SAT Writing : Correcting Parallel Structure Errors

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for SAT Writing

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Example Questions

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Example Question #1021 : Psat Writing Skills

In the following question, please choose the best sentence improvement.

The vineyards of Napa Valley are at once breathlessly vibrant, symmetrical, and the green is profound.

Possible Answers:

and profoundly green.

and the green is profound.

and it is profoundly green.

and so profound green.

and its green is quite profound.

Correct answer:

and profoundly green.

Explanation:

This sentence requires parallelism across all elements. Only "profoundly green" matches "breathlessly vibrant" and "symmetrical."

Example Question #1 : Correcting Parallel Structure Errors

The kids took too much time cleaning their rooms, left little time to do outdoor chores.

Possible Answers:

left few times to do outdoor chores.

leaving little time to doing outdoor chores.

left little time to had done outdoor chores.

leaving little time to do outdoor chores.

left little time to do outdoor chores.

Correct answer:

leaving little time to do outdoor chores.

Explanation:

The underlined phrase in the sentence, being the second part of a complex sentence, needs to have a parallel structure to the phrase in the first half of the sentence; therefore, "leaving little time to do outdoor chores," is the best choice among the answers.

Example Question #2 : Correcting Parallel Structure Errors

In the following question, please choose the best sentence improvement.

When choosing a sport, youths are encouraged to consider its difficulty, its required skills, its necessary equipment, and its overall cost.

Possible Answers:

the money needed for it.

its overall cost.

if it costs money.

how much it costs overall.

the cost of it.

Correct answer:

its overall cost.

Explanation:

In this question, only the original sentence shows parallelism. Any choice other than "its overall cost" would not exhibit parallel structure with the sentence's other elements.

Example Question #1 : Correcting Parallel Structure Errors

The teacher sought new ways of teaching, believing her students would get more from lessons featuring playing, acting, and creativity.

Possible Answers:

featuring playing, acting, and creating.

featuring playing, acting, and creative things. 

featuring the playing, acting, and creativity.

featuring playing, acting, and creativity.

featuring play, act, and creativity.

Correct answer:

featuring playing, acting, and creating.

Explanation:

The underlined portion of the sentence features a list of verbs, but they are not all in a parallel form. All such lists must feature a parallel structure for the verbs listed; therefore, the correct answer is "featuring playing, acting, and creating."

Example Question #1 : Correcting Parallel Structure Errors

Stretching before physical workouts is important to improve flexibility and avoiding injury.

Possible Answers:

are important to improve flexibility and avoiding injury.

is important to improve flexibility and in the avoidance of injury.

is important to improve flexibility and being injured less.

is important to both improve flexibility and also avoid injury.

is important to improve flexibility and avoid injury.

Correct answer:

is important to improve flexibility and avoid injury.

Explanation:

Paralellism:  in a list of two or more items in a sentence, each should be worded in the same manner for consistency. One choice changes "is" to "are," which is incorrect because the subject is the singular "stretching," not the plural "workouts," which is part of a prepositional phrase.

Example Question #2 : Correcting Parallel Structure Errors

Writing an additional sentence for each paragraph you have is easier than the writing of a brand new paragraph altogether.

Possible Answers:

writing

one's writing of

the writing of

when you must write

when one has to write

Correct answer:

writing

Explanation:

It is not a parallel comparison. The comparison should match, and state that writing something is easier than writing something.

Example Question #1881 : Act English

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

Possible Answers:

academically and in his social life.

academics and in his social life.

both academcially and in his social life.

both academically and socially.

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 #6 : 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 try to paint, to sing, or to dance.

always tries painting, singing, or to dance.

always 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 #2321 : Sat Writing

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 an ability to dance.

at acting, singing, and to dance.

in acting, singing, and an ability to dance.

at acting, singing, and dancing.

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 play, to learn, and to relax.

to playing, learning, and to relax.

to playing, learning, to relax.

to playing, to learning, and to relax.

to playing, learning, and 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."

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