PSAT Writing : Correcting Parallel Structure Errors

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for PSAT Writing

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Example Questions

Example Question #71 : Correcting Other Phrase, Clause, And Sentence Errors

Select the best answer from the choices given.

Excited by the prospect of starting a yoga studio, Kim's first decision needed to be where she could rent mats and space.

Possible Answers:

Kim first had to decide where it was to rent mats and space.

Kim's first decision needed to be where she could rent mats and space.

Kim's first decision had to be regarding renting mats and space and where it would be.

Kim first had to decide where to rent mats and space.

renting mats and space had to be what Kim's first decision was about.

Correct answer:

Kim first had to decide where to rent mats and space.

Explanation:

The participle "excited" modifies the subject of the main clause of the sentence, but it's still illogical to say that a decision is excited. The only logical subject is Kim, but "Kim first had to decide where it was to rent mats and space" is awkward and unidiomatic, so the best choice is "Kim first had to decide where to rent mats and space."

Example Question #81 : 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 repeats the underlined portion as it is written.

Most animals have a less impressive sense of vision than humans did.

Possible Answers:

from humans.

than humans did.

for humans.

than humans.

than humans had.

Correct answer:

than humans.

Explanation:

The underlined phrase functions as a comparison in the sentence, between humans and "most animals." Thus, the phrase needs to appropriately compare in the same manner as the other mention of the trait in the sentence. "Than humans" is the correct answer choice. The "did" is an extraneous verb that introduces an error by being in the past tense when the verb that appears prior to it in the sentence, "have," is in the present tense.

Example Question #71 : 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.

Thomas Jefferson was a lawyer in Virginia, a member of the House of Burgesses, and he wrote the Declaration of Independence.

Possible Answers:

and the writer of the Declaration of Independence.

and he wrote the Declaration of Independence.

and writing the Declaration of Independence.

and the one who wrote the Declaration of Independence.

and was the writer of the Declaration of Independence.

Correct answer:

and the writer of the Declaration of Independence.

Explanation:

The correct answer best follows the laws of parallelism. Like “a lawyer” and “a member,” “the writer” is a noun preceded by an article.

Example Question #71 : 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.

Neither hunting nor a trapped animal ensures a guaranteed succesful trip for an outdoorsman.

Possible Answers:

Neither hunting nor a trapped animal ensured

Either hunting nor a trapped animal ensures

Neither hunting nor trapping an animal ensures

Neither hunting nor a trapped animal ensures

Neither hunting or a trapped animal ensures

Correct answer:

Neither hunting nor trapping an animal ensures

Explanation:

In any "Neither...nor" phrase, each element described must be of a similar nature, so the phrase is describing similar objects. The sentence has two dissimilar objects in the phrase as it is written. The only answer choice that has an appropriate parallel structure is "Neither hunting nor trapping an animal ensures."

Example Question #72 : 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 finer points of military strategy were lost on the general, who much preferred just fighting, charging, and to fire.

Possible Answers:

just fighting charging and firing.

just fighting, charging, and to fire.

only fighting, charging, and to fire.

just fighting charging and to fire.

just fighting, charging, and firing

Correct answer:

just fighting, charging, and firing

Explanation:

In any list of verbs, such as the one in the underlined portion, all the verbs need to be in the same form. Additionally, all such lists need to have each item separated by commas. The correct answer, therefore, is "just fighting, charging, and firing."

Example Question #81 : 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.

To alleviate stress, Margaret liked to bake chocolate cakes and swim laps but never to be practicing yoga.

Possible Answers:

rather than practice yoga.

but never to be practicing yoga.

more than to practice yoga.

and not to be practicing yoga.

rather than be practicing yoga.

Correct answer:

rather than practice yoga.

Explanation:

The cleanest and most logical coordinator here is “rather than,” and the verb should be in the same grammatical format as the ones before it.

Example Question #82 : 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.

Our history teacher says that she enjoys teaching our class more than most classes she teaches.

Possible Answers:

she enjoys teaching our class more than she teaches other classes

she does enjoy teaching our class more so than most classes she teaches

she enjoys teaching our class more than she does teaching other classes

she enjoys teaching our class more than most classes she teaches

she enjoys teaching our class more than she enjoys teaching other classes

Correct answer:

she enjoys teaching our class more than she enjoys teaching other classes

Explanation:

As written, we have an unequal comparison; the fact that she enjoys teaching our class is being compared to most classes she teaches. The sentence must compare how much the teacher enjoys teaching one class to how much she enjoys teaching the other classes. 

Example Question #82 : 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.

Younger employees often struggle with time management, balancing workloads, and file organization.

Possible Answers:

with time management balancing workloads and file organization.

with time management, workload balancing, and file organization.

with time management, balancing workloads, and file organization.

with things like time management, balancing workloads, and file organization.

for time management, balancing workloads, and file organization.

Correct answer:

with time management, workload balancing, and file organization.

Explanation:

The list in the underlined portion of the sentence, "time management, balancing workloads, and file organization," contains three items which do not describe similar actions with their structure. The three items should match in any list structured like the one in the sentence. The only answer choice that features such a parallel structure is "with time management, workload balancing, and file organization."

Example Question #81 : 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 President's speech avoided both the recent scandal and how women were disenfranchised in politics.

Possible Answers:

the recent scandal: how women were disenfranchised in politics.

the recent scandal, as well as how women were disenfranchised in politics.

both the recent scandal and how women were disenfranchised in politics.

both the recent scandal and the disenfranchisement of women in politics.

the recent scandal of how women were disenfranchised in politics.

Correct answer:

both the recent scandal and the disenfranchisement of women in politics.

Explanation:

All elements in a list should be parallel: they should be of the same structure. Choose the answer that keeps elements parallel: "the recent scandal and the disenfranchisement . . ."

Example Question #82 : 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 new manager came in like a house on fire, changing schedules, switching assignments, and broke old rules.

Possible Answers:

changing schedules, switching assignments, and broke old rules.

change schedules, switch assignments, and broke old rules.

changing schedules, switching assignments, and break old rules.

changing schedule, switching assignment, and broke old rule.

changing schedules, switching assignments, and breaking old rules.

Correct answer:

changing schedules, switching assignments, and breaking old rules.

Explanation:

In any list like the one in the underlined portion of the sentence, all the verbs in the dependent clause need to be in the same form to show the subject is doing similar actions. The only answer choice that appropriately features such parallel structure is "changing schedules, switching assignments, and breaking old rules."

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