Parallelism Part 2

August is my designated month for looking at the sentence structure called parallelism.  This is a continuation of Part 1.  

“If two or more ideas are parallel, they are easier to grasp when expressed in parallel grammatical form.  Single words should be balanced with single words, phrases with phrases, clauses with clauses.” (quoted from A Writer’s Reference by Diana Hacker).  Parallelism creates rhythm in a sentence.  Here’s more examples:                                                                                                                                            “In matters of principle, stand like a rock; in matters of taste, swim with the current.” ~ Thomas Jefferson

From The Magician’s Elephant by Kate Dicamillo

  1. “He squared his shoulders, adjusted his hat, and began the long walk back to the Apartment Polanaise.”    (verb(past tense)/direct object)
  2. She lives, she lives, she lives.”  (noun/verb repeat)
  3. “The elephant remained absolutely, emphatically, undeniably there, her very presence serving as some indisputable evidence of his powers.”       (adverbs)

From Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen.  These examples are not so obvious.

  1. She pulls Dolly’s wheelchair a few feet back and [she] shuffles up beside me, clasping her hands, her milky eyes flashing.” (present tense pronoun/verb) and (present participle -ing verb/direct object, with variation)
  2. “The concession stand in the center of the tent had been flattened, and in its place was a roiling mass of spots and stripes–of haunches, heels, tails, and claws, all of it roaring, screeching, bellowing, or whinnying.”                                                                        (preposition phrase listing nouns used as adjectives) and (list of present participle -ing words used as adjectives )for noun mass…it.

As I said in Part 1, I am not an English major.  I’m trying to figures out these sentences as I write them.  If I’ve gotten them wrong, please leave a comment.  I’m sharing as I’m learning. Thanks. 



About Wings of Wonder

Linda Ruddy is a creative and she works in a variety of materials including pencils, paints, paper, porcelain and fabric. Her current projects involve hand-sewn bookbinding, children's book illustrating, and writing. In 2010, two of her paintings were published in the Saddleback College literary magazine, The Wall. In the past, she has received recognition for painting and doll making. Linda lives in California with her husband and family pet. Her new blog can be found Please visit often to see how the site develops. Following the muse, Linda Ruddy
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5 Responses to Parallelism Part 2

  1. robin says:

    I have been away and enjoyed just now catching up with your August blogs. I love the whimsical girl sketches; they are magical. And your lessons on parallelism are very helpful. The examples from Conrad, et al, are so rich. I also enjoyed reading the comments and your responses, Linda. Years ago I read A Member of the Wedding by Carson McCullers and that book left a strong impression on me. The mention of it makes me want to read it again. I am re-reading To Kill a Mockingbird after almost forty years. The story, the characters, the prose, everything about it is awe-inspiring.

  2. Marilyn says:

    I love these writing analysis posts! Great stuff! M

  3. Pingback: New Year: Foundation 3 | wings of wonder

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