SAT Writing : Correcting Parallel Structure Errors

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for SAT Writing

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Example Questions

Example Question #11 : Correcting Parallel Structure Errors

Very few professional athletes are in the top percentile for running, jumping, and the ability to throw.

Possible Answers:

for running jumping and throwing.

for running, jumping, and throwing.

for running, jumping, and the ability to throw.

for the abilty in running, jumping, and to throw.

for running jumping and the ability to throw.

Correct answer:

for running, jumping, and throwing.

Explanation:

The list at the end of the sentence features different verb forms. Any list of such verbs all need to take the same form for a parallel structure; therefore, the correct answer is "for running, jumping, and throwing."

Example Question #12 : Correcting Parallel Structure Errors

The boys all enjoyed swimming, hiking, and to run on the camp's property.

Possible Answers:

to swim, hiking, and to run on the camp's property.

to swim, to hike, and to run on the camp's property.

swimming, hiking, and to run on the camp's property.

to swimming, to hiking, and to running on the camp's property.

swimming, to hike, and to run on the camp's property.

Correct answer:

to swim, to hike, and to run on the camp's property.

Explanation:

The three activities in the list all need to have a parallel structure, and be grammatically correct, ruling out the answer choice featuring the construction "to running . . ." The best answer choice, therefore, is "to swim, to hike, and to run on the camp's property."

Example Question #11 : Correcting Parallel Structure Errors

The actor's moods would swing wildly, and in the span of five minutes he could want to fight, to sing, and discussing important topics.

Possible Answers:

to fight, to sing, and discussing important topics.

to fight to sing and discussing important topics.

to fight, to sing, and to discuss important topics.

to fight, singing, and discussing important topics.

to fight, to sing and discussing important topics.

Correct answer:

to fight, to sing, and to discuss important topics.

Explanation:

Any list like the one underlined in the sentence must feature a parallel structure in word form. Otherwise, as in the sentence, it compares unlike things such as a "want to fight" and "discussing important topics." The sentence needs to be improved to feature a parallel structure, something only done by the answer choice "to fight, to sing, and to discuss important topics."

Example Question #13 : Correcting Parallel Structure Errors

The overbearing woman relentlessly criticized the girls for wearing makeup, having parties, and their inappropriate dress.

Possible Answers:

for wearing makeup, in having parties, and their inappropriate dress.

for wearing makeup, having parties, and there inappropriate dress.

for wearing makeup, having parties, and dressing inappropriately.

for wearing makeup, having parties, and their inappropriately dressed.

for wearing makeup, having parties, and their inappropriate dress.

Correct answer:

for wearing makeup, having parties, and dressing inappropriately.

Explanation:

The list that forms the underlined portion of the sentence has three items, but one is in a different format to the others, meaning unlike things are grouped together. Any such list needs to feature a parallel structure, where all the forms match each other. The only answer choice that appropriately does this is "for wearing makeup, having parties, and dressing inappropriately."

Example Question #14 : Correcting Parallel Structure Errors

To fish, hunting, and forage are necessary survival skills the group wanted to teach children.

Possible Answers:

Fishing, hunting, and forage 

To fish, hunting, and forage 

To fish, hunting, and foraging 

Fishing, hunting, and foraging

To fish, hunt, and foraging

Correct answer:

Fishing, hunting, and foraging

Explanation:

The list underlined in the sentence contains three unlike things, as the forms of the words are all quite different. All such lists need to feature a parallel structure to show it is a list of similar things. The correct answer choice, therefore, is "Fishing, hunting, and foraging." 

Example Question #21 : Correcting Parallel Structure Errors

The father was concerned about his children reading too little and to watch too much TV.

Possible Answers:

reading too little and watching too much TV.

reading very little and to watch very much TV.

reading too little and to watch too much TV.

reading little and to watch much TV.

reading too little and watch too much TV.

Correct answer:

reading too little and watching too much TV.

Explanation:

The two elements in the underlined portion of the sentence describe two different kinds of action, "reading" and "to watch." They need to be changed to have a similar structure to be described in the same clause; therefore, the correct answer choice is "reading too little and watching too much TV."

Example Question #42 : Phrase, Clause, And Sentence 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. 

either pundits and laymen. 

both pundits and laymen. 

neither pundits nor laymen. 

pundits or 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 #12 : 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.

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

Possible Answers:

cutting, sewing, and designing clothing.

to cut, to sew, and to design clothing.

cutting, sewing, and the designing of clothing.

cutting, sewing, and the design of clothing.

cutting, sewing, and designing clothings.

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 #15 : 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 #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.

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

Possible Answers:

Singing dancing and the ability to act

Singing, to dance, and the ability to act

Singing, dancing, and acting

Singing, dancing, and the ability to act

Singing, dancing, and the ability of 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.

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