A balanced sentence is a construction in which two segments are not only equal in length but also share the same grammatical structure and convey related meanings. It can take the form of a periodic or cumulative sentence, and readers perceive both segments as equal when reading such a sentence.
Usage in Writing
When using a balanced sentence, writers ensure that the two parts are grammatically parallel and appear similar. If there are multiple parts in a balanced sentence, they are often separated by semicolons or conjunctions like "but," "or," and "and." This parallelism is crucial for creating a balanced sentence, which stands out due to its rhythmic and structural qualities.
Application in Presidential Addresses
In his Second Inaugural Address in 1865, Abraham Lincoln employed balanced syntax to emphasize unity during a divided period in U.S. history. By combining short and long sentences, Lincoln conveyed the idea of a united and balanced nation, representing the North and South. This difference in sentence lengths symbolized the unity of a divided nation.
Use in Advertising
Advertisers also make use of balanced sentences to create memorable slogans that resonate with consumers. For example, Global Jet Airlines' slogan, "Light is faster, but we are safer," plays on the balance between speed and safety, making it memorable to potential travelers. Similarly, KFC's slogan, "Buy a bucket of chicken and have a barrel of fun," balances the purchase of food with the promise of enjoyment.
Examples of Balanced Sentences in Literature
Example #1: E.B. White's "Coon Tree"
"On days when warmth is the most important need of the human heart, the kitchen is the place you can find it; it dries the wet socks, it cools the hot little brain."
In this example, E.B. White's balanced sentence contains parallel clauses with the same length and grammatical structure, creating a rhythmic flow.
Example #2: Truman Capote's "In Cold Blood"
"Like the waters of the river, like the motorists on the highway, and like the yellow trains streaking down the Santa Fe tracks, drama, in the shape of exceptional happenings, had never stopped there."
This balanced sentence by Truman Capote showcases parallel grammatical structures, offering clarity and rhythm to the text.
Example #3: James Boswell's "The Life of Samuel Johnson"
"Every man has a right to utter what he thinks truth, and every other man has a right to knock him down for it."
This clear and simple balanced sentence highlights the equality between expressing one's truth and facing consequences.
Function of Balanced Sentences
Balanced sentences serve to provide rhythmic flow to the text, capturing the reader's attention and setting it apart from other sentences. Writers employ balanced sentences to emphasize specific ideas, enhance clarity, and create pleasing rhythms. This stylistic device shines a spotlight on a series of clauses or a sentence, helping writers make their work stand out. Additionally, public speakers, singers, and advertising agencies utilize balanced sentences for their positive impact on the audience, thanks to their rhythmic qualities.