PSAT Writing : Correcting Parallel Structure Errors

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for PSAT Writing

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Example Questions

Example Question #93 : 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 football nor playing tag were allowed at recess under the school's new ruled.

Possible Answers:

Neither football nor playing tag were allowed at recess

Neither football nor tag were allowed at recess

Neither football nor playing tag were allowed on recess

Neither football nor playing tag was allowed at recess

Neither football nor playing tag were allowing at recess

Correct answer:

Neither football nor tag were allowed at recess

Explanation:

The two items in the "Neither . . . nor" phrase describe different things: a noun, "football," and a gerund phrase, "playing tag." Any such phrase needs to have the same kinds of items described in its parts. "Neither football nor tag were allowed at recess" is the only answer choice that features a correct parallel structure.

Example Question #31 : 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 differences between the two groups were quite small, and mostly had to do with severance pay, unemployment benefits, and searching for employment.

Possible Answers:

and mostly had to do with severance pay unemployment benefits and searching for employment.

and mostly having to do with severance pay, unemployment benefits, and searching for employment.

and mostly had to do with severance pay, unemployment benefits, and employment searches.

and mostly has to do with severance pay, unemployment benefits, and searching for employment.

and mostly had to do with severance pay, unemployment benefits, and searching for employment.

Correct answer:

and mostly had to do with severance pay, unemployment benefits, and employment searches.

Explanation:

The list featured at the end of the sentence contains unlike items, with two nouns ("pay" and "benefits") and a participle verb ("searching"). Any such list needs to have three similar items in order to appropriately complete the phrase in which it is the object. The only answer choice with a correct parallel structure is "and mostly had to do with severance pay, unemployment benefits, and employment searches."

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 curriculum sought to expand what was taught in the classroom, developing students' passions for painting, acting, and to play a musical instrument.

Possible Answers:

students' passions to painting, acting, and to play a musical instrument.

students' passions for painting, acting, and to play a musical instrument.

student's passions for painting, acting, and to play a musical instrument.

students' passions from painting, acting, and to play a musical instrument.

students' passions for painting, acting, and playing a musical instrument.

Correct answer:

students' passions for painting, acting, and playing a musical instrument.

Explanation:

Any list like the one in the underlined portion of the sentence needs to feature three similar items, which the list in the sentence does not have. The three items need to have a parallel structure so that they can appropriately be linked together. The only answer choice that features a correct parallel structure is "students' passions for painting, acting, and playing a musical instrument."

Example Question #32 : 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 coach always wanted athletes with skills and have awareness on the field.

Possible Answers:

The coach always wanted athletes with skills and awareness on the field.

The coach always wanted athletes with skills and have awareness on the field.

The coach always wanting athletes with skills and have awareness on the field.

The coach had always wanted athletes with skills and have awareness on the field.

The coach always wants athletes with skills and have awareness on the field.

Correct answer:

The coach always wanted athletes with skills and awareness on the field.

Explanation:

The compound object of the sentence features two unlike elements, "with skills" and "have awareness." The phrase needs to feature a parallel structure with like elements that describe a similar process. The only answer choice with an appropriate parallel structure is "The coach always wanted athletes with skills and awareness on the field."

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.

A good artist does not just have an ability to draw figures, but also excels at shading, coloring, and to frame.

Possible Answers:

but excels at shading, coloring, and to frame

but also excelling at shading, coloring, and to frame

but also excels at shading, coloring, and framing

but also excels at shading, coloring, and to frame

but also excels in shading, coloring, and to frame

Correct answer:

but also excels at shading, coloring, and framing

Explanation:

The list that ends this sentence contains three unlike items, two gerunds ("shading" and "coloring") and an infinitive ("to frame"). Any such list needs to feature a parallel structure, with all items being the same kind of word. The only answer choice that features a correct parallel structure is "but also excels at shading, coloring, and framing."

Example Question #101 : 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.

The entire process was overseen by a small committee of select members who were required to read documents, to argue contentious points, and making judgement calls.

Possible Answers:

who were required to read documents, to argue contentious points, and making judgement calls

who were required to read documents, to argue contentious points, and to make judgement calls

who were required in reading documents, to argue contentious points, and making judgement calls

who was required to read documents, to argue contentious points, and making judgement calls

who were requiring to read documents, to argue contentious points, and making judgement calls

Correct answer:

who were required to read documents, to argue contentious points, and to make judgement calls

Explanation:

The list of requirements of the committe contains two infinitive phrases ("to read documents" and "to argue contentious points") and one gerund phrase ("making judgment calls"). Any such list needs every one of its items to be the same kind of item, so they can be properly grouped together. The only answer choice to feature a correct parallel structure is "who were required to read documents, to argue contentious points, and to make judgement calls."

Example Question #42 : 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 car began having problems after a long road trip, after which it had a faulty battery and the brakes were not working.

Possible Answers:

after which it having a faulty battery and the brakes were not working

after which it had the faulty battery and the brakes were not working

after which it had a faulty battery and the brakes were not working

after that it had a faulty battery and the brakes were not working

after which it had a faulty battery and non-working brakes

Correct answer:

after which it had a faulty battery and non-working brakes

Explanation:

The phrase at the end of the sentence has two very different constructions for its objects, one simple description involving an object that is a noun ("it had a faulty battery"), and the other a verbal phrase ("the brakes were not working"). In a dependent clause with two objects, both need to have the same structure. The only answer choice with a correct parallel structure is "after which it had a faulty battery and non-working brakes."

Example Question #72 : 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.

Children today are involved in too many activities, between art classes, language lessons, and participating in sports.

Possible Answers:

between the art classes, the language lessons, and the participating in sports.

between art classes, language lessons, and participating in sports.

between art classes, language lessons, and sports.

between art classes, language lessons, participating in sports.

among art classes, language lessons, and participating in sports.

Correct answer:

between art classes, language lessons, and sports.

Explanation:

The list that finishes this sentence must feature three similar items, so they can be properly grouped together. The list is written with two simple nouns ("art classes" and "language lessons") and one gerund phrase ("participating in sports"), meaning they need to be changed to matching items. The only answer choice that features a correct parallel structure is "between art classes, language lessons, and sports."

Example Question #42 : 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 to focus.

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

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 focusing.

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 #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.

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

Possible Answers:

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

and excelled at running, jumping, and kicking.

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

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

and excelling at running, jumping, and their 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."

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