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 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. One of the answer choices reproduces the underlined portion as it is written in the sentence.

The teacher reprimanded his class, saying that he was neither pleased with their poor work nor was he willing to accept their rowdy behavior.

Possible Answers:

saying that neither was he pleased with their poor work nor was willing to accept their rowdy behavior.

saying that he was neither pleased with their poor work or willing to accept their rowdy behavior.

saying that he was neither pleased with their poor work nor was he willing to accept their rowdy behavior.

saying that he was neither pleased with their poor work nor willing to accept their rowdy behavior.

saying that he was pleased neither with their poor work nor willing to accept their rowdy behavior.

Correct answer:

saying that he was neither pleased with their poor work nor willing to accept their rowdy behavior.

Explanation:

The correlative conjunctions “neither” and “nor” belong together. In "neither . . . nor" sentences, the two options (“pleased with their poor work” and “willing to accept their rowdy behavior”) must be presented in a grammatically parallel way so that the words following “neither” and the words following “nor” are parallel phrases.

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. One of the answer choices reproduces the underlined portion as it is written in the sentence.

She told her children that she would take them to either the toy store or to the ice cream parlor if they finished all their chores on time.

Possible Answers:

she would either take them to the toy store or to the ice cream parlor

she would either take them to the toy store or the ice cream parlor

she would take them to either the toy store and the ice cream parlor

she would take them either to the toy store or to the ice cream parlor

she would take them to either the toy store or to the ice cream parlor

Correct answer:

she would take them either to the toy store or to the ice cream parlor

Explanation:

The correlative conjunctions “either” and “or” get paired together here. In "either . . . or" sentences, the two options being discussed (in this case, going to the toy store and going to the ice cream parlor) must be presented in a grammatically parallel way so that the words following “either” and the words following “or” are parallel phrases. In this case, “to the toy store” and “to the ice cream parlor” are the only options that are parallel; otherwise, you’re comparing apples and oranges.

Example Question #23 : 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 the future, not Ellen and not Marcia are allowed to go outside without asking the teacher for permission.

Possible Answers:

neither Ellen nor Marcia is allowed 

neither Ellen nor Marcia are allowed

not Ellen and not Marcia is allowed

neither Ellen and Marcia are allowed

not Ellen and not Marcia are allowed

Correct answer:

neither Ellen nor Marcia is allowed 

Explanation:

The correct form for this sentence is "neither . . . nor." In addition, "neither . . .nor" leads to use of the singular form "is" rather than "are."

Example Question #11 : 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 advisors' ominous projections or the board's grim outlook bothered the CEO enough to make her change her course.

Possible Answers:

Either the advisors' ominous projections nor the board's grim outlook

Neither the advisors' ominous projections nor the board's grim outlook

Neither the advisors' ominous projections or the board's grim outlook

Neither of the advisors' ominous projections or the board's grim outlook

Neither the advisors' ominous projections, nor the board's grim outlook

Correct answer:

Neither the advisors' ominous projections nor the board's grim outlook

Explanation:

The correct correlative conjunction pair here is "neither/nor." No comma is needed. The other pairings listed are either mismatched or inappropriate. The correct correlative conjunction for "either" is "or."

Example Question #11 : Correcting Correlative Conjunction Errors

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

The professor allowed her class to choose the assignment style for the semester: either several small quizzes and one large final exam and one large midterm exam and one large final exam.

Possible Answers:

semester: either several small quizzes and one large final exam and one large midterm exam and one large final exam.

semester: either several small quizzes and one large final exam or one large midterm exam and one large final exam.

semester; either several small quizzes and one large final exam or one large midterm exam and one large final exam.

semester, either several small quizzes and one large final exam, or one large midterm exam and one large final exam.

semester, either several small quizzes and one large final exam, and one large midterm exam and one large final exam.

Correct answer:

semester: either several small quizzes and one large final exam or one large midterm exam and one large final exam.

Explanation:

Although the constituents in the list are a bit convoluted, this can be boiled down to a simple either A or B. A and B each have an "and," which can make the sentence seem more confusing, but, when simplified, it can be easier to tell that the sentence is describing a choice BETWEEN two options (both of which include two items and an "and"), so the "and" between "quizzes" and "one" needs to be replaced with "or."

Example Question #23 : 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.

The temperature dropped suddenly in the chamber, which will mean that the pipes passing through the manifold will be frozen by the chill.

Possible Answers:

and the resulting chill will freeze the pipes that are passing through the manifold.

and as a result, the pipes will be frozen by the chill, passing through the manifold.

which will mean that the pipes passing through the manifold will be frozen by the chill.

which will mean that the chill will freeze the pipes passing through the manifold.

and this will mean that the pipes passing through the manifold will be frozen by the chill.

Correct answer:

and the resulting chill will freeze the pipes that are passing through the manifold.

Explanation:

The word “which does not have an antecedent noun, and so the construction is incorrect in the two answer choices in which it is present. Similarly, in the sentence implementing “this,” there is no noun to which it refers. The final incorrect answer leaves the modifier “passing through the manifold” dangling too far from the noun to which the modifier refers.

Example Question #24 : 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.

Neither of my colleagues or our professor could answer the question I raised, which I found quite disconcerting.

Possible Answers:

Neither of my colleagues and our professor could answer the question I raised

Neither my colleagues nor our professor could answer the question I raised

Neither my colleagues or our professor could answer the question I raised

Neither of my colleagues and nor our professor could answer the question I raised

Neither of my colleagues, our professor could answer the question I raised

Correct answer:

Neither my colleagues nor our professor could answer the question I raised

Explanation:

The central issue here is the proper implementation of the correlative conjunction "neither...nor." The use of the preposition "of" and the conjunctions "or," "and," etc., appropriately resolve the issue. If anything, these other modifications result in unidiomatic phrases or awkward syntax.

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