1. tonten
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    tonten Senior Member

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    Parralism?

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by tonten, Sep 15, 2009.

    Parallelism?

    Ever since I learned the concept of parralism after highschool, it has dogged me a bit in writing. Here is an example of what I mean:

    Example 1:

    Not even the lieutenant could react fast enough to counter his attack or run away.

    Example 2:

    Not even the lieutenant could react fast enough to counter his attack or to run away.


    Example 1 is something I remember learning in elementry school. Get rid of excess, repeated words. Simply saying "to counter his attack or run away" is good enough.
    Example 2 is something I would apply with the new rules I've learned. Perhaps it is used more for essay writing?


    Both look gramatically correct to me.

    Which one sounds better or is right?
     
  2. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    I assume you mean parallelism.

    Both versions are file, although I prefer the first version in this case. Parallel structure still exists, keeping the sentence well formed and clear.
     
  3. tonten
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    tonten Senior Member

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    oh bad me! thought I ran that word through spell check. It's one of the only words I never bothered to learn to spell correctly.



    I tend to write my sentences either way in a book. Basically whatever comes out of head is written. My second question, should I be revising the entire book so that all sentences adapt to that one form?

    It would then apply parallelism on a larger scale for the whole book. I know, it's very technical writing. I can see it done in an essay or encyclopedia, but what about fiction?

    As writers, do we write whatever that just sounds right or is there a guideline of parallelism we must follow? Is this what we could consider our voice and our style of writing?

    What is wrong? What is right? (Although there is probably no right answer to those two questions)
     
  4. witch wyzwurd
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    witch wyzwurd Contributing Member

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    I never learned both ways are ok. Each one serves a specific purpose. In your sentence...

    Not even the lieutenant could react fast enough to counter his attack or run away.

    ...the second "to" would be omitted since it doesn't enhance the sentence.

    But you would use a second "to" if you had a sentence like the following:

    Not even the lieutenant reacted to quickly counter his attack or to run away.

    The second "to" defines that the lieutenant's not necessarily running away quickly.
     
  5. arron89
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    arron89 Banned

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    Parallelism is more of a stylistic choice than a technical necessity. By repeating the same structure (like the repetition of infinitive verbs in your example) you create an emphasis on those phrases/sentences. It doesn't mean you have to make the entire work conform with that one parallel structure. The parallel might run for one sentence orthe whole novel, it doesn't make a difference. Generally it won't (in fction atleast) run for very long, simply because of the fact that it is intended to create emphasis or reinforce particular ideas and structures or sound devices, and continuing it for too long will negate that (or invert the effect so that structures that do not conform with the parallelism become emphasised).
     
  6. marina
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    marina Contributing Member Contributor

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    I agree with how you've used "to" twice in your last sentence, but this is different from the OP's sentence in that you've added "quickly", so now you have a choice to keep both phrases parallel or differentiate them. If you choose the latter, you would add "to" to the second phrase.

    Exactly. I like to use a second "to" for emphasis only. Otherwise, I like to keep out the excess.
     
  7. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Or if you don't split the infinitive, you don't need the second to:
     
  8. witch wyzwurd
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    witch wyzwurd Contributing Member

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    I understood my second example was different, but I was trying to explain when the second "to" would be used. I have no clue as to why anyone would think emphasis is added by placing a unneeded repeated word in a sentence. Someone please explain.

    If I say: Johnny went running and Johnny went biking. Is that emphatic?
     
  9. tonten
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    tonten Senior Member

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    I guess the use of parrallelism is to give emphasis on a particular idea, thought, sentence etc or a type of writing style by using repetition?

    Wiki has better examples of usage.

    I remember being taught something like apples, oranges, and bananas would be parrallelism. Something like Apples, Oranges, and Ocean would not.
     
  10. marina
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    marina Contributing Member Contributor

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    No, more like, "I like eating apples, oranges, and going to the store" would not be parallelism.
     
  11. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    An example of where a lack of parallelism is:
    Separately, it would be fine to say:
    But what a sentence contains a compound syntactic component, it this case objective phrases combined with the conjunction and, parallelism demands they both take the same form -- either both as infinitives, or both as participles.
     
  12. marina
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    marina Contributing Member Contributor

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    While showering, I realized my example wasn't very good :D.

    Here's an example per Google of an improper parallel structure:

    "Phuong Tran has wit, charm, and she has an extremely pleasant personality."

    Proper parallelism would be:

    "Phuong Tran has wit, charm, and a pleasant personality."
     
  13. tonten
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    tonten Senior Member

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    Wouldn't, "Phuong Tran has wit, charm, and an extremely pleasant personality" work too?

    I read something like you can also apply parallelism to the "idea" of a sentence and not just the structure. Thus something out of context and random like "Orange, Apples, and Ocean" would be not parallel, but is still correct/useable, depending on the context of what you are using it for.
     
  14. marina
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    marina Contributing Member Contributor

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    Yeah, I think it would work also.
     
  15. arron89
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    arron89 Banned

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    I actually don't think you can apply parallelism to the ideas expressed in a sentence--its a purely structural feature of writing.

    I think the most famous, and possibly the best, example, is the famous quote We came. We saw. We conquered. Repeating that structure creates this rhythmic effect which serves to reinforce what the words themselves are saying by creating a memorable structure. Each sentence echoes the last on in its snytactical construction and therefore emphasises itself and each matching structure before it.
    I really don't think you can count a list as parallel structure. So in the Phuong Tran example, a solid parallel structure would be something like:
    "Phuong Tran has wit. Phuong Tran has charm. Phuong Tran has a pleasant personality."
     
  16. tonten
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    tonten Senior Member

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    The list example marina listed would be considered a type of parallel structure. Basically it's as wiki says, "two or more parts of the sentences form so as to give the whole a definite pattern".

    Your example is also Parallelism, but more specifically, repetition Parallelism.

    If I am to classify, the other types of Parallelism would be

    Gramatical Parallelism
    Idea Parallelism

    I guess if you want to go even deeper, the sound of words can be also parallelism too, most often used more in poetry:

    Iambic pentameter, rhyme, etc
     

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