SAT Writing : Correcting Parallel Structure Errors

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for SAT Writing

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Example Questions

Example Question #21 : 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 soccer players were required to be skilled at kicking, running, and defensive skills.

Possible Answers:

at the kicking, the running, and the defensive skills.

at kicking, running, and defending.

at kicking, running, and defensive skills.

at kicking, running, and their defensive skills.

at kicking, running, and defensive.

Correct answer:

at kicking, running, and defending.

Explanation:

The list featured in the underlined section is united by the same verb, but it does not have the same structure in all of its elements, two of which are gerunds ("kicking" and "running") and one of which is a noun phrase ("defensive skills"). The sentence needs to have its elements changed so that they match each other. Only "at kicking, running, and defending" features the appropriate parallel structure.

Example Question #21 : 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.

Neither bigotry nor hating will be tolerated anymore in the new nation.

Possible Answers:

Neither bigots nor hating 

Neither bigotry nor hatred

Neither bigotry nor hating 

Either bigotry nor hating 

Neither bigotry or hating 

Correct answer:

Neither bigotry nor hatred

Explanation:

"Bigotry" and "hating" are described in the same "Neither...nor" phrase, but are actually two different forms, a noun and a participle. To appropriately be joined, the two must have a parallel structure. The only answer choice with a correct parallel structure is "Neither bigotry nor hatred," in which both "bigotry" and "hatred" are nouns.

Example Question #71 : 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.

For years, their mother had been concerned about how they ate, cleaned, and behaving.

Possible Answers:

whether they ate, cleaned, and behaving.

how they ate, cleaned, and behaving.

how they were eating, cleaned, and behaving.

how they ate, cleaning, and behaving.

how they ate, cleaned, and behaved.

Correct answer:

how they ate, cleaned, and behaved.

Explanation:

The list at the end of the sentence, "ate, cleaned, and behaving," contains the sentence's error. The list should have a parallel structure and feature verbs that each have the same tense. While "ate" and "cleaned" employ the past tense, "behaving" is a present participle. The only answer choice that employs parallel structure correctly is "how they ate, cleaned, and behaved," in whcih all of the verbs are conjugated to be in the past tense.

Example Question #21 : 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 puppies all showed signs of being in good health, as they all enjoyed running, chasing, and play.

Possible Answers:

running, chasing, and playing.

run, chasing, and play.

running, chase, and play.

running, chasing, and to play.

running, chasing, and play.

Correct answer:

running, chasing, and playing.

Explanation:

The list at the end of the sentence features three elements, "running," "chasing," and "play," which do not have a parallel structure because the present conjugation of "play" does not match the present participle conjugation of "running" and "chasing." Because there is not a parallel structure, the sentence is joining together unlike items. The only answer choice that features a parallel structure is "running, chasing, and playing."

Example Question #51 : 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.

Like her mother, the girl had special abilities in styling and in her dress.

Possible Answers:

in styling and from her dress.

in the styling and in the dress.

in styling and her dress.

in her style and in her dress.

in styling and in her dress.

Correct answer:

in her style and in her dress.

Explanation:

"Styling" and "her dress" are two different objects of the same verb "had." As such, the two words need to employ parallel structure and be in the same form. The answer choice that features a parallel structure is "in her style and in her dress."

Example Question #21 : 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 school sought to create well-rounded individuals, making students who were painters, musicians, and participating in athletics.

Possible Answers:

who were painting, musicians, and participating in athletics.

who were painters and musicians and participate in athletics.

who were painters, musicians, and participate in athletics.

who were painters, musicians, and athletes.

who were painters, musicians, and participating in athletics.

Correct answer:

who were painters, musicians, and athletes.

Explanation:

The list in the underlined portion of the sentence features three objects attached to the same verb, but these three objects are different kinds of words, describing different things. Any list like this one must feature a parallel structure, where all the items match in terms of tense and word form. The only answer choice to have such a parallel structure is "who were painters, musicians, and athletes."

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 new organization needed people who could write, sell, and marketing their products.

Possible Answers:

who could writing, sell, and marketing their products.

who could write, sell, and marketing their products.

who could write, sell, and market their products.

who could write, selling, and marketing their products.

who could write, sell, and in marketing their products.

Correct answer:

who could write, sell, and market their products.

Explanation:

The list contained in the underlined portion of the sentence features unlike elements, meaning that the verb describes unlike objects. The list needs to feature a parallel structure of elements that each have the same tense and word form. The only answer choice that features a correct parallel structure is "who could write, sell, and market their products."

Example Question #21 : 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.

Whether or not a protest was made, every decision was either reviewed or debating by the committee.

Possible Answers:

either reviewed or debated by the committee.

either be reviewed or debating by the committee.

either reviewed or debating in the committee.

either reviewed or debating by the committee.

either reviewed or debating by a committee.

Correct answer:

either reviewed or debated by the committee.

Explanation:

In any "either . . . or" phrase, the elements compared must be of the same type, so that an equal comparison can be made. In the sentence, "reviewed" and "debating" do not follow such a parallel structure, because "reviewed" is a past tense verb while "debating" is a present participle. The only answer choice that employs parallel structure correctly is "either reviewed or debated by the committee."

Example Question #91 : 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.

His management style was to always be remarkably energetic, neither too intense nor too calming.

Possible Answers:

neither too intense nor too calm.

neither too intense or too calming.

neither too intense nor too calmed.

neither too intense, nor too calming.

neither too intensely nor too calming.

Correct answer:

neither too intense nor too calm.

Explanation:

"Intense" and "calming" are two different parts of speech, but are joined in the same "neither...nor" phrase. In any such phrase, the two items described must have a parallel structure. The only answer choice with a parallel structure is "neither too intense nor too calm."

Example Question #21 : 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.

The boys had to choose either playing with the new video game or to run outside.

Possible Answers:

either playing with the new video game or running outside. 

either playing with the new video game or to be run outside. 

either playing with the new video game or to run outside. 

either playing with a new video game or to run outside. 

either playing with the new video game, or to run outside. 

Correct answer:

either playing with the new video game or running outside. 

Explanation:

Any "either...or" construction has to feature a parallel structure that includes each item given, and this sentence uses a gerund and an infinitive. The two forms must be the same to be grammatically correct. Therefore, the correct answer choice is "either playing with the new video game or running outside."

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