PSAT Writing : Correcting Parallel Structure Errors

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for PSAT Writing

varsity tutors app store varsity tutors android store

Example Questions

Example Question #11 : Correcting Parallel Structure 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 nor laymen. 

pundits or laymen. 

both pundits and laymen. 

neither 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 #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.

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

Possible Answers:

cutting, sewing, and the design of clothing.

cutting, sewing, and designing clothings.

to cut, to sew, and to design clothing.

cutting, sewing, and designing clothing.

cutting, sewing, and the designing of 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 #11 : 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.

Dan loves to play tennis and riding his bicycle.

Possible Answers:

having ridden his bicycle

rides his bicycle

rode his bicycle

to ride his bicycle

ridden 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 #16 : 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.

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

Possible Answers:

Singing, to dance, and the ability to act

Singing dancing and the ability to act

Singing, dancing, and the ability to act

Singing, dancing, and the ability of acting

Singing, dancing, and acting

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

Possible Answers:

at kicking, running, and defensive skills.

at kicking, running, and defensive.

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

at kicking, running, and defending.

at kicking, running, and their 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 #51 : 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 bigotry nor hating will be tolerated anymore in the new nation.

Possible Answers:

Neither bigotry nor hatred

Neither bigotry nor hating 

Neither bigots nor hating 

Neither bigotry or hating 

Either bigotry nor hating 

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 #51 : 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.

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

Possible Answers:

how they ate, cleaned, and behaved.

how they ate, cleaning, and behaving.

how they were eating, cleaned, and behaving.

how they ate, cleaned, and behaving.

whether they ate, 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 #21 : 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 puppies all showed signs of being in good health, as they all enjoyed running, chasing, and play.

Possible Answers:

running, chasing, and playing.

running, chase, and play.

running, chasing, and play.

run, chasing, and play.

running, chasing, and to 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."

Example Question #52 : 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.

Like her mother, the girl had special abilities in styling and in her dress.

Possible Answers:

in her style and in her dress.

in styling and her dress.

in the styling and in the dress.

in styling and from her dress.

in styling and in her dress.

Correct answer:

in her style and in her dress.

Explanation:

"Styling" and "her dress" are two different objects of the same verb "had." As such, the two words need to employ parallel structure and be in the same form. The answer choice that features a parallel structure is "in her style and in her dress."

Example Question #55 : 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 school sought to create well-rounded individuals, making students who were painters, musicians, and participating in athletics.

Possible Answers:

who were painters, musicians, and participating in athletics.

who were painters, musicians, and participate in athletics.

who were painters and musicians and participate in athletics.

who were painting, musicians, and participating in athletics.

who were painters, musicians, and athletes.

Correct answer:

who were painters, musicians, and athletes.

Explanation:

The list in the underlined portion of the sentence features three objects attached to the same verb, but these three objects are different kinds of words, describing different things. Any list like this one must feature a parallel structure, where all the items match in terms of tense and word form. The only answer choice to have such a parallel structure is "who were painters, musicians, and athletes."

Learning Tools by Varsity Tutors