80+ Parallelism Examples [5 Types]

Parallelism in sentences means putting two or more similarly-placed (or equal) elements in the same grammatical form. These elements can be words, phrases, or entire clauses.

This post contains several examples of sentences with parallel structure, many of which have been taken from different publications and popular sayings (because of their rhythm, parallel structures commonly find place in popular sayings and speeches) to give you a flavor of real-world writing.

Although these examples have already been categorized and sub-categorized for you, to get the most out of these examples, look at the parallel elements in each sentence and confirm that they indeed are of the same grammatical form. Here are the examples.

(Note that parallel elements have been underlined in most examples and that comments throughout the post are in square brackets.)

More resources on parallelism:

1A. Two elements joined by coordinating conjunctions

1B. More than two elements in a list joined by and/ or [10 types]

1.1 Noun phrases in parallel

1. The tycoon has two yellow Lamborghinis, one blue Rolls Royce, and a dozen assorted BMWs and Mercs.

2. Central trade unions were advised to call off their one-day nationwide strike as it was believed to have affected the functioning of various essential services like banking, power supply, oil and gas, transport, warehousing, and other vital public services. Source

3. Fearsome tiger frightening the jungle and crafty fox hoodwinking the animals is a narrow picturisation of life in forest. [Comment: Noun phrase with similarly-placed modifiers]

4. Ever wonder what celebrities would look like without all the grooming, priming, styling, and money? Source [All four are nouns, with the first three being gerunds. All four gerunds would’ve been ideal, but this too works.]

5. Combo schemes, free home delivery, huge discounts, and full refunds if the product is returned are terms that online buyers would associate with clothes, gizmos, and other merchandise. Source [In the first set of parallel construction, the fourth item has a modifier, if the product is returned, attached. As long as head words are noun (schemes, home delivery, discounts, and refunds), this is fine.]

1.2 Verb phrases in parallel

In parallelism with verbs particularly, make sure that all the elements are not only verbs but also same tense of the verb.

6. David likes to jog, listen to music, watch movies, and read.

7. A grocer’s daughter with a steely resolve, she was loved and loathed in equal measure as she crushed the unions, privatized vast swathes of British industry, clashed with the European Union and fought a war to recover the Falkland Islands from Argentine invaders. Source

8. We need to track the terrorists, dismantle their networks, cut off their financing, and stop propaganda and radicalization. Source [The four are in ‘verb + object’ form. Even if one or more of verbs don’t come with an object, like in the next example, it’s fine. Such small imperfections are acceptable.]

9. During a particularly heated moment later in the assembly, Vijayakanth stood up, opened his mouth, stuck his tongue out, raised his right arm, and shook his forefinger angrily at the treasury benches. Source [The first verb doesn’t have an object, and that’s fine.]

1.3 Adjective phrases in parallel

10. Agile, careful, and hardy, mountain goats thrive at an altitude of more than 4,000 meter.

11. Usain Bolt was quick off the blocks, fast in the middle, and exceptional at the finish.

1.4 Adverb phrases in parallel

12. Quickly and nervously, I approached the notice board to see my result.

13. We are confidently, consistently, and ceaselessly working to integrate our economy with the world. Source

1.5 Gerund phrases in parallel

14. She liked sneaking up to Ted and putting the ice cream down his back, because he was so cool about it.

15. Taking electricity to all the villages by the end of 2017, reining in migration from the hills through employment generation, and putting an end to illegal mining and prevalent cheating of people in registry of land purchased by them are among the priorities of the state government. Source

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1.6 Infinitive phrases in parallel

16. He liked to eat mangoes and to avoid oranges. [Using to once before eat is also fine.]

17. To think accurately and to write precisely are interrelated goals.

18. The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing. Walt Disney

1.7 Participial phrases in parallel

19. Located at the end of the street, protected by a sturdy fence, the house has had no occupants in nearly two years. [Past participial phrases]

20. Clinging on to the wreckage, surviving frigid water and sharks, the passengers of the doomed ship prayed for the rescue team to reach at the earliest. [Present participial phrases]

1.8 Prepositional phrases in parallel

21. He found it difficult to vote for an ideal truth but against his own self-interest.

22. The two tennis players walked down the road to the court and through the entrance to play the much-awaited match.

23. At our resort, you can relax in the lounge, in the pool, in the sauna, or by the pool.

24. Our team has won in Australia, New Zealand, England, and West Indies.

25. A central goal during these preschool years is to enhance children’s exposure to and concepts about print.

26. Teaching grammar can involve investigation, problem-solving, and language play as part of developing children’s awareness of and interest in how language works. Source

27. Reframing problems takes effort, attention, and practice, and allows you to see the world around you in a brand-new light. You can practice reframing by physically or mentally changing your point of view, by seeing the world from other’s perspectives, and by asking questions that begin with ‘why’. Together, these approaches enhance your ability to generate imaginative responses to the problems that come your way. Source [The first parallel structure contains nouns in a list, the second prepositional phrases in a list.]

1.9 Absolute phrases in parallel

28. Eighty thousand people inside the stadium saw it happen, eyes wide open, hands in the air, hearts pounding, and throats screaming in one huge roar. Source

29. Plants swaying in the gentle breeze, flowers blooming in vibrant colors, and bees hovering over flowers was sight to behold.

30. With industrial output slowing, unemployment rate inching towards double digit, SMBs gasping for life, consumer demand freezing, the country needs bold measures to rescue the economy.

31. A house in Beverley Hills his residence, millions his bank balance, Rolls Royce and Bentley his cars, the actor was at his prime.

1.10 Clauses in parallel

32. I came, I saw, I conquered. Julius Caesar

33. Few animals who were not too big, who ate variety of food, and who could adopt to the harsh climatic conditions survived the most catastrophic mass extinction on Earth some 250 million years ago. [Three relative clauses in parallel]

34. The main point in the above three examples is that both the things being compared are clearly mentioned and that each of them satisfies the definition of a metaphor.

35. The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of blessings; the inherent virtue of socialism is the equal sharing of miseries. Winston Churchill [Two independent clauses resembling closely]

36. The government says data is now flowing, but that’s just spin. It’s not granular enough, it’s not quick enough, and it’s not frequent enough. Source [Three independent clauses resembling closely]

37. I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel. Maya Angelou

38. It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way – in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only. [A Tale of Two Cities, Charles Dickens. Do you need to underline anything here?]

39. Although corona virus has been declared a pandemic, it has positively impacted the health of nature as we can see pollution levels are decreasing noticeably, rivers are clearing up, and animals are roaming around freely. [Three independent clauses resembling closely]

40. We’ve won in Australia, we’ve won in New Zealand, we’ve won in England, and we’ve won in West Indies. [Four independent clauses resembling closely]

2. Two elements joined by correlative conjunctions [6 types]

2.1 Both, and

41. Your comments were both factually incorrect and unappreciative of the sensibilities of the audience. [Two adjective phrases. Note that modifiers such as factually go with parallel constructions as long as the overall phrases are of same type.]

42. The city needs both a metro train and the last-mile connectivity through buses, cabs, and autos to ease worsening traffic jams.

2.2 Not, but

43. We have to counter extremism not through weapons but through words.

44. Education is not the learning of facts, but the training of minds to think. Source

2.3 Not only, but also

45. The scientists across the world not only developed several efficacious vaccines but also did so in record time.

46. The scientists developed several efficacious vaccines not only for adults but also for kids.

2.4 Either, or

47. We can either brood over the reasons behind our resounding defeat in today’s match or forget it as a bad dream.

48. People can either continue to exploit planet’s resources the same way or move to more sustainable ways of living.

49. Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all. Helen Keller

2.5 Neither, nor

50. Amy is interested in neither what you say nor what you do.

51. We can neither condone these acts of violence nor accept them, for each option could have severe consequences.

2.6 Rather, than

52. I would rather learn from the book than learn from him.

53. Political parties would rather dilute their values to get short-term benefit than take principled stand and risk eroding their support base. [As long as key phrase in both the elements is a verb – dilute and take – small differences in the phrase don’t matter.]

3. Two elements joined by comparison words

54. I am as much bad in math as in English. [I am as much bad in A as in B.]

55. Studies show that people with kidney transplants live longer than those who remain on dialysis. Source [Studies show that A live longer than B.]

56. You’re less likely to die while traveling in an airplane than riding a horse. [You’re less likely to die while A than B.]

57. Those who do nothing to end the slaughter are as complicit as those who brandish their weapons. Source [A are as complicit as B.]

58. He is as conversant with HTML and Git as with metaphor and the twists and turns of plotting. Source [He is as conversant with A as with B.]

59. It is better to fail in originality than to succeed in imitation. Herman Melville

60. Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So, throw off the bowlines, sail away from safe harbor, catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore, Dream, Discover. Mark Twain [The three sentences have three parallel structures. The first has two prepositional phrases on either side of a comparison word than. The next two sentences have verb phrases and verbs in parallel.]

4. Two elements joined by linking verb

In all the examples below, you can easily identify the two parallel elements as they’re on either side of be verb.

61. Failing the exam is repeating the semester.

62. Time spent in chasing a career in showbiz was time spent chasing a rabbit.

63. Knowledge is power. Sir Francis Bacon

64. The love of money is the root of all evil. Bible

65. The only impossible journey is the one you never begin. Tony Robbins

66. Only a life lived for others is a life worthwhile. Albert Einstein

67. Life is a long lesson in humility. James M. Barrie

5. Parallelism in consecutive sentences

So far, we’ve looked at examples of parallelism in a sentence. But two or more consecutive sentences too can be parallel to each other.

68. In 2018, the company opened offices in Houston in February, Chicago in July, and Singapore in November. In 2019, it opened offices in Mumbai in January and Sydney in September. [Not only are the elements in each sentence parallel, the two sentences are also parallel to each other.]

69. By day John worked at a departmental store. By night he donned a different avatar.

70. Earlier, English was taught through audio-lingual method; now it is taught through communicative method.

71. If you look at what you have in life, you’ll always have more. If you look at what you don’t have in life, you’ll never have enough. Oprah Winfrey

72. Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn. Benjamin Franklin

73. In this life we cannot do great things. We can only do small things with great love. Mother Teresa

Examples of less-than-perfect, but acceptable, parallelism

Parallel constructions need not be picture-perfect, and here are few examples of such constructions.

74. Not iPhone but a similar-specs phone will be fine. [You don’t need name of another phone to make the sentence parallel. As long as second element is also a noun, you’re fine.]

75. The burglar shinnied up the drainpipe, delicately opened the window that had conveniently been left unlocked, stealthily forced his body through, and crashed down loudly on the kitchen floor. [The second and third elements have adverbs too – delicately and stealthily – in the beginning.]

76. We want young people to attempt meaningful and ambitious writing where they search for, work at, deeply consider, and ultimately express something that is important to them and to an audience that matters. [The third and fourth elements are accompanied by adverbs.]

77. India was home to more than 40,000 tigers at the turn of the century, but shrinking of habitat, lack of proper food and shelter, increasing human intervention and encroachment, and excessive poaching pushed the species to the brink of extinction. Source [All four elements are functioning as noun but they come in different forms.]

78. Illegal parking of vehicles on the roadside, mushrooming of unauthorized multi-storied building apartment without basic amenities, unbridled encroachment on every nook and corner, open stinky drains, pot-holes, dusty and narrow roads, parking of unauthorized vehicles, and congestion on every road due to heavy traffic have made living in many cities a nightmare. Source [All elements are functioning as noun, but they come in different forms: gerund phrase and noun phrase, with some of them with modifiers.]

79. RTO enforcement teams are going to act tough against violations like over-speeding, jumping the red light, overloading goods carriage vehicles, and two-wheelers being driven without helmets. Source

[The first three elements are gerund phrases and the fourth is an absolute phrase, but this mix is also commonly used possibly because the absolute phrase starts with a noun. You could improve the above sentence by replacing the fourth element with driving of two-wheelers without helmets, but absolute phrase is commonly accepted in such sentences. Look at the next example, and you’ll understand why.]

80. Footage on local TV networks showed smashed windows, blackened walls, and smoke billowing out of the fortified villa in the Muqatam district in eastern Cairo. Source

[Here, we’ve two ‘past participle + noun’ forms followed by an absolute phrase. Try converting the absolute phrase into the form of first two. It’s hard without convoluting it. Therefore, an absolute phrase works just fine even if it’s not ideal. An ideal replacement could be: Footage on local TV networks showed windows that were smashed, walls that were blackened, and fortified villa that was billowing smoke in the Muqatam district in eastern Cairo.]

81. Water pollution due to dumping of waste into the water, excessive use of chemical fertilizers on soil, and using and burning plastics are some of the major activities harming the nature.

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