GMAT Verbal : Correcting Parallel Structure Errors

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for GMAT Verbal

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Example Questions

Example Question #1893 : Act English

To fish, hunting, and forage are necessary survival skills the group wanted to teach children.

Possible Answers:

To fish, hunting, and forage 

To fish, hunt, and foraging

To fish, hunting, and foraging 

Fishing, hunting, and forage 

Fishing, hunting, and foraging

Correct answer:

Fishing, hunting, and foraging

Explanation:

The list underlined in the sentence contains three unlike things, as the forms of the words are all quite different. All such lists need to feature a parallel structure to show it is a list of similar things. The correct answer choice, therefore, is "Fishing, hunting, and foraging." 

Example Question #41 : Phrase, Clause, And Sentence Errors

The father was concerned about his children reading too little and to watch too much TV.

Possible Answers:

reading little and to watch much TV.

reading too little and watching too much TV.

reading too little and to watch too much TV.

reading very little and to watch very much TV.

reading too little and watch too much TV.

Correct answer:

reading too little and watching too much TV.

Explanation:

The two elements in the underlined portion of the sentence describe two different kinds of action, "reading" and "to watch." They need to be changed to have a similar structure to be described in the same clause; therefore, the correct answer choice is "reading too little and watching too much TV."

Example Question #11 : Correcting Other Phrase, Clause, And Sentence Errors

The rejection of classical art was disturbing to neither pundits and laymen.

Which option best improves the underlined section of this sentence?

Possible Answers:

pundits or laymen. 

neither pundits nor laymen. 

both pundits and laymen. 

pundits nor laymen. 

either pundits and laymen. 

Correct answer:

both pundits and laymen. 

Explanation:

Logically, the rejection of art would be disturbing to pundits (a noun defined as learned individuals) and laymen. Using this knowledge, students could eliminate any answer choice that would say that this would not be disturbing. Even without this knowledge, based on the rule of concordance, students would know that the only plausible options are "both pundits and laymen" or "neither pundits nor laymen," because "neither" always goes with "nor" and "either" always goes with "or." So, the correct answer is "both pundits and laymen."

Example Question #41 : Other 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.

My mother has always been amazing at cutting, sewing, and the design of clothing.

Possible Answers:

cutting, sewing, and designing clothing.

cutting, sewing, and the designing of clothing.

cutting, sewing, and designing clothings.

cutting, sewing, and the design of clothing.

to cut, to sew, and to design clothing.

Correct answer:

cutting, sewing, and designing clothing.

Explanation:

The verb structure in a sentence involving parallel structure, such as this one, should remain constant. In the original sentence, there are two progressive verbs followed by a noun that would be better written as a verb. Changing "design of clothing" to "designing clothing" results in a more consistent parallel structure that involves three progressive verbs.

Example Question #42 : 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.

Dan loves to play tennis and riding his bicycle.

Possible Answers:

to ride his bicycle

rode his bicycle

having ridden his bicycle

ridden his bicycle

rides his bicycle

Correct answer:

to ride his bicycle

Explanation:

This sentence uses parallel structure, so we need to make sure both of its verbs match in terms of tense and verb form. We cannot change "to play tennis," so we need to make "riding his bicycle" match the tense and verb form of "to play tennis." "To play" is an infinitive, so we need to change "riding" to "to ride," another infinitive, yielding "to ride his bicycle," the correct answer.

Example Question #41 : 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.

Singing, dancing, and the ability to act at the highest level are all required of Broadway performers.

Possible Answers:

Singing, dancing, and acting

Singing, to dance, and the ability to act

Singing, dancing, and the ability of acting

Singing, dancing, and the ability to act

Singing dancing and the ability to act

Correct answer:

Singing, dancing, and acting

Explanation:

The list that is underlined in the sentence has an issue with containing unlike forms. Therefore, they should be changed to have a consistent parallel structure. "Singing, dancing, and acting" is the only answer choice that uses the appropriate structure.

Example Question #1897 : Act English

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 soccer players were required to be skilled at kicking, running, and defensive skills.

Possible Answers:

at kicking, running, and their defensive skills.

at the kicking, the running, and the defensive skills.

at kicking, running, and defensive.

at kicking, running, and defending.

at kicking, running, and defensive skills.

Correct answer:

at kicking, running, and defending.

Explanation:

The list featured in the underlined section is united by the same verb, but it does not have the same structure in all of its elements, two of which are gerunds ("kicking" and "running") and one of which is a noun phrase ("defensive skills"). The sentence needs to have its elements changed so that they match each other. Only "at kicking, running, and defending" features the appropriate parallel structure.

Example Question #1898 : Act English

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 bigotry nor hating will be tolerated anymore in the new nation.

Possible Answers:

Neither bigots nor hating 

Neither bigotry or hating 

Neither bigotry nor hating 

Either bigotry nor hating 

Neither bigotry nor hatred

Correct answer:

Neither bigotry nor hatred

Explanation:

"Bigotry" and "hating" are described in the same "Neither...nor" phrase, but are actually two different forms, a noun and a participle. To appropriately be joined, the two must have a parallel structure. The only answer choice with a correct parallel structure is "Neither bigotry nor hatred," in which both "bigotry" and "hatred" are nouns.

Example Question #1001 : Improving Sentences

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.

For years, their mother had been concerned about how they ate, cleaned, and behaving.

Possible Answers:

whether they ate, cleaned, and behaving.

how they ate, cleaned, and behaving.

how they ate, cleaning, and behaving.

how they ate, cleaned, and behaved.

how they were eating, cleaned, and behaving.

Correct answer:

how they ate, cleaned, and behaved.

Explanation:

The list at the end of the sentence, "ate, cleaned, and behaving," contains the sentence's error. The list should have a parallel structure and feature verbs that each have the same tense. While "ate" and "cleaned" employ the past tense, "behaving" is a present participle. The only answer choice that employs parallel structure correctly is "how they ate, cleaned, and behaved," in whcih all of the verbs are conjugated to be in the past tense.

Example Question #1002 : Improving Sentences

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 puppies all showed signs of being in good health, as they all enjoyed running, chasing, and play.

Possible Answers:

run, chasing, and play.

running, chasing, and to play.

running, chasing, and play.

running, chasing, and playing.

running, chase, and play.

Correct answer:

running, chasing, and playing.

Explanation:

The list at the end of the sentence features three elements, "running," "chasing," and "play," which do not have a parallel structure because the present conjugation of "play" does not match the present participle conjugation of "running" and "chasing." Because there is not a parallel structure, the sentence is joining together unlike items. The only answer choice that features a parallel structure is "running, chasing, and playing."

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