Parallelism or parallel structure is one of the secrets of great writing. It gives greater balance and power to the way you communicate. It will help you get higher grades, improve your job prospects, and look more professional. In this lesson, I explain all about parallelism — what it is and how to use it correctly. This easy but important lesson will take your English to a higher level. Follow up by watching my lesson on the Magic of 3 to strengthen your English even more:
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Hi. I’m Rebecca from engVid. This lesson is for you if you want to learn how to communicate more powerfully in just a short time. This lesson is about something called: “Parallelism” or “Parallel Structure”. Now, in case you’ve never heard of it, or if you’ve heard of it but you’re not sure what it is, I just want to tell you that it’s something really important, especially in academic circles or in the business world. All right? And also socially. So, whether you’re speaking, or whether you’re writing, this principle of parallelism will help you to communicate more effectively.
So, first of all, what is parallelism? So, it’s a speaking or writing technique in which you communicate more powerfully by balancing different parts of your sentence, and I’m going to show you lots of examples so you understand exactly. So, when we create a sentence that has parallel structure, it means that when we have a list of items in our sentence, all of the forms of speech should be the same. For example, you have verbs, verbs, verbs; nouns and nouns; adjectives and adjectives; adverbs and adverbs. Now, that seems obvious, but in real life when people speak and write, they don’t always do that. So I’m going to show you: “What are the benefits of using parallelism?” and also exactly how to use them in a sentence.
So, some of the benefits that you will get when you start creating sentences with parallel structure are that your sentences will have more weight, they’ll be more balanced, they’ll have more rhythm to them, they’ll have more style, more clarity (they’ll be more clear), and also you’ll be able to emphasize things more. And as a result of all that, your speaking or your writing will be much more dramatic and much more powerful. And you may not realize why, but it’s really important that this parallel structure exists. Now, in addition, it’s not just something to make it better, it’s not just something to improve your communication. In academic circles, if you don’t follow these parallel structure rules, it’s actually considered a mistake in writing; it’s considered very weak writing, bad writing, poor writing, and you will get lower grades as a result of that. Okay? So it’s really important, especially if you’re in the academic world or writing anything serious or in the business world, to write this way.
Let’s look at some simple examples first. Okay? So, this sentence, the first one: “Janet sings and dances.” So here, what do we see? We see verbs and verbs: “Janet sings and dances.” If somebody didn’t write this sentence properly, they might write: “Janet sings and is dancing.” Now, here it didn’t match because this was present simple, so this should be a verb in the present simple; they should both be verbs, they should both be in the same tense, and so on. Okay?
Let’s look at more examples. “We enjoy reading and cooking.” Here we have two gerunds: “reading”, “cooking”. Next: “I like to watch movies and to travel abroad.” Okay? Now, you see how that seems really balanced? Okay? So we have: “to watch movies”, so we have an infinitive and a noun, and “to travel abroad”. “To travel”, infinitive and a… Well, it’s not a noun, but it’s like a noun, it functions like a noun.
Next: “The reasons for my view are political, cultural, and social.” So here we have three adjectives. Now, up til now we had two, now we have three. And if you’ve watched my earlier lesson on: “The Power of Three” or “The Magic of Three”, you will know that this is really special. This is like parallelism on steroids. This is like the best kind of writing you can do, and a lot of very famous leaders and writers write this way, using parallelism in threes to make things much more effective. So, if you haven’t watched that other lesson, I will tell you where you can get it; it’s called: “The Magic of Three” on our website. So: “The reasons for my view are political, cultural, and social.” Three adjectives.