Have you read (or watched) science fiction to learn grammatical structures? If not, reconsider!
Parallel structures, especially when paired with repetition, can be nearly as awe inspiring as parallel universes. When we create balance in our writing–balancing similar words together; balancing similar phrases together; balancing similar clauses together–and repeating words for emphasis, we create sound through written language as beautiful as the sounds emanating from musical instruments in the hands of masterful musicians. Come with me to the twilight zone for a wonderful example (I love this exercise from the CD accompaniment to Image Gramar by Harry R. Noden):
An experiment in sound can be created using any of the many introductions from Rod Serling’s Twilight Zone series. To begin, read the excerpt below and try to identify examples of repetition and parallel structures in Serling’s introduction.
There is a fifth dimension beyond that which is known to man. It is a dimension as vast as space and as timeless as infinity. It is the middle ground between light and shadow, between science and superstition, and it lies between the pit of man’s fears, and the summit of his knowledge. This is the dimension of imagination. It is an area which we call … THE TWILIGHT ZONE. (Zicree 1989, 31)
Now it’s your turn. Please fill in the following template of Rod Serling’s classic introduction:
The _________________________ Zone
There is a fifth dimension beyond that which is known to man. It is a dimension as
___________________ as ______________ and as ____________________ as
__________________. It is the __________________ ____________________
between _______________________ and ________________________, between
________________________ and ___________________, and it lies between the
__________________________ of ______________________________, and the
___________________________ of his/her _____________________________.
This is the dimension of _______________________. It is an area which we call …
THE _____________________________________________ ZONE.
Tomorrow I will compare Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address with my updated version to argue beauty vs clarity of language.