PSAT Writing : Correcting Parallel Structure Errors

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for PSAT Writing

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Example Questions

Example Question #82 : 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. One of the answer choices reproduces the underlined portion as it is written in the sentence.

Due to recent droughts, the price of soybeans is currently greater than corn.

Possible Answers:

is currently greater than the price of corn

is currently greater than corn

are currently greater than corn

has been currently greater than the price of corn

has currently been greater than corn

Correct answer:

is currently greater than the price of corn

Explanation:

The original text contains a faulty comparison. It compares the price of soybeans to corn itself, rather than comparing the price of soybeans to the price of corn. 

Only answer choices "is currently greater than the price of corn" and "has been currently greater than the price of corn" draw the comparison correctly, but answer chioice "has been currently greater than the price of corn" contains a tense error. Since the sentence includes the word "currently," we know we should use present tense. Therefore, answer choice "is currently greater than the price of corn" is correct.

Example Question #83 : 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.

Just before she was required to give her speech, the young girl froze, turned pale, and she couldn’t say the words.

Possible Answers:

the young girl froze, turned pale, and couldn’t say the words.

the young girl froze, turned pale, and then she couldn’t say the words.

the young girl froze, and turning pale, she couldn’t say the words.

the young girl froze, turned pale, and she couldn’t say the words.

the young girl froze, she turned pale, and she couldn't say the words.

Correct answer:

the young girl froze, turned pale, and couldn’t say the words.

Explanation:

The sentence must have proper parallel structure, which means that all of the items listed must be the same type of word. The first two words in the list are verbs ("froze" and "turned pale"), so the last item in the list should also begin with a verb. So, the pronoun "she" should be removed so that "couldn't say," a past tense verb, matches the other items in the list. The simplest and most concise wording is correct.  

Example Question #72 : Correcting Other 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. One of the answer choices reproduces the underlined portion as it is written in the sentence.

Hunters need an innate sense both of where their target has been and where it has gone.

Possible Answers:

and where it has gone before.

and where it has been going.

and where it is going.

and where it has gone.

and where going it has been.

Correct answer:

and where it is going.

Explanation:

The use of "both...and" in the sentence indicates that the two verb forms are actually contrasted in the sentence and should not be parallel. Therefore, the verb in the underlined portion should indicate either what is taking place now or will take place in the future. "And where it is going," is the correct answer choice.

Example Question #64 : 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. One of the answer choices reproduces the underlined portion as it is written in the sentence.

The woman was an active girl who liked playing with toys and to run in parks.

Possible Answers:

to playing with toys and to running in parks.

to play with toys and running in parks.

to play with toys and to run in parks.

playing with toys and to run in parks.

playing with toys, running in parks.

Correct answer:

to play with toys and to run in parks.

Explanation:

The pairing of the two phrases indicate that they need to have a parrallel  tense for each verb. Only two answer choices, "to play with toys and to run in parks," and "playing with toys, running in parks," are parrallel, and "playing with toys, running in parks," should be separated by a conjunction.

Example Question #71 : Correcting Other 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.

According to state regulations, all first aid kits should contain bandages, alcohol swabs, pain relievers, and an ointment.

Possible Answers:

bandages, alcohol swabs, pain relievers, and a ointment.

 

bandages, alcohol swabs, pain relievers, and an ointment. 

bandages, alcohol swabs, pain relievers, and ointments.

 

bandages, alcohol swabs, pain relievers, and also a bottle of ointment.

 

some bandages, alcohol swabs, pain relievers, and an ointment.

Correct answer:

bandages, alcohol swabs, pain relievers, and ointments.

 

Explanation:

The rule of parallel structure tells us that the sentence should be consistent in its pattern. Because the sentence refers to “all first aid kits,” all of the nouns—"bandages," "alcohol swabs," "pain relievers," and "an ointment"—should be plural. "An ointment" is the only noun in the list that isn't plural, so replacing it with "ointments" fixes the sentences error.

Example Question #73 : Correcting Other 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 begins each day by drinking coffee, watching the news, and plans the rest of her day.

 

Possible Answers:

watches the news, and planning the rest of her day.

watched the news, and planned the rest of her day.

watches the news, and plans the rest of her day.

watching the news, and planning the rest of her day.

watching the news, and plans the rest of her day.

Correct answer:

watching the news, and planning the rest of her day.

Explanation:

The tense of all verbs must be parallel, and since the given verb “drinking” is a present participle, the only appropriate options are “watching” and “planning.”

You can therefore eliminate options in which "watch" and "plan" don't agree with each other, as well as options in which those verbs don't agree with "drinking." You are left only with "My mother begins each day by drinking coffee, watching the news, and planning the rest of her day," which is the correct answer.

 

Example Question #61 : 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. One of the answer choices reproduces the underlined portion as it is written in the sentence.

When one compares the works of Edgar Degas to other Impressionist painters, one grasps the uniqueness of his brushstrokes.

Possible Answers:

When one compares the works of Edgar Degas to other Impressionist painters, one would grasp the uniqueness of his brushstrokes. 

When one compares the works of Edgar Degas to other Impressionist painters, one grasps the uniqueness of his brushstrokes. 

When one compares the works of Edgar Degas to those of other Impressionist painters, one grasps the uniqueness of his brushstrokes. 

If one compares the works of Edgar Degas to other Impressionist painters, one grasps the uniqueness of his brushstrokes. 

When one compares the works of Edgar Degas to the other Impressionist painters, one grasps the uniqueness of his brushstrokes. 

Correct answer:

When one compares the works of Edgar Degas to those of other Impressionist painters, one grasps the uniqueness of his brushstrokes. 

Explanation:

One cannot compare “works” to “painters.”  One must compare the works of Degas to those of other painters.

Example Question #101 : Other 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.

Artistic ability is an inborn skill, but always needs to be developed to become a truly great artist.

Possible Answers:

Artistic ability is an inborn skill, but always needs to be developed to become a truly great artist.

Artistic ability is an inborn skill, but always needing to be developed to become a truly great artist.

Artistic ability is an inborn skill, but always needs to be developed, to become a truly great artist.

Artistic ability is an inborn skill but always needs to be developed to become a truly great artist.

Artistic ability is an inborn skill, but always needs to be developed for someone to become a truly great artist.

Correct answer:

Artistic ability is an inborn skill, but always needs to be developed for someone to become a truly great artist.

Explanation:

The last phrase of the sentence is confusing, as it is unclear exactly who is becoming "a truly great artist." The sentence is best served by making it clear who can become the "truly great artist." The answer choice that best fixes the issue is "Artistic ability is an inborn skill, but always needs to be developed for someone to become a truly great artist."

Example Question #71 : Correcting Parallel Structure Errors

Athletes frequently find the hardest period of their lives is when they can no longer perform the tasks they could as young.

Possible Answers:

they could as young as they were.

they could be as young.

they could when they were young.

 they could as young.

they could do young.

Correct answer:

they could when they were young.

Explanation:

The problem with the end of the sentence is that the underlined phrase has an unclear reference. "They could as young" does not have an obvious comparison being made. The answer choice "they could when they were young," is the best improvement on the sentence.

Example Question #71 : Correcting Parallel Structure Errors

Alexander held his intelligence in high regard, and so he believed that his grades should be higher than the other students in the class.

Possible Answers:

should cause his being higher

would necessitate being highest among

should be higher than those of

would have to be the highest among 

should be higher

Correct answer:

should be higher than those of

Explanation:

The initial sentence contains an illogical comparison. Her grades cannot be higher than the other students. They can only be higher than the grades of the other students. In this sentence, the pronoun those can stand in for grades.

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