SAT Writing : Correcting Parallel Structure Errors

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for SAT Writing

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Example Questions

Example Question #41 : 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.

A good artist does not just have an ability to draw figures, but also excels at shading, coloring, and to frame.

Possible Answers:

but also excels at shading, coloring, and framing

but also excels at shading, coloring, and to frame

but also excels in shading, coloring, and to frame

but excels at shading, coloring, and to frame

but also excelling at shading, coloring, and to frame

Correct answer:

but also excels at shading, coloring, and framing

Explanation:

The list that ends this sentence contains three unlike items, two gerunds ("shading" and "coloring") and an infinitive ("to frame"). Any such list needs to feature a parallel structure, with all items being the same kind of word. The only answer choice that features a correct parallel structure is "but also excels at shading, coloring, and framing."

Example Question #1021 : Improving Sentences

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 entire process was overseen by a small committee of select members who were required to read documents, to argue contentious points, and making judgement calls.

Possible Answers:

who were required to read documents, to argue contentious points, and to make judgement calls

who were required to read documents, to argue contentious points, and making judgement calls

who were required in reading documents, to argue contentious points, and making judgement calls

who was required to read documents, to argue contentious points, and making judgement calls

who were requiring to read documents, to argue contentious points, and making judgement calls

Correct answer:

who were required to read documents, to argue contentious points, and to make judgement calls

Explanation:

The list of requirements of the committe contains two infinitive phrases ("to read documents" and "to argue contentious points") and one gerund phrase ("making judgment calls"). Any such list needs every one of its items to be the same kind of item, so they can be properly grouped together. The only answer choice to feature a correct parallel structure is "who were required to read documents, to argue contentious points, and to make judgement calls."

Example Question #71 : 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 car began having problems after a long road trip, after which it had a faulty battery and the brakes were not working.

Possible Answers:

after that it had a faulty battery and the brakes were not working

after which it had a faulty battery and the brakes were not working

after which it had the faulty battery and the brakes were not working

after which it having a faulty battery and the brakes were not working

after which it had a faulty battery and non-working brakes

Correct answer:

after which it had a faulty battery and non-working brakes

Explanation:

The phrase at the end of the sentence has two very different constructions for its objects, one simple description involving an object that is a noun ("it had a faulty battery"), and the other a verbal phrase ("the brakes were not working"). In a dependent clause with two objects, both need to have the same structure. The only answer choice with a correct parallel structure is "after which it had a faulty battery and non-working brakes."

Example Question #42 : 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.

Children today are involved in too many activities, between art classes, language lessons, and participating in sports.

Possible Answers:

between the art classes, the language lessons, and the participating in sports.

between art classes, language lessons, and sports.

between art classes, language lessons, and participating in sports.

among art classes, language lessons, and participating in sports.

between art classes, language lessons, participating in sports.

Correct answer:

between art classes, language lessons, and sports.

Explanation:

The list that finishes this sentence must feature three similar items, so they can be properly grouped together. The list is written with two simple nouns ("art classes" and "language lessons") and one gerund phrase ("participating in sports"), meaning they need to be changed to matching items. The only answer choice that features a correct parallel structure is "between art classes, language lessons, and sports."

Example Question #71 : 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.

Her new trainer's methods were slightly different, as she deemphasized running and emphasized breathing, balancing, and to focus.

Possible Answers:

as she deemphasized: running, and emphasized breathing, balancing, and to focus.

as she was deemphasized running and emphasized breathing, balancing, and to focus.

as she deemphasized, running, and emphasized breathing, balancing, and to focus.

as she deemphasized running and emphasized breathing, balancing, and to focus.

as she deemphasized running and emphasized breathing, balancing, and focusing.

Correct answer:

as she deemphasized running and emphasized breathing, balancing, and focusing.

Explanation:

The list that finishes this sentence features unlike word forms in its items: it includes two gerunds ("breathing" and "balancing") and one infinitive ("to focus"). Any such list needs to feature words in the same form so that they can be properly grouped together, so the infinitive is not grammatically correct in this sentence. The only answer choice with an appropriate parallel structure is "as she deemphasized running and emphasized breathing, balancing, and focusing."

Example Question #41 : 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 new players were much more athletic, and excelled at running, jumping, and their ability to kick.

Possible Answers:

and excelling at running, jumping, and their ability to kick.

and excelled in running, jumping, and their ability to kick.

and excelled at running, jumping, and their ability to kick.

and excelled at running, jumping, and kicking.

and excelled at running, jumping, and an ability to kick.

Correct answer:

and excelled at running, jumping, and kicking.

Explanation:

The list that finishes this sentence inappropriately groups together unlike items. It features two gerunds, "running" and "jumping," and the noun phrase "their ability to kick." Any such list needs to feature similar items that feature the same construction. The only answer choice that features a correct parallel structure is "and excelled at running, jumping, and kicking."

Example Question #51 : 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.

Every new enrollee must choose to have either specific benefits or working a set shift.

Possible Answers:

to have neither specific benefits or working a set shift.

to have either specific benefits or a set work shift.

to have either specific benefits or working a set shift.

having either specific benefits or working a set shift.

to have either specific benefits, or working a set shift.

Correct answer:

to have either specific benefits or a set work shift.

Explanation:

Any "either . . . or" phrase must feature similar items, so they can be properly grouped in the same phrase. However, the sentence is written so that its "either . . . or" phrase contains unlike elements, a noun ("specific benefits") and a gerund phrase ("working a set shift"). The only answer choice that features correct parallel structure in the phrase is "to have either specific benefits or a set work shift," which changes the gerund phrase to a noun so that the "either . . . or" phrase contains two nouns.

Example Question #71 : 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 executives scrapped the project because it had problems in design, expenses, and to fulfill its timetable.

Possible Answers:

it had problems in design, expenses, and timetable fulfillment.

it having problems in design, expenses, and to fulfill its timetable.

that had problems in design, expenses, and to fulfill its timetable.

it had problems in design, expenses, and to fulfill its timetable.

it had problems for design, expenses, and to fulfill its timetable.

Correct answer:

it had problems in design, expenses, and timetable fulfillment.

Explanation:

A list like the one that finishes this sentence needs to include three similar items, so that they can be properly grouped together. The sentence in this question, though, features two nouns ("design" and "expenses") and an infinitive phrase ("to fulfill its timetable"), meaning that the list needs to be changed so that all of its elements match. The only answer choice with a correct parallel structure is "it had problems in design, expenses, and timetable fulfillment," which changes the infinitive phrase "to fulfill its timetable" to a noun, "timetable fulfillment," that matches the other two nouns in the list.

Example Question #71 : 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 antibiotics nor the use of disinfectants helped slow the spread of the disease.

Possible Answers:

Neither the use of antibiotics nor disinfectants helped slow

Neither antibiotics or the use of disinfectants helped slow

Neither antibiotics nor the use of disinfectants helped slow

Neither antibiotics nor the use of disinfectants helping slow

Neither antibiotics nor the use of disinfectants helped to slow

Correct answer:

Neither the use of antibiotics nor disinfectants helped slow

Explanation:

In any "neither . . . nor" phrase, each item being compared has to be the same kind of item so a proper comparison can be made. The sentence is written with two different elements, the simple noun "antibiotics" and the verbal phrase "the use of disinfectants." The only answer choice that uses an appropriate parallel structure, by redeploying the verbal phrase to cover both items, is "Neither the use of antibiotics nor disinfectants helped slow."

Example Question #42 : 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.

Can you tell me how to get to either the post office or the police station?

Possible Answers:

get to either the post office nor the police station?

get to either the post office or the police station?

get to; either the post office or the police station?

get to the post office or either the police station?

get to either the post office and the police station?

Correct answer:

get to either the post office or the police station?

Explanation:

The initial sentence is correct. The use of "either" in this manner requires that it be accompanied by "or."

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