Parallelism is the correspondence of grammatical and semantic functions existing in clauses. In addition to improving text comprehension, respecting parallelism makes reading more enjoyable.
- Not only sings, but cakes are his specialty.
- She not only sings, but also bakes a specialty
Only in the second sentence is there the presence of parallelism. This is because there is an equivalence relation of terms.
The core of the first period is the verb sing. The core of the second period is the verb to do. Thus, the sentence has a symmetrical structure, which occurs through the two verbs (sings, does).
In the first sentence, the core of the first period is the verb sing. In the second period, however, the core is the substantive cakes. Hence, there was no correspondence between both periods (sings, cakes).
Remember: For parallelism to be present in the discourse, there must be structural symmetry!
There are two types of parallelism: syntactic and semantic.
Syntactic parallelism, or grammatical parallelism, observes the link between the syntactic or morphological functions of the elements of the clause.
1) What I expect from vacations: travel, beach and visiting different places.
Here there is a break in the structure of the sentence, since the verb to visit is used instead of continuing the morphological sequence with nouns.
The ideal would be: What I expect from the holidays: trips, beach and visits to different places.
2) When I break the news, they will be sad.
In this case, there was an alternation in the verb tenses. In the first period, the verb is in the future of the subjunctive, which forces the verb of the second period to be in the future of the present and not in the future of the past tense.
The correct thing would be: When I break the news, they will be sad.
Another alternative would be: When I break the news, they will be sad.
Semantic parallelism observes the correspondence of values existing in the discourse.
1) The event lasted all day and some foot pain.
The meaning of the prayer was interrupted. Regarding the duration of the party, something like “The event lasted all day and went on into the night” was expected, for example.
2) Worried, he asked how much his girlfriend liked him. She replied that she liked thousands of reais he had in the bank.
Also in this case, there is an absence of parallelism. The girlfriend should say that she liked her boyfriend a lot or a little. It makes no sense to try to establish a relationship between sentimental value and financial amount.
1) not only... but also
No parallelism: not only corrected your mistakes and is the help of her study group.
With parallelism: not only she corrected her mistakes, but also she helped her study group.
2) on the one hand... for another
No parallelism: On the one hand, I agree with her attitude, for another, I think she did what was right.
With parallelism: On the one hand, I agree with her attitude, for another, I get worried about the consequences.
3) the more... more
No parallelism: How much more I see him, perhaps don't marry him.
With parallelism: How much more I see him, more I'm sure I don't want to marry him.
4) so much... how much
No parallelism: So much adults were invited and kids.
With parallelism: So much adults were invited how much kids.
5) well... well, be it... be
No parallelism: Now do the homework, but doesn't do everything.
With parallelism: Now do the homework, now Do not do.
6) no... nor
No parallelism: No I can tell the boss, probably for the mistress.
With parallelism: No I can tell the boss, nor for the mistress.
7) first... second
No parallelism: First because I don't eat meat, second because I'm a vegetarian.
With parallelism: First because I don't eat meat, second because I don't want to go out with you.
parallelism in literature
Parallelism is often used intentionally in literature. This is the case with the example above, in which the lack of parallelism can be a way of bringing some comicity to the text.
In such cases, your absence should not be considered an error.
In literary production, the use of parallelism can be a resource to make the text pleasant. Thus, he provides the musicality of poems, as well as figures of speech.
In literature, parallelism can be called anaphoric parallelism. That's because in the syntax figure anaphora there is a tendency to follow a syntactic and semantic symmetry in its repetitions at the beginning of the verses.
"It was such a high star!
It was such a cold star!
I was a star alone
shining at the end of the day."
(First verse of the poem The star, by Manuel Bandeira)
To learn more about writing, read: Text Production - How to Get Started?