In a literary analysis I am preparing, I toyed with the following sentence: "Sections [A] and [C] are symmetrically parallel." Am I unnecessarily redundant? Or is there a logical gap between the two concepts?
closed as off-topic by Edwin Ashworth, NVZ, GoldenGremlin, Phil Sweet, P. O. Aug 19 '16 at 14:36
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Unless you explain how the two sections are both symmetrical AND parallel, I wouldn't use that phrase. It's hard to imagine how the two sections would be both... Symmetry would look like: Section A: ABC, Section B: CBA. Also called a chiasmic structure. Parallelism is simply a very close similarity in structure: Section A: ABC, Section B: ABC.
I'm sure one could come up with specific technical mathematical instances where symmetric and parallel have non-trivial overlap. But in metaphorical usage for literary analysis they are near synonyms, with symmetry being a little more general than parallelism.
Just use one or the other depending on the context and implication: symmetric if the two passages/stories have additional similar properties, parallel if the linear expression unfolds in the same manner, replacing like with like.