A photograph of a football coach talking to his team

Source: Football Coach Todd Dodge, Robert James Hughes, Wikimedia Commons

The purpose of this lesson is to teach you strategies for making grammatical structures in sentences, phrases, and paragraphs parallel. As you try to incorporate parallelism in your writing, train yourself to look for examples of it in what you read and hear. You’ll find it in almost everything from song lyrics to movie scripts.

Read, for example, Coach Gaines’s “Sincere Warfare Speech” delivered to the Permian High School football team in the movie Friday Night Lights. The coach uses parallel words, phrases, and sentences to fire up the team against a formidable opponent, Dallas’s Carter High School. Notice that Coach Gaines repeats the same sentence structure in the beginning of both the first paragraph and the second paragraph, emphasizing exactly what the team will have to do to win division (beat Midland Lee) and to win state (beat Dallas Carter).

Click the link to open the graphic organizer. Practice writing parallel sentences. You can save, download, and print this file. When you are finished using the graphic organizer, return to the lesson. Graphic Organizer Instructions

Parallelism can help you emphasize important information, or it can draw your reader’s attention to a significant point you want to make. In revising an essay, skim for the words “and” and “or” (or other coordinating conjunctions) and then check to make sure that the words, phrases, or clauses on either side of them are parallel. Also read your essay aloud, listening for any interruption of the rhythm of the writing.