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What Is a Parallel Structure? Describe In Detail With The Help Of Suitable Examples

Referencing Styles : APA | Pages : 1

Parallel structure

Parallel structure is a stylistic device and a grammatical construction having two or more clauses, phrases and words with similar grammatical form and length. It is similar to parallelism. In simple word parallel structure means the same pattern of words used to show that two or more ideas have the same level of importance.

In parallel structure, sentences have a series of phrases or clauses, which start and end almost similarly by keeping the rhythm of the lines. These structures are repetitions which offers an enjoyable time for the reader to understand ideas and absorbs the facts and concepts.

The rules of parallel structure are:

Rule 1: The parallel structure must be joined with conjunctions. The Conjunctions is a word that joins words, phrases, clauses or sentence, e.g. but, and, yet, so, or, because, nor, although, since, unless, while, where and others.

Explanation with words:

Verb: singing, reading, to hike

Adverbs: Gracefully, clearly, really loud

The above words are not parallel because they have different grammatical structures like “to hike” in verb and “really loud” in adverb. In order to make it parallel they must have same grammatical structure as shown below:

Verb: singing, reading, hiking

Adverbs: Gracefully, clearly, loudly

Example showing how the words can be used in a sentence by adding a conjunction in each sentence as follows:

Example 1: Katy really likes singing, reading or hiking               

Example 2: She sings gracefully, clearly and loudly

Rule 2: A parallel structure that begins with clauses must keep the same clauses. A clauses is a group of  words containing a subject and a verb. 

Use of clause in a sentence as shown below:

When my friends came over my house, I told her that she may play volleyball with my brother and I, that she may make dinner with us and that she may sleep at my house.     

Here “that she may” is the clause.

Rule 3: While listing items use parallel structures. When listing actions, they must be in the same tense in order to be parallel.

Examples of Parallel structures

Example 1: Good Faith (by Jane Smiley)

“I had been short, and now I was tall. I had been skinny and quiet and religious, and now I was good-looking and muscular. It was Sally Baldwin who brought me along, told me what to wear and do and think and say. She was never wrong; she never lost her patience. She created me, and when she was done we broke up in a formal sense, but she kept calling me.”

Here how perfectly the author has repeated and emphasized the first two lines in the above paragraph. The author has combined several elements, but given them a balance by parallel clauses.

Example 5: Still Life with Woodpecker (by Tom Robbins)

“Humanity has advanced, when it has advanced, not because it has been sober, responsible, and cautious, but because it has been playful, rebellious, and immature.”

This is another excellent example of parallel structure. These structures give rhythm to sentences and leaving them grammatically balanced.

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