PSAT Writing : Correcting Parallel Structure Errors

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for PSAT Writing

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Example Questions

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Example Question #11 : 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.

Portraits painted during the Renaissance reveal a stricter adherence to the principles of realism than the Middle Ages.

Possible Answers:

reveal a stricter adherence to the principles of realism than the Middle Ages

reveals a stricter adherence to the principles of realism than the Middle Ages

reveal a stricter adherence to the principles of realism than did the Middle Ages

has revealed a stricter adherence to the principles of realism than the Middle Ages

reveal a stricter adherence to the principles of realism than those painted during the Middle Ages

Correct answer:

reveal a stricter adherence to the principles of realism than those painted during the Middle Ages

Explanation:

The original text contains a faulty compaison. It compares portraits painted during the Renaissance to the time period of the Middle Ages. Instead, portraits should be compared to other portraits. The only answer choice that correcly makes this comparison is "reveal a stricter adherence to the principles of realism than those painted during the Middle Ages."

Example Question #12 : 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.

Every morning, the celebrated composer liked to make a pot of tea, sit down by the window, and began work on his symphony.

Possible Answers:

window, to begin work on his symphony

window, and began work on his symphony.

window; he began work on his symphony

window, and begin work on his symphony

window, and beginning to work on his symphony

Correct answer:

window, and begin work on his symphony

Explanation:

The original sentence does not follow employ parallel structure within the list of things that the composer does every morning. To make it consistent, each verb should be an infinitive ("to make . . . sit . . . begin"). None of the other answers fit into that pattern.

Example Question #13 : 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.

The lightweight champion boxer may not have the brute strength of heavyweight fighters, but he makes up for it with ferocity and being quick.

Possible Answers:

fighters, and he makes up for it with ferocity and being quick.

fighters; but he makes up for it with ferocity and being quick.

fighters, but he makes up for it with ferocity and being quick.

fighters, but they make up for it with ferocity and being quick.

fighters, but he makes up for it with ferocity and quickness.

Correct answer:

fighters, but he makes up for it with ferocity and quickness.

Explanation:

This sentence contains an error in parallelism. The listed attributes "ferocity" and "being quick" should be phrased the same way. Changing "being quick" to "quickness" fixes this.

Example Question #1 : Correcting Parallel Structure 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.

Behaviors typical of early infancy include exchanging facial expressions with caregivers, focusing on visual objects, and the imitation of adult behavior.

Possible Answers:

exchanging facial expressions with caregivers, focusing toward visual objects, and the imitation of adult behavior

exchanging facial expressions with caregivers, focusing on visual objects, and imitating adult behavior

exchanging facial expressions to caregivers, focusing on visual objects, and the imitation of adult behavior

exchanging facial expressions to caregivers, focusing with visual objects, and the imitation of adult behavior

exchanging facial expressions with caregivers, focusing on visual objects, and the imitation of adult behavior

Correct answer:

exchanging facial expressions with caregivers, focusing on visual objects, and imitating adult behavior

Explanation:

The underlined portion contains a list, the first two items of which end in "-ing." To maintain the parallel structure of the list, the third item should also end in "-ing." Only answer choice "exchanging facial expressions with caregivers, focusing on visual objects, and imitating adult behavior" represents the correct use of parallelism.

Example Question #7 : Correcting Other Phrase, Clause, And Sentence Errors

In the following question, please choose the best sentence improvement.

The vineyards of Napa Valley are at once breathlessly vibrant, symmetrical, and the green is profound.

Possible Answers:

and the green is profound.

and its green is quite profound.

and it is profoundly green.

and profoundly green.

and so profound green.

Correct answer:

and profoundly green.

Explanation:

This sentence requires parallelism across all elements. Only "profoundly green" matches "breathlessly vibrant" and "symmetrical."

Example Question #51 : Correcting Phrase, Clause, And Sentence Errors

The kids took too much time cleaning their rooms, left little time to do outdoor chores.

Possible Answers:

leaving little time to do outdoor chores.

left little time to had done outdoor chores.

left little time to do outdoor chores.

left few times to do outdoor chores.

leaving little time to doing outdoor chores.

Correct answer:

leaving little time to do outdoor chores.

Explanation:

The underlined phrase in the sentence, being the second part of a complex sentence, needs to have a parallel structure to the phrase in the first half of the sentence; therefore, "leaving little time to do outdoor chores," is the best choice among the answers.

Example Question #7 : Correcting Parallel Structure Errors

In the following question, please choose the best sentence improvement.

When choosing a sport, youths are encouraged to consider its difficulty, its required skills, its necessary equipment, and its overall cost.

Possible Answers:

its overall cost.

if it costs money.

the cost of it.

the money needed for it.

how much it costs overall.

Correct answer:

its overall cost.

Explanation:

In this question, only the original sentence shows parallelism. Any choice other than "its overall cost" would not exhibit parallel structure with the sentence's other elements.

Example Question #31 : Phrase, Clause, And Sentence Errors

The teacher sought new ways of teaching, believing her students would get more from lessons featuring playing, acting, and creativity.

Possible Answers:

featuring playing, acting, and creating.

featuring the playing, acting, and creativity.

featuring play, act, and creativity.

featuring playing, acting, and creative things. 

featuring playing, acting, and creativity.

Correct answer:

featuring playing, acting, and creating.

Explanation:

The underlined portion of the sentence features a list of verbs, but they are not all in a parallel form. All such lists must feature a parallel structure for the verbs listed; therefore, the correct answer is "featuring playing, acting, and creating."

Example Question #1 : Correcting Parallel Structure Errors

Stretching before physical workouts is important to improve flexibility and avoiding injury.

Possible Answers:

is important to both improve flexibility and also avoid injury.

is important to improve flexibility and avoid injury.

are important to improve flexibility and avoiding injury.

is important to improve flexibility and being injured less.

is important to improve flexibility and in the avoidance of injury.

Correct answer:

is important to improve flexibility and avoid injury.

Explanation:

Paralellism:  in a list of two or more items in a sentence, each should be worded in the same manner for consistency. One choice changes "is" to "are," which is incorrect because the subject is the singular "stretching," not the plural "workouts," which is part of a prepositional phrase.

Example Question #2321 : Sat Writing

Writing an additional sentence for each paragraph you have is easier than the writing of a brand new paragraph altogether.

Possible Answers:

writing

when one has to write

when you must write

the writing of

one's writing of

Correct answer:

writing

Explanation:

It is not a parallel comparison. The comparison should match, and state that writing something is easier than writing something.

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