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The Second Draft

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As a student, I never learned how to use parallel structure, or “parallelism,” as a writing technique. I didn’t even know the official term until I started teaching legal writing. But even if I couldn’t name it, I always knew I liked it. As a high-school history student, I felt its force in speeches like Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, William Jennings Bryan’s Cross of Gold, and Martin Luther King Jr.’s I Have a Dream. Parallelism always felt to me like the place where poetry meets prose—where even the most mundane writing can start to sing.


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This article was first printed in The Second Draft and is reprinted with its permission.



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