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Parallelism vs. Repetition: Know the Difference

Shumaila Saeed
By Shumaila Saeed || Updated on December 25, 2023
Parallelism is the use of similar structures in writing for clarity and emphasis. Repetition is the deliberate reuse of words or phrases for effect.
Parallelism vs. Repetition

Key Differences

Parallelism involves using similar grammatical structures or patterns in sentences to create a sense of balance and rhythm, enhancing readability and emphasis. Repetition, on the other hand, involves the deliberate reuse of the same words, phrases, or structures to make an idea more memorable and to emphasize a point.
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Parallelism is often used to draw comparisons, create symmetry, and make complex ideas more understandable, adding aesthetic value to the text. Repetition is employed to reinforce a concept or idea, ensuring it resonates with the reader and often creating a persuasive or emphatic effect.
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The use of parallelism in writing can create a pleasing rhythm and help clarify relationships between ideas, making the text more engaging and coherent. Repetition focuses on engraining a particular word, phrase, or idea into the reader's mind, often evoking emotional responses or emphasizing a key point.
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In rhetoric and poetry, parallelism is common for its rhythmic and harmonious qualities, often found in lists or paired phrases. Repetition is widely used in speeches, poetry, and advertising, tapping into the psychological principle that repetition makes information more likely to be remembered.
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Parallelism can take various forms, including syntactic, morphological, and semantic parallelism, each contributing differently to the structure of the text. Repetition can manifest as anaphora (repeating words at the beginning of sentences), epistrophe (at the end), or other forms like alliteration or assonance, each serving different stylistic and rhetorical purposes.
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Comparison Chart

Function

Creates balance and symmetry in sentences
Emphasizes ideas by repeating words or phrases
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Impact

Enhances clarity and readability
Strengthens memory and emotional response
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Usage

Found in lists, contrasting statements, and parallel structures
Used in rhetorical devices like anaphora and epistrophe
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Purpose

To compare, contrast, and clarify ideas
To reinforce, highlight, and intensify concepts
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Example Forms

Syntactic, morphological, semantic parallelism
Anaphora, epistrophe, alliteration, assonance
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Parallelism and Repetition Definitions

Parallelism

Parallelism is the use of similar grammatical structures in a series or pair of related words, phrases, or clauses.
She likes cooking, jogging, and reading.
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Nov 21, 2023

Repetition

Repetition is often used for persuasive effect or to emphasize a significant theme.
All for one, and one for all.
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Nov 21, 2023

Parallelism

It is a rhetorical device used to add symmetry and effectiveness in writing.
What you see is what you get.
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Nov 21, 2023

Repetition

It's a common rhetorical strategy in speeches and poetry to emphasize a point.
I have a dream speech by Martin Luther King Jr.
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Parallelism

Parallelism enhances coherence and balance in both prose and poetry.
To err is human; to forgive, divine.
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Repetition

It helps in creating rhythm and setting a mood in literary works.
And miles to go before I sleep, and miles to go before I sleep.
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Parallelism

Parallelism can occur at the level of words, phrases, clauses, or sentences.
He came, he saw, he conquered.
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Repetition

Repetition involves using the same word or phrase multiple times to make an idea clearer and more memorable.
Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow.
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Parallelism

The quality or condition of being parallel.
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Oct 19, 2023

Repetition

Repetition can occur in various forms, including anaphora, epistrophe, and alliteration.
No pain, no gain.
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Nov 21, 2023

Parallelism

Correspondence or similarity.
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Oct 19, 2023

Repetition

The act or process or an instance of repeating or being repeated.
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Oct 19, 2023

Parallelism

(Grammar) The use of identical or equivalent syntactic constructions in corresponding clauses or phrases.
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Oct 19, 2023

Repetition

A recitation or recital, especially of prepared or memorized material.
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Oct 19, 2023

Parallelism

(Philosophy) The doctrine that to every mental change there corresponds a concomitant but causally unconnected physical alteration.
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Oct 19, 2023

Repetition

The act or an instance of repeating or being repeated.
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Oct 19, 2023

Parallelism

The state or condition of being parallel; agreement in direction, tendency, or character.
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Oct 19, 2023

Repetition

(weightlifting): The act of performing a single, controlled exercise motion. A group of repetitions is a set.
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Oct 19, 2023

Parallelism

The state of being in agreement or similarity; resemblance, correspondence, analogy.
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Oct 19, 2023

Repetition

To petition again.
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Parallelism

A parallel position; the relation of parallels.
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Repetition

The act of repeating; a doing or saying again; iteration.
I need not be barren of accusations; he hath faults, with surplus to tire in repetition.
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Oct 19, 2023

Parallelism

The juxtaposition of two or more identical or equivalent syntactic constructions, especially those expressing the same sentiment with slight modifications, introduced for rhetorical effect.
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Oct 19, 2023

Repetition

Recital from memory; rehearsal.
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Parallelism

(philosophy) The doctrine that matter and mind do not causally interact but that physiological events in the brain or body nonetheless occur simultaneously with matching events in the mind.
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Repetition

The act of repeating, singing, or playing, the same piece or part a second time; reiteration of a note.
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Parallelism

(legal) In antitrust law, the practice of competitors of raising prices by roughly the same amount at roughly the same time, without engaging in a formal agreement to do so.
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Oct 19, 2023

Repetition

Reiteration, or repeating the same word, or the same sense in different words, for the purpose of making a deeper impression on the audience.
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Oct 19, 2023

Parallelism

(biology) Similarity of features between two species resulting from their having taken similar evolutionary paths following their initial divergence from a common ancestor.
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Oct 19, 2023

Repetition

The measurement of an angle by successive observations with a repeating instrument.
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Oct 19, 2023

Parallelism

(computing) The use of parallel methods in hardware or software, so that several tasks can be performed at the same time.
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Oct 19, 2023

Repetition

An event that repeats;
The events today were a repeat of yesterday's
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Oct 19, 2023

Parallelism

The quality or state of being parallel.
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Repetition

The act of doing or performing again
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Parallelism

Resemblance; correspondence; similarity.
A close parallelism of thought and incident.
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Oct 19, 2023

Repetition

The repeated use of the same word or word pattern as a rhetorical device
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Oct 19, 2023

Parallelism

Similarity of construction or meaning of clauses placed side by side, especially clauses expressing the same sentiment with slight modifications, as is common in Hebrew poetry; e. g.: -At her feet he bowed, he fell:Where he bowed, there he fell down dead. Judg. v. 27.
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Parallelism

Similarity by virtue of correspondence
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Parallelism

It is often used in lists, comparisons, and contrasts.
Easy come, easy go.
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Nov 21, 2023

Repeatedly Asked Queries

Can parallelism and repetition be used together?

Yes, they can be combined for both structural elegance and emphasis.
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Nov 26, 2023

How does repetition differ from parallelism in its effect?

Repetition emphasizes and reinforces ideas, while parallelism enhances structure and clarity.
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What is an example of repetition in a famous speech?

Martin Luther King Jr.’s repeated use of “I have a dream” in his historic speech.
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In what forms can repetition manifest in literature?

As anaphora, epistrophe, alliteration, assonance, and simple word repetition.
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Is parallelism more common in poetry or prose?

Parallelism is common in both but is particularly prominent in poetry for its rhythmic quality.
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How does parallelism affect readability?

It makes text more readable and comprehensible by providing a structured flow.
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How does parallelism enhance the beauty of a text?

By creating a rhythmic and harmonious structure, it adds aesthetic value.
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What is the primary purpose of parallelism?

To create balance and rhythm in writing, making it more effective and enjoyable.
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Does parallelism necessarily involve repetition of words?

Not necessarily; it often involves similar structures rather than exact words.
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What is a key benefit of using repetition in speeches?

It makes key points more memorable and persuasive to the audience.
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Are there specific genres where parallelism is more prevalent?

It’s widely used in rhetorical writing, poetry, and religious texts.
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Nov 26, 2023

Is repetition always effective in writing?

When used judiciously, it’s effective; overuse can make writing tedious.
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Nov 26, 2023

Can parallelism help in comparing and contrasting ideas?

Yes, it’s effective in highlighting similarities and differences.
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Nov 26, 2023

Is parallelism more about form or content?

It’s primarily about form, though it can enhance content understanding.
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Nov 26, 2023

Does parallelism require identical structures?

Not identical, but similar structures are necessary for effective parallelism.
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Nov 26, 2023

Can parallelism be found in everyday language?

Yes, common expressions and idioms often exhibit parallelism.
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Nov 26, 2023

What impact does repetition have on the mood of a poem?

It can set or reinforce the mood, whether somber, joyful, or urgent.
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Nov 26, 2023

How can repetition be used in persuasive writing?

By reinforcing key points and making arguments more impactful.
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Nov 26, 2023

Can repetition be seen in non-verbal communication?

Yes, through repeated gestures or visual symbols.
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Nov 26, 2023

What is the difference between anaphora and parallelism?

Anaphora is a type of repetition, while parallelism is about balanced structures.
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Nov 26, 2023

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Shumaila Saeed
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Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed, an expert content creator with 6 years of experience, specializes in distilling complex topics into easily digestible comparisons, shining a light on the nuances that both inform and educate readers with clarity and accuracy.

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