GED Language Arts (RLA) : Parallelism

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for GED Language Arts (RLA)

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Example Questions

Example Question #1 : Parallelism

From Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare, III.ii.13-33 (1599)

[This is a speech by Brutus to a crowd at Caesar’s funeral.]  

 

Romans, countrymen, and lovers! Hear me for my

cause, and be silent, that you may hear. Believe me

for mine honor, and have respect to mine honor, that

you may believe. Censure me in your wisdom, and

awake your senses, that you may the better judge.

If there be any in this assembly, any dear friend of

Caesar's, to him I say that Brutus' love to Caesar

was no less than his. If then that friend demand

why Brutus rose against Caesar, this is my answer:

Not that I loved Caesar less, but that I loved

Rome more. Had you rather Caesar were living and

die all slaves, than that Caesar were dead to live

all free men? As Caesar loved me, I weep for him;

as he was fortunate, I rejoice at it; as he was

valiant, I honor him; but as he was ambitious, I

slew him. There is tears for his love, joy for his

fortune, honor for his valor, and death for his

ambition. Who is here so base that would be a

bondman? If any, speak, for him have I offended.

Who is here so rude that would not be a Roman? If

any, speak, for him have I offended. Who is here so

vile that will not love his country? If any, speak,

for him have I offended. I pause for a reply.

By what grammatical device does Brutus construct the parallelism found in the underlined sentences?

Possible Answers:

By using the imperative mood, following each order with an explanation

By increasingly appealing to emotions through rhetorical devices

By only speaking with forceful language

By addressing the crowd in a frank, honest manner

By using short, punctuated sentences

Correct answer:

By using the imperative mood, following each order with an explanation

Explanation:

The key to this question is to notice the parallel use of verbs and the subordinate clauses that begin with "that." See the emphasized selection below, which uses boldface and underlining to show you these portions clearly:

"Hear me for my cause, and be silentthat you may hear. Believe me for mine honor, and have respect to mine honor, that you may believe. Censure me in your wisdom, and awake your senses, that you may the better judge."

In each of these sentences, Brutus uses two verbs in the imperative mood followed by an explanation of why they are to listen to the commands made by the verbs. This establishes the "rhythm" of the parallelism and makes these three sentences clearly related in structure.

Example Question #2 : Syntax

How should the underlined section be changed to correct the faulty parallelism?

I envision a world in which men and women are treated equally, in which privilege is extended to people regardless of their race, and religion is no longer a divisive issue.

Possible Answers:

religion no longer being a divisive issue.

religion could no longer be a divisive issue.

in which religion would no longer be a divisive issue.

in which religion is no longer a divisive issue.

(no change)

Correct answer:

in which religion is no longer a divisive issue.

Explanation:

Since the first two items in this sentence’s list begin with “in which,” the third must do the same. The verb should remain in the present tense, as the first two items do. (An alternate fix would be to eliminate “in which” from the second item in the list. This would make the first “in which” apply to all three parts of the list equally.)

Example Question #3 : Syntax

How should the underlined section be changed to correct the faulty parallelism?

The candidate is not so much opposed to marriage equality as challenging his rigid, traditionalist beliefs.

Possible Answers:

any challenge to his rigid, traditionalist beliefs.

None of these

he is opposed to his rigid, traditionalist beliefs.

(no change)

he is opposed to any challenge to his rigid, traditionalist beliefs.

Correct answer:

he is opposed to any challenge to his rigid, traditionalist beliefs.

Explanation:

While this sentence may appear correct at first glance, but consider the two things that are being compared: being opposed to marriage equality (a stance) and “any challenge to his rigid, traditionalist beliefs” (an opinion). To change this faulty parallelism, we simply need to add the correct subject and verb to the latter part of the sentence.

Example Question #2 : Parallelism

How should the underlined section be changed to correct the faulty parallelism?

In spring, summer, or in autumn, cicadas can be seen in various life stages along Kayleigh’s favorite river.

Possible Answers:

In spring, summer, or in autumn:

(no change)

In spring, in summer, or in autumn,

In spring, summer; or in autumn,

In spring, in summer, or autumn,

Correct answer:

In spring, in summer, or in autumn,

Explanation:

Here, the simplest solution is the best. Adding an “in” to “summer” makes each item in the list parallel (a noun preceded by a preposition). No change to the punctuation needs to be made in this case.

Example Question #3 : Parallelism

How should the underlined section be changed to correct the faulty parallelism?

My love of Seth’s waterfront cottage is nothing compared to our dogs.

Possible Answers:

(no change)

is nothing compared to that of our dogs’.

is nothing compared to our dogs’.

was nothing, being compared to our dogs.

was nothing (compared to our dogs).

Correct answer:

is nothing compared to our dogs’.

Explanation:

While this sentence sounds correct spoken aloud, it is missing an apostrophe. We don’t mean to compare the speaker’s love of the cottage with dogs; we mean to compare the speaker’s love with the dogs’ love. Thus, adding an apostrophe to “dogs” solves the faulty parallelism. (The choice “that of our dogs’” goes too far in making the dogs doubly possessive and is also clunky.)

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