PSAT Writing : Correcting Parallel Structure Errors

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for PSAT Writing

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Example Questions

Example Question #1 : Correcting Parallel Structure Errors

More than other children, he struggled adapting to middle school both academically and in his social life.

Possible Answers:

both academically and socially.

both academcially and in his social life.

academically and in his social life.

academics and in his social life.

both for academics and in socially.

Correct answer:

both academically and socially.

Explanation:

The two items in the underlined portion are paried together, and as such should have a parallel structure. The only answer choice that has such a structure is "both academically and socially."

Example Question #1 : Correcting Parallel Structure Errors

She loved a number of creative activities as a child, always trying painting, singing, or to dance.

Possible Answers:

always trying painting, singing, or to dance.

always trying to paint, to sing, or to dance.

always painting, singing, or to dance.

always try to paint, to sing, or to dance.

always tries painting, singing, or to dance.

Correct answer:

always trying to paint, to sing, or to dance.

Explanation:

The list in the underlined portion needs a parallel structure in its items, but does not, with "to dance" being different in structure. Of all the answer choices, "always trying to paint, to sing, or to dance" features a correct parallel structure.

Example Question #1 : Correcting Parallel Structure Errors

The entertainer viewed himself as a multifaceted performer who excelled at acting, singing, and an ability to dance.

Possible Answers:

at acting, singing, and the ability to dance.

at acting, singing, and dancing.

at acting, singing, and an ability to dance.

at acting, singing, and to dance.

in acting, singing, and an ability to dance.

Correct answer:

at acting, singing, and dancing.

Explanation:

The list in the underlined portion of the sentence does not feature a parallel structure among the listed items, which makes it confusing and strange. The list needs to have a parallel structure, with all elements featuring the same form. The only answer choice with a parallel structure is "at acting, singing, and dancing."

Example Question #1 : Correcting Parallel Structure Errors

Young children need equal time during the day to devote to playing, learning, and to relax.

Possible Answers:

to playing, to learning, and to relax.

to playing, learning, and relax.

to playing, learning, and to relax.

to playing, learning, to relax.

to play, to learn, and to relax.

Correct answer:

to play, to learn, and to relax.

Explanation:

The list of verbs in the underlined portion of the sentence, as in any such list, all need to follow a parallel form. In the sentence as written, they do not have a parallel structure. Of all the answer choices, the only that does have a parallel structure is "to play, to learn, and to relax."

Example Question #11 : Correcting Parallel Structure Errors

Very few professional athletes are in the top percentile for running, jumping, and the ability to throw.

Possible Answers:

for running jumping and the ability to throw.

for running jumping and throwing.

for running, jumping, and throwing.

for running, jumping, and the ability to throw.

for the abilty in running, jumping, and to throw.

Correct answer:

for running, jumping, and throwing.

Explanation:

The list at the end of the sentence features different verb forms. Any list of such verbs all need to take the same form for a parallel structure; therefore, the correct answer is "for running, jumping, and throwing."

Example Question #11 : Correcting Parallel Structure Errors

The boys all enjoyed swimming, hiking, and to run on the camp's property.

Possible Answers:

to swim, to hike, and to run on the camp's property.

to swimming, to hiking, and to running on the camp's property.

swimming, to hike, and to run on the camp's property.

to swim, hiking, and to run on the camp's property.

swimming, hiking, and to run on the camp's property.

Correct answer:

to swim, to hike, and to run on the camp's property.

Explanation:

The three activities in the list all need to have a parallel structure, and be grammatically correct, ruling out the answer choice featuring the construction "to running . . ." The best answer choice, therefore, is "to swim, to hike, and to run on the camp's property."

Example Question #61 : Correcting Phrase, Clause, And Sentence Errors

The actor's moods would swing wildly, and in the span of five minutes he could want to fight, to sing, and discussing important topics.

Possible Answers:

to fight, to sing, and to discuss important topics.

to fight to sing and discussing important topics.

to fight, to sing, and discussing important topics.

to fight, singing, and discussing important topics.

to fight, to sing and discussing important topics.

Correct answer:

to fight, to sing, and to discuss important topics.

Explanation:

Any list like the one underlined in the sentence must feature a parallel structure in word form. Otherwise, as in the sentence, it compares unlike things such as a "want to fight" and "discussing important topics." The sentence needs to be improved to feature a parallel structure, something only done by the answer choice "to fight, to sing, and to discuss important topics."

Example Question #13 : Correcting Parallel Structure Errors

The overbearing woman relentlessly criticized the girls for wearing makeup, having parties, and their inappropriate dress.

Possible Answers:

for wearing makeup, having parties, and dressing inappropriately.

for wearing makeup, having parties, and their inappropriately dressed.

for wearing makeup, in having parties, and their inappropriate dress.

for wearing makeup, having parties, and their inappropriate dress.

for wearing makeup, having parties, and there inappropriate dress.

Correct answer:

for wearing makeup, having parties, and dressing inappropriately.

Explanation:

The list that forms the underlined portion of the sentence has three items, but one is in a different format to the others, meaning unlike things are grouped together. Any such list needs to feature a parallel structure, where all the forms match each other. The only answer choice that appropriately does this is "for wearing makeup, having parties, and dressing inappropriately."

Example Question #41 : Parallel Structure Errors

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

Possible Answers:

To fish, hunting, and foraging 

Fishing, hunting, and forage 

To fish, hunting, and forage 

To fish, hunt, and foraging

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 #14 : Correcting Parallel Structure Errors

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

Possible Answers:

reading too little and watch too much TV.

reading too little and to watch too much TV.

reading too little and watching too much TV.

reading very little and to watch very much TV.

reading little and to watch 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."

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