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Monday, December 26, 2011

Parallelism December 26, Figures of Speech

Let's see... Life, Liberty, and Free Parking... No, no.  Life,
liberty, and kittens!... No, that's no good.  Life, liberty, and
call now and we'll double your order!... And free shipping...
Dang it!  And this handy carrying case! Basketball...
Life, liberty, and a money-back guarantee...
Parallelism is a series of phrases or clauses with similar grammatical structures.  Usually we think of parallel phrases coming in threes, like Mamma Bear, Pappa Bear, and Little Bitty Baby Bear.  "I came, I saw, I conquered," Caesar said, crossing the Rubicon and demonstrating a handiness with rhetoric.  Parallelism is especially effective when combined with auxesis or climax, when the three terms are arranged in ascending order of importance: "Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness," for example.  You have to be alive to have liberty, and you need liberty to pursue happiness.  Locke's original formulation of "life, liberty, and property," flatlines by comparison.

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