A habit of "good writers": keeping ideas of equal importance in similar grammatical form. A writer may place nouns side by side ("Trees and streams are my weekend tonic") or in a series ("Give me wind, sea, and stars"). Phrases, too, may be arranged in parallel structure ("Out of my bed, into my shoes, up to my classroom--that's my life); or clauses ("Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country").

Parallelism may be found not only in single sentences, but in larger units as well. A paragraph might read: "Rhythm is everywhere. It throbs in the rain forests of Brazil. It vibrates ballroom floors in Vienna. It snaps its fingers on street corners in Chicago." In a whole essay, parallelism may be the principle used to arrange ideas in a balanced or harmonious structure. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s famous speech begins with the words "I have a dream" and goes on to describe an imagined future. Not only does such a parallel structure organize ideas, but it also lends them force.

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