GMAT Verbal : Correcting Parallel Structure Errors

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for GMAT Verbal

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Example Questions

Example Question #51 : 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.

Her new trainer's methods were slightly different, as she deemphasized running and emphasized breathing, balancing, and to focus.

Possible Answers:

as she deemphasized running and emphasized breathing, balancing, and focusing.

as she deemphasized running and emphasized breathing, balancing, and to focus.

as she was deemphasized running and emphasized breathing, balancing, and to focus.

as she deemphasized, running, and emphasized breathing, balancing, and to focus.

as she deemphasized: running, and emphasized breathing, balancing, and to focus.

Correct answer:

as she deemphasized running and emphasized breathing, balancing, and focusing.

Explanation:

The list that finishes this sentence features unlike word forms in its items: it includes two gerunds ("breathing" and "balancing") and one infinitive ("to focus"). Any such list needs to feature words in the same form so that they can be properly grouped together, so the infinitive is not grammatically correct in this sentence. The only answer choice with an appropriate parallel structure is "as she deemphasized running and emphasized breathing, balancing, and focusing."

Example Question #41 : 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.

The new players were much more athletic, and excelled at running, jumping, and their ability to kick.

Possible Answers:

and excelled in running, jumping, and their ability to kick.

and excelled at running, jumping, and kicking.

and excelled at running, jumping, and their ability to kick.

and excelling at running, jumping, and their ability to kick.

and excelled at running, jumping, and an ability to kick.

Correct answer:

and excelled at running, jumping, and kicking.

Explanation:

The list that finishes this sentence inappropriately groups together unlike items. It features two gerunds, "running" and "jumping," and the noun phrase "their ability to kick." Any such list needs to feature similar items that feature the same construction. The only answer choice that features a correct parallel structure is "and excelled at running, jumping, and kicking."

Example Question #51 : 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.

Every new enrollee must choose to have either specific benefits or working a set shift.

Possible Answers:

to have neither specific benefits or working a set shift.

to have either specific benefits or a set work shift.

to have either specific benefits or working a set shift.

having either specific benefits or working a set shift.

to have either specific benefits, or working a set shift.

Correct answer:

to have either specific benefits or a set work shift.

Explanation:

Any "either . . . or" phrase must feature similar items, so they can be properly grouped in the same phrase. However, the sentence is written so that its "either . . . or" phrase contains unlike elements, a noun ("specific benefits") and a gerund phrase ("working a set shift"). The only answer choice that features correct parallel structure in the phrase is "to have either specific benefits or a set work shift," which changes the gerund phrase to a noun so that the "either . . . or" phrase contains two nouns.

Example Question #2361 : Sat Writing

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 executives scrapped the project because it had problems in design, expenses, and to fulfill its timetable.

Possible Answers:

it had problems in design, expenses, and timetable fulfillment.

that had problems in design, expenses, and to fulfill its timetable.

it having problems in design, expenses, and to fulfill its timetable.

it had problems in design, expenses, and to fulfill its timetable.

it had problems for design, expenses, and to fulfill its timetable.

Correct answer:

it had problems in design, expenses, and timetable fulfillment.

Explanation:

A list like the one that finishes this sentence needs to include three similar items, so that they can be properly grouped together. The sentence in this question, though, features two nouns ("design" and "expenses") and an infinitive phrase ("to fulfill its timetable"), meaning that the list needs to be changed so that all of its elements match. The only answer choice with a correct parallel structure is "it had problems in design, expenses, and timetable fulfillment," which changes the infinitive phrase "to fulfill its timetable" to a noun, "timetable fulfillment," that matches the other two nouns in the list.

Example Question #61 : 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.

Neither antibiotics nor the use of disinfectants helped slow the spread of the disease.

Possible Answers:

Neither antibiotics nor the use of disinfectants helped to slow

Neither antibiotics nor the use of disinfectants helped slow

Neither the use of antibiotics nor disinfectants helped slow

Neither antibiotics or the use of disinfectants helped slow

Neither antibiotics nor the use of disinfectants helping slow

Correct answer:

Neither the use of antibiotics nor disinfectants helped slow

Explanation:

In any "neither . . . nor" phrase, each item being compared has to be the same kind of item so a proper comparison can be made. The sentence is written with two different elements, the simple noun "antibiotics" and the verbal phrase "the use of disinfectants." The only answer choice that uses an appropriate parallel structure, by redeploying the verbal phrase to cover both items, is "Neither the use of antibiotics nor disinfectants helped slow."

Example Question #391 : 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.

Can you tell me how to get to either the post office or the police station?

Possible Answers:

get to either the post office or the police station?

get to the post office or either the police station?

get to; either the post office or the police station?

get to either the post office and the police station?

get to either the post office nor the police station?

Correct answer:

get to either the post office or the police station?

Explanation:

The initial sentence is correct. The use of "either" in this manner requires that it be accompanied by "or."

Example Question #62 : 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.

Either chatting online or video games might appear more interesting to a teenager than talking with their parents.

Possible Answers:

Either chatting online or video games might appear,

Either chatted online or video games might appear

Either chatting online or playing video games might appear

Either chatting online or video games might appear

Neither chatting online nor video games might appear

Correct answer:

Either chatting online or playing video games might appear

Explanation:

"Chatting online" is a gerund phrase, while "video games" is a noun. In an "either . . . or" phrase, however, both elements of the phrase need to be of the same kind of word. "Either chatting online or playing video games might appear" is the only answer choice that uses an appropriate parallel structure.

Example Question #391 : 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 flowers she brought are fragrant, colorful, and they look fresh.

Possible Answers:

and they are fresh.

and they look fresh.

and fresh.

and fresh-looking.

and beautifully fresh.

Correct answer:

and fresh.

Explanation:

Parallelism is the key here—all the descriptions should be in the same format, which is a single word adjective. The correct answer also makes the sentence more concise and more fluid, which is another benefit of having parallel sentence structure and another way to tell which answer choice is best.

Example Question #81 : 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 governor supported abolishing residential taxes and to create new state parks.

Possible Answers:

creating new state parks

created new parks for the state

created new state parks

to create new parks in the state

to create new state parks

Correct answer:

creating new state parks

Explanation:

As it is written, the sentence uses parallelism incorrectly because the two things the governor supports are different word forms - "abolishing residential taxes" is a gerund phrase, and "to create new state parks" is an infinitive phrase. Changing the infinitive phrase to a gerund phrase makes the sentence sound more fluid.

Example Question #71 : 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.

At the supermarket, I decided to buy apples, oranges, grapefruit, and some lemons.

Possible Answers:

I decided to buy apples, oranges, lemons, and some grapefruit.

I decided to buy apples, oranges, grapefruit, and some lemons.

I decided on buying apples, oranges, grapefruit, and lemons.

I decided to buy apples, oranges, grapefruit, and lemons. 

I decided to buy some apples, oranges, grapefruit, and lemons.

 

Correct answer:

I decided to buy apples, oranges, grapefruit, and lemons. 

Explanation:

The sentence must have parallel structure. The quantifier “some” should appear before each fruit, or it should be left out completely. The verb “to decide” must be followed by an infinitive verb (“to buy”).

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