New SAT Writing and Language : Parallel Constructions

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for New SAT Writing and Language

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Example Questions

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Example Question #1 : Parallel Constructions

The traditional view of archaeologists usually involves a college professor who spends much of his or her time digging and researching in ancient foreign libraries or a museum curator who works every day to preserve the artifacts the museum holds. While this view isn’t completely incorrect, it is incomplete, both in terms of the types of jobs available to archaeologists 1 and in the types of work within those jobs. For example, college professors may spend summers at dig sites, but much of their time is also spent writing grants, teaching students, and writing about their research projects. Additionally, although there are still many people who work in archaeology as professors and museum curators, the demand for these job far outstrips the number of positions available, making the positions difficult to acquire.

Possible Answers:

and in terms of

NO CHANGE

as well as

as well as in terms of

Correct answer:

and in terms of

Explanation:

Whenever you are given two items in a list, you need to make sure that those items are both parallel with one another. The first item in the list is "in terms of the types". In order to be parallel to this, the next item must also be in the form of "in terms of." The only answer choice that does this is "and in terms of". "As well as" and "as well as in terms of" can be eliminated because the word both must always be paired with the word "and," and leaving the words as is (NO CHANGE) can be eliminated because it isn't parallel to the first item in the list.

Example Question #364 : New Sat

One of the most influential niche constructors is the earthworm, an organism found almost everywhere on the planet.  A scientist only concerned with evolution would predict that, in order to live on land, earthworms would have to significantly change. Earthworms didn’t change their physiology a great amount, however; instead, they changed the soil to make it more like the ocean in order to survive. Land with earthworms is less compacted, is more nutrient rich, and 1 better mixed than land without them –  leading to monumental changes in the ecosystem.

Possible Answers:

is better mixed

NO CHANGE

mixes better

is mixing better

Correct answer:

is better mixed

Explanation:

Whenever you have a list within a question on the SAT, you need to make sure that each of the parts of the list are parallel to one another. Because the first two items in the list are in the form of "is __", the third item in the list must also be in this form. "Is better mixed" and "is mixing better" are both in this form, but "better mixed" (NO CHANGE) and "mixes better" are not. To choose between "is better mixed" and "is mixing better", look at the second word. The word "mixed" matches the word "compacted" earlier in the list, while "mixing" does not.

Example Question #1 : Parallel Constructions

[1] The job of CRM archaeologists is to identify the potential cultural significance of a site and then document and preserve any artifacts of historical or cultural significance. [2] The surplus of people who want to work in archaeology has meant that the majority of archaeologists aren’t employed by universities or museums, but by construction companies and the government.  [3] Most archaeology positions in today’s economy are for what are referred to as a “cultural resource management” archaeologists, or CRM archaeologists, who are often involved in building projects as representatives of the state, Native American tribes, and historical societies. [4] While part of this analysis might involve starting a dig at the site in question to find relevant artifacts, much of this research process requires CRM archaeologists to consult historical records and 1 talk of members of the community where the building process has been proposed.

Possible Answers:
NO CHANGE

talk to

talking with

talking to

Correct answer:

talk to

Explanation:

Whenever part of a list is underlined within the SAT Writing and Language section, remember that you must always check to make sure that the list is parallel and correctly separated by commas. In this case the two items in the list are "to consult historical records" and "talk of members of the community." Notice that while you have the parallel verbs "consult" and "talk" as the two items in your list, the logic doesn't make sense. If you are investigating to find artifacts, you wouldn't talk about members of the community - you would talk with them. The only answer that maintains parallelism and logic is " talk to."

Example Question #24 : Grammar: Modifiers And Sentence Construction

Despite his earlier doubts, Carlos felt a renewed confidence. After checking the syllabus, skimming the textbook, and he reviewed the assignments, he felt certain he was ready for the test.

Possible Answers:

reviewed

NO CHANGE

he has reviewed

reviewing

Correct answer:

reviewing

Explanation:

When encountering a list, ensure that each item in the list is presented in the same way, maintaining a parallel structure. In this case, the first two items, “checking” and “skimming,” is given in the present participle. For that reason, “reviewed” doesn’t belong here, as it is in the past simple tense. Similarly, “he reviewed” is not parallel as well as redundant, as “he” already appears at the start of the next clause. Furthermore, “he has reviewed” is in the past perfect tense, which is likewise different than the present participle used in the previous items. The correct answer, “reviewing,” is in the present participle, and thus maintains parallel structure within the list.

Example Question #2 : Parallel Constructions

Because school was out, she went to the ocean, saw a whale, and she tried her best to communicate with friends.

Possible Answers:

tried

trying

and tried

NO CHANGE

Correct answer:

and tried

Explanation:

When encountering a list, ensure that each item in the list is presented in the same way, maintaining a parallel structure. In this case, the list begins with two items, “went to the ocean” and “saw a whale,” given in past tense. For this reason, “trying” doesn’t fit, because it is given in the present tense. If “tried” is chosen, the list has no coordinating conjunction, which is necessary to a grammatical list. With no change, the “she” is redundant, as the previous item has been presented without a subject. For this reason, “and tried” is the best answer, as it completes the list without redundancy and while maintaining a parallel structure.

 

Example Question #131 : New Sat Writing And Language

Kaitlyn was certain that she was talented, driven, and had the focus enough to complete the work on time.

Possible Answers:

could focus

NO CHANGE

focused

was focused

Correct answer:

focused

Explanation:

When encountering a list, ensure that each item in the list is presented in the same way, maintaining parallel structure. In this case, the list begins with two adjectives describing Kaitlyn. For this reason, “had the focus,” which attributes focus to Kaitlyn by suggesting that she “had” it, is not parallel to the other items. Similarly, “could focus” presents a modal verb describing her ability to focus, instead of a mere adjective. The redundancy of “was,” which appears before the list and in “was focused,” shows that it is not a viable option. The remaining choice, “focused,” is an adjective which is parallel to the other two in the list, and is thus our correct answer.

Example Question #132 : New Sat Writing And Language

It might be more efficient to pry the door open than to keep banging on it.

Possible Answers:

kept banging

keeping to bang

keep banging

NO CHANGE

Correct answer:

NO CHANGE

Explanation:

When contrasting two items, it’s important they remain parallel in their structure. In this case, the comparison is being drawn between one option, “to pry the door open,” given as an infinitive, and a less efficient alternative. One candidate, “keep banging,” is given in the simple present tense, which does not match the infinitive form of the other option. Similarly, “kept banging” is given in the simple past tense, not the infinitive. Another possibility, “keeping to bang,” might at first seem to incorporate an infinitive, but is in reality altogether ungrammatical. However, if the sentence remains unchanged, “to keep banging,” an infinitive, is correctly parallel to “to pry.”

Example Question #26 : Grammar: Modifiers And Sentence Construction

Once the two of us took the floor, it became clear to everyone at the party that my dance moves are much better than these done by my dad.

Possible Answers:

DELETE the underlined portion

NO CHANGE

those of

the dance moves done by

Correct answer:

those of

Explanation:

When drawing a comparison between two items, it’s important they remain parallel in their structure. In this case, “my dance moves” cannot be compared directly to “my dad,” but instead must be contrasted with the dance moves of the speaker’s dad, meaning the underlined portion should not be deleted. On the other hand, “these done by” appears to be an attempt to compare the dance moves in parallel, but “these” suggests a proximity to the moves that do not make sense in context. Of the remaining two options, “the dance moves done by” is clunkier and less succinct than “those of,” which successfully draws a parallel comparison while avoiding redundancy and unnecessary wordiness.

Example Question #27 : Grammar: Modifiers And Sentence Construction

His favorite part about going to school every day wasn’t playing basketball, but rather having seen his friends.

Possible Answers:

DELETE the underlined portion

having this opportunity to see

seeing

NO CHANGE

Correct answer:

seeing

Explanation:

When contrasting two items, it’s important they remain parallel in their structure. In this case, because the first item, “playing basketball,” is given as a gerund verb, the second item should be given the same way. This means that the underlined portion should not be deleted. Although “having seen” is a gerund, it is given in the past tense, which is not parallel to “playing basketball,” which is in the present tense. Of the remaining choices, “having this opportunity to see” is clunkier than “seeing,” which retains parallel structure without being unnecessarily verbose or using “this,” which is unnecessary in this context.

Example Question #133 : New Sat Writing And Language

There’s nothing that makes me happier than a chance to go to the beach, unfurl my towel, open up my umbrella, and to get to relax for a little while.

Possible Answers:

get to relax

relax

NO CHANGE

to relax

Correct answer:

relax

Explanation:

When encountering a list, ensure that each item in the list is presented in the same way, maintaining parallel structure. In this case, the first three items in the list are actions, given in the simple present tense. Accordingly, “to relax,” which is in the infinitive form, is not effectively parallel to the previous listed actions. A similar option, “to get to relax,” is also an infinitive, albeit a more complex one, and is incorrect for the same reasons. Though “get to relax” is given in the simple present tense, “get to” is redundant with a descriptor which precedes the list, “a chance,” as both convey the same sense of opportunity. For this reason, “relax,” which is parallel in its use of the simple present and in no way redundant, is the best choice.

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