GMAT Verbal : Correcting Correlative Conjunction Errors

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for GMAT Verbal

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Example Questions

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Example Question #1 : Correcting Correlative Conjunction Errors

Replace the underlined portion with the answer choice that results in a sentence that is clear, precise, and meets the requirements of standard written English.

The analysis both fascinated Amy and it showed her that there was another side to the story.

Possible Answers:

The analysis both fascinated Amy, and showed her that there was another

The analysis both fascinated Amy and showed her that there was another

The analysis both fascinated Amy; and it showed her that there was another

The analysis both fascinated Amy, and it showed her that there was another

The analysis both fascinated Amy and it showed her that there was another

Correct answer:

The analysis both fascinated Amy and showed her that there was another

Explanation:

Correlative conjunctions must conserve the parallel structure of the items in the sentence. In this case, we need "fascinated" and "showed" to be conjugated in the same way. The latter cannot be treated as an independent clause (i.e., "it showed") when we use words like "both" because it would not make sense as a stand-alone sentence (i.e., "The analysis both fascinated Amy").

Example Question #2 : Correcting Correlative Conjunction Errors

Replace the underlined portion with the answer choice that results in a sentence that is clear, precise, and meets the requirements of standard written English.

Neither the economic theory of Adam Smith nor Karl Marx are adequate to describe the complexities of the modern economy.

Possible Answers:

Neither the economic theory of Adam Smith or Karl Marx is adequate to describe the complexities of the modern economy.

Neither the economic theory of Adam Smith nor Karl Marx is adequate to describe the complexities of the modern economy.

Neither the economic theory of Adam Smith nor that of Karl Marx is adequate to describe the complexities of the modern economy.

Neither the economic theory of Adam Smith or that of Karl Marx is adequate to describe the complexities of the modern economy.

Neither the economic theory of Adam Smith nor that of Karl Marx are adequate to describe the complexities of the modern economy.

Correct answer:

Neither the economic theory of Adam Smith nor that of Karl Marx is adequate to describe the complexities of the modern economy.

Explanation:

When using "neither . . . nor" with singular nouns, the verb of the sentence must be conjugated to agree with a singular noun. Also, you must make sure that you are making "apples to apples" comparisons. Some of the answer choices compare the theory of Adam Smith to Karl Marx (the person), not to Karl Marx's theory, which would be the correct way to make the comparison.

Example Question #3 : Correcting Correlative Conjunction Errors

Replace the underlined portion with the answer choice that results in a sentence that is clear, precise, and meets the requirements of standard written English.

The remarkable thing about the new service was that it not only shortened wait times but also provides better service for customers.

Possible Answers:

not only shortened wait times but also provides better service for customers.

not only shortens wait times but also provides better service for customers.

not only shortened wait times for customers but also provides better service.

not only for customers shortened wait times but also provides better service.

not only shortened wait times but it also provides better service for customers.

Correct answer:

not only shortens wait times but also provides better service for customers.

Explanation:

The correlative conjunction phrase that is underlined in the sentence does not feature parallel verb forms, using the past tense "shortened" and the present tense "provides." Any correlative conjunction phrase needs to feature a parallel structure with each verb being in the same tense. The only answer choice which has the correct parallel structure is "not only shortens wait times but also provides better service for customers."

Example Question #4 : Correcting Correlative Conjunction Errors

Neither the ringing alarm clock or the crowing rooster were enough to rouse Old MacDonald from his slumber. 

Which option best replaces the underlined portion of the sentence?

Possible Answers:

Neither the ringing alarm clock nor the crowing rooster 

Either the ringing alarm clock nor the crowing rooster 

Either the ringing alarm clock or the crowing rooster

Neither the ringing alarm clock and the crowing rooster

Neither the ringing alarm clock or the crowing rooster

Correct answer:

Neither the ringing alarm clock nor the crowing rooster 

Explanation:

Neither always goes with nor, and either always goes with or. Neither neither nor either go with "and."

Example Question #1 : Correcting Correlative Conjunction Errors

Replace the underlined portion with the answer choice that results in a sentence that is clear, precise, and meets the requirements of standard written English.

Just as "he who sings, prays twice" cannot be properly attributed to Augustine, even if similar statements can be found in his sermons, so too is there no evidence that his mentor Ambrose is responsible for the saying "when in Rome, do as the Romans do."

Possible Answers:

While "he who sings, prays twice" cannot be properly attributed to Augustine, even if similar statements can be found in his sermons, but there is no evidence

Just as "he who sings, prays twice" cannot be properly attributed to Augustine, even if similar statements can be found in his sermons, and there is no evidence

While "he who sings, prays twice" cannot be properly attributed to Augustine, even if similar statements can be found in his sermons, and there is no evidence

While "he who sings, prays twice" cannot be properly attributed to Augustine, even if similar statements can be found in his sermons, so too is there no evidence

Just as "he who sings, prays twice" cannot be properly attributed to Augustine, even if similar statements can be found in his sermons, so too is there no evidence

Correct answer:

Just as "he who sings, prays twice" cannot be properly attributed to Augustine, even if similar statements can be found in his sermons, so too is there no evidence

Explanation:

"Just as . . . so too" is the proper form of the correlative conjunction in this instance, establishing the relationship (one of similarity) between the two examples mentioned in the passage.

Example Question #6 : Correcting Correlative Conjunction Errors

The two hour delay caused problems not only for Buckley, and Ronnie as well. 

What option best replaces the underlined portion of the sentence?

Possible Answers:

not only for Buckley, also Ronnie. 

not only for Buckley and Ronnie. 

not only for Buckley, but also for Ronnie. 

not only for Buckley, but also for Ronnie as well. 

not for Buckley, but also for Ronnie.

Correct answer:

not only for Buckley, but also for Ronnie. 

Explanation:

"Not only" is a conjunction that always correlates with "but also;" furthermore, "but also" is sufficient, adding "as well" on top of that is needlessly repetitive. 

Example Question #1 : Correcting Phrase, Clause, And Sentence Errors

Replace the underlined portion with the answer choice that results in a sentence that is clear, precise, and meets the requirements of standard written English.

In Emily Brontë's novel Wuthering Heights, the heroine, Catherine, must choose between true love or social preeminence.

Possible Answers:

the heroine, Catherine, must have chosen between true love or social preeminence.

the heroine, Catherine, must choose between true love or social preeminence.

the heroine, Catherine, must choose between true love and social preeminence.

the heroine, Catherine, must have to be choosing between true love either or social preeminence.

the heroine, Catherine, must make a choice between true love or social preeminence.

Correct answer:

the heroine, Catherine, must choose between true love and social preeminence.

Explanation:

Only answer choice "the heroine, Catherine, must choose between true love and social preeminence" correctly uses "and" with the preposition "between."

The other answer choices, including the original text "the heroine, Catherine, must choose between true love or social preeminence," contain an incorrect idiomatic expression. When we have "between," we typically need the word "and"—rather than "or"—to separate the entities that follow.

Example Question #21 : Correcting Conjunction Errors

Replace the underlined portion with the answer choice that results in a sentence that is clear, precise, and meets the requirements of standard written English. One of the answer choices repeats the underlined portion as it is written.

When she went to the zoo, Lyndsey got to see not only tigers, but polar bears, iguanas, and toucans.

Possible Answers:

When she went to the zoo, Lyndsey got to see not only tigers, and polar bears, iguanas, and toucans.

When she went to the zoo, Lyndsey got to see not only tigers, also polar bears, iguanas, and toucans.

When she went to the zoo, Lyndsey got to see not only tigers, although polar bears, iguanas, and toucans too.

When she went to the zoo, Lyndsey got to see not only tigers, but polar bears, iguanas, and toucans.

When she went to the zoo, Lyndsey got to see not only tigers, but also polar bears, iguanas, and toucans.

Correct answer:

When she went to the zoo, Lyndsey got to see not only tigers, but also polar bears, iguanas, and toucans.

Explanation:

In standard English, when you use the phrase "not only" in a sentence, it should be followed by the phrase "but also." So, the correct answer is "When she went to the zoo, Lyndsey got to see not only tigers, but also polar bears, iguanas, and toucans."

Example Question #18 : Correlative Conjunction Errors

Replace the underlined portion with the answer choice that results in a sentence that is clear, precise, and meets the requirements of standard written English. One of the answer choices reproduces the underlined portion as it is written in the sentence.

The remake of the film was neither enjoyable and definitely not faithful to the original film.

Possible Answers:

nor were it faithful to the original film

nor was it faithful to the original film

and it wasn't even faithful to the original film

nor faithful to the original film

and definitely not faithful to the original film

Correct answer:

nor faithful to the original film

Explanation:

When "neither" is used in a sentence, "nor" should follow it, creating the structure "neither X nor Y," where X and Y are items formatted in the same manner. To correct the sentence, we need to change "and definitely not" to "nor." Several answer choices do this: "nor faithful to the original film," "nor were it faithful to the original film," and "nor was it faithful to the original film." "Nor were it faithful to the original film" and "nor was it faithful to the original film" might each look like potentially correct answers, but each introduces a verb that disrupts the parallel structure of "neither X nor Y," in which "nor" should be immediately followed by "faithful to the original film." The correct answer is thus "nor faithful to the original film," making the corrected sentence, "The remake of the film was neither enjoyable nor faithful to the original film."

Example Question #5 : Correcting Correlative Conjunction Errors

Replace the underlined portion with the answer choice that results in a sentence that is clear, precise, and meets the requirements of standard written English. One of the answer choices reproduces the underlined portion as it is written in the sentence.

After Jonas graduates from high school, his father hopes that Jonas will either attend college nor join the army to learn a skill.

Possible Answers:

Jonas will either attend college or join the army to learn a skill

Jonas will neither attend college or join the army to learn a skill

Jonas will either attend college and join the army to learn a skill

Jonas will either attend college nor join the army to learn a skill

Jonas will either attend college or joining the army to learn a skill

Correct answer:

Jonas will either attend college or join the army to learn a skill

Explanation:

Correlative conjunctions are used in specific pairs: "either" must be paired with "or" and "neither" must be paired with "nor" when you want to use them as correlative conjunctions. When using these correlative conjunctions, it is also important to remember to use parallel phrasing with each element that is being associated through the use of the conjunction.

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