Difference Between Anaphora and Parallelism

Anaphora vs Parallelism

Repetition is a style of writing used by writers, to achieve many things. A writer repeats an idea mainly because he feels it is important. This repetition draws the attention of the reader. There are many ways of repeating an idea and repetition can take place within a sentence, within a paragraph, or within different chapters of a book. There are many different figures of repetition but two that confuse many are anaphora and parallelism. This article takes a closer look at the two repetition devices to find out if they are the same or is there any difference between the two.


Anaphora is the practice of repeating a word at the beginning of every successive clause or sentence. The word comes from ancient Greek and refers to the act of carrying back. It is a great way to remind readers about a central idea or when making a list of important points. Take a look at the following excerpt from a speech given by Winston Churchill, to understand the meaning of anaphora.

‘We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills, we shall never surrender.’


This is a practice of using parallel words or phrases in a sentence that allow the writer to tell the reader that the ideas expressed in the sentence are equal in importance. This practice adds balance and rhythm to the sentence with the idea becoming very clear in the mind of the reader. Parallelism allows the writer to emphasize a point beautifully while at the same time lending rhythm and balance along with clarity to the sentence. Take a look at the following example.

I enjoy reading books, listening to music, and watching TV shows.

This device is easy to use, safe, and convenient.

The box is on the table or in the closet.

What is the difference between Anaphora and Parallelism?

• In anaphora, repetition of same words is seen whereas, in parallelism, exact words are not repeated, but words or phrases identical in meaning, or similar in structure or sound are used.

• Writer repeats a word or phrase in the beginning of every clause in a sentence in anaphora to make it clear to the reader.

• Parallelism lends balance as well as rhythm to the sentence while allowing the writer to express the centrality of the idea.

• Both anaphora and parallelism are used as figures of repetition by writers for creative writing.