Parallelism

Style is almost as important as mechanics—this is why you have the option of hiring a stylistic editor as well as a copyeditor to make your book (or journal or article) as smooth and professional as possible.

The role of a stylistic editor is to mimic your style of prose, but to change it slightly to make the language as easy to read and beautiful as possible. One of the ways they might do this is introducing parallelism.

I remember learning about parallelism in a second-year Shakespeare class. My professor, an old-school fan of rhetorical terms and devices, insisted that every sentence in every paper be parallel and consistent. What he meant by that was that we couldn’t write things like “I have always liked to draw and running.” Instead, it should read, “I have always liked to draw and to run.” This kind of parallelism removes ambiguity and confusion from a sentence, leaving the information to be gathered effectively and efficiently with as little frustration as possible. This can be useful when trying to explain complicated concepts or when formulating an argument for an essay or a debate.

While parallelism is important stylistically, a recent research project conducted by Nicole Amare and Alan Manning called “Grammatical and Visual Parallelism in Business Communication Pedagogy” shows that grammatical parallelism does not enhance the accuracy of memory recall. The study focused on the combination of grammatical and visual parallelism to discover its impact on memory recall with interesting results. Amare and Manning conclude that unity is fundamental to human perception—thus, while parallelism helps memory recall when paired with visual formatting, it is indistinguishable in text that is visually unparallel. Grammatical parallelism, according to the study, evokes emotions about the information that has been read. This research has implications for businesses whose main form of networking is via the written word.

To conclude, stylistic editing can be as important as presenting a clean, error-free document; the way information is presented is equally as important as the information itself.

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