ways to make use of parallelism. But once you have mastered the concept, you’re on your way to good writing, and who knows, to be a good writer, too!

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