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03

19

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QW 031812 “Parallelism”

English composition values parallelism. It gives readers rhythm, tempo and drive to follow the authors’ thoughts. The New York Times articles that David Brooks writes never fail to display the parallelism in its perfect form. The following article published last week is a good example: "The Cagey Phase"

Here’s the quote from the article:
“In Afghanistan, President Obama increased troop levels, to please his generals, while simultaneously announcing a withdrawal date, to please his party. On deficit reduction, Obama has often said he agrees with the Simpson-Bowles approach, while simultaneously distancing himself from the specific proposals. On tax reform, Obama has frequently said he wants to simplify the code while simultaneously proposing loopholes that make it more complex.”

We can find the repeated construction of “On/In + a noun phrase, S+V, while simultaneously ~ing”. Besides the structure, there’s always the parallelism of phrases, such as “to please his generals / to please his party”, “the Simpson-Bowles approach / the specific proposals”, “simplify the code / more complex”. In fact, the subsequent paragraph also contains the beautiful parallelism that you can easily be fascinated with. The article is adorned with sprinkles of parallelism.

In reading the part mentioned earlier, readers can predict what comes next, and find it easier to follow the passage. For me as a second language user-reader of English, this well-organized successive parallelism gives me a good rhythm, tempo, and drive to follow the passage and makes me focus on the pairs of contrastive and contradictory actions that President Obama has taken. My guess is that he could’ve written articles in much more complicated manners for sure, but he has chosen to render his thoughts in a clear, cogent, and concise way in the form of repeated parallelism for the newspaper articles that are distributed to billions of readers and subscribers worldwide with a wide range of illiteracy levels.

(40 minutes / 312 words)

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The New York Times columnist, David Brooks
Brooks_New-articleInline.jpg


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Aya

Author:Aya
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