Creating Parallel Structure in Sentences
One great way to add style and clarity to your writing is to use parallel structure when conveying similar ideas. Parallel structure emphasizes the relationship between ideas by using words, phrases, or clauses of the same type.
Consider the strength of Winston Churchill’s statement “I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears, and sweat.” That list of one-syllable nouns carries quite an impact.
Parallel phrases can have a similar impact, as do the prepositional phrases in Lincoln's famous line from the Gettysburg Address, “government…of the people, by the people, and for the people.…”
The clauses in Benjamin Franklin’s clever statement “We must indeed all hang together or we will most assuredly all hang separately” form another excellent example of parallelism.
Parallel structure can also emphasize a contrast, as in the statement I’d rather be a roaring kitten than a cowering lion. In this case, the parallel phrasing emphasizes the two creatures’ differences.
Correlative conjunctions are often used to create parallelism, with each portion of the statement written in the same form:
The board of directors not only sanctioned the manager’s expenditure but also
applauded her foresight.
Here, both phrases begin with a past-tense verb and end with a direct object.
So remember, use parallelism to connect related ideas and create a pleasant rhythm, making your writing both clear and enjoyable.
You can learn more about parallel structure on page 95 of Business and Sales Correspondence, part of the EZ Series of business writing materials from UpWrite Press.