figures of parallelism
figures of speech
groupings index

Parallelism is a basic organization mode for discourse, and as such can take place on a large scale (affecting the arrangement of an entire unit of discourse) or a small one. As a figure, parallelism is also blended readily with other strategies, to produce a variety of effects. All of the following figures employ parallelism in one fashion or another:


  • homoioptoton
    The repetition of similar case endings in adjacent words or in words in parallel position
  • zeugma
    One part of speech governs two or more other parts of a sentence (often in parallel series).
  • diazeugma
    The figure by which a single subject governs several verbs or verbal constructions (usually arranged in parallel fashion and expressing a similar idea).
  • syllepsis
    When a single word that governs or modifies two or more others must be understood differently with respect to each of those words. A combination of grammatical parallelism and semantic incongruity.
  • isocolon
    A series of similarly structured elements having the same length.
  • homoioteleuton
    Similarity of endings of adjacent or parallel words.
  • climax
    Generally, the arrangement of words, phrases, or clauses in an order of increasing importance, often in parallel structure.
  • syncrisis
    Comparison and contrast in parallel clauses.
  • tricolon
    Three parallel elements of the same length occurring together in a series.

See Also

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Gideon O. Burton, Brigham Young University
Please cite "Silva Rhetoricae" (

Trees | SILVA RHETORICAE | Flowers