SAT Writing : Correcting Parallel Structure Errors

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for SAT Writing

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Example Questions

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.

Scientists have determined that the risk factors for cardiovascular disease include family history, poor diet, and having an excess of stress.

Possible Answers:

include family history, poor diet, and having an excess of stress.

include family history, poor diet, and excessive stress.

include family history, poor diet, and having an excessive amount of stress.

tends to include family history, poor diet, and excessive stress.

includes family history, poor diet, and excessive stress.

Correct answer:

include family history, poor diet, and excessive stress.

Explanation:

The answer choice "include family history, poor diet, and excessive stress" is correct because it contains appropriate parallelism—in this case, a list of three noun phrases.

The original text "include family history, poor diet, and having an excess of stress" and the answer choice "include family history, poor diet, and having an excessive amount of stress" contain faulty parallelism—the last item in the list includes the verb "having" whereas the first two items in the list do not employ verbs. These answers are therefore incorrect.

Answer choices "includes family history, poor diet, and excessive stress" and "tends to include family history, poor diet, and excessive stress" are incorrect because they both use singular predicates for the plural subject, "risk factors for cardiovascular disease."

Example Question #1082 : Psat Writing Skills

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.

 

In her time, Charlotte Bronte was the most revered of the three Bronte sisters; however, she was neither arrogant or complacent about her notoriety.

Possible Answers:

most revered of the three Bronte sisters, however, she was neither arrogant nor complacent about her notoriety.

most revered of the three Bronte sisters; however, she was neither arrogant or complacent about her notoriety.

most revered of the three Bronte sisters, however, she was neither arrogant nor complacent with regards to her notoriety.

most revered of the three Bronte sisters; however, she was neither arrogant nor complacent about her notoriety.

more revered of the three Bronte sisters; however, she was neither arrogant nor complacent about her notoriety.

Correct answer:

most revered of the three Bronte sisters; however, she was neither arrogant nor complacent about her notoriety.

Explanation:

The original text contains an incorrect use of correlative conjunctions. "Neither" must be followed somewhere later in the sentence by "nor."

The answer choices "most revered of the three Bronte sisters, however, she was neither arrogant nor complacent about her notoriety" and "most revered of the three Bronte sisters, however, she was neither arrogant nor complacent with regards to her notoriety" lead to run-on sentences and are therefore incorrect.

The answer choice "more revered of the three Bronte sisters; however, she was neither arrogant nor complacent about her notoriety" incorrectly uses the comparative form "more" instead of the superlative form "most," which is appropriate when more than two entities are being compared, as in this sentence.

Only the answer choice "most revered of the three Bronte sisters; however, she was neither arrogant nor complacent about her notoriety" is correct because it uses "neither . . . nor," the superlative form "most," and does not lead to a run-on sentence.

Example Question #61 : 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 writing of Edgar Allan Poe is notably more stylized than his contemporary, Nathaniel Hawthorne, whose works Poe greatly admired.

Possible Answers:

his contemporary, Nathaniel Hawthorne, the works of whom Poe has greatly admired.

his contemporary, Nathaniel Hawthorne, whose works Poe has greatly admired.

his contemporary, Nathaniel Hawthorne, whose works Poe greatly admired.

that of his contemporary, Nathaniel Hawthorne, whose works Poe greatly admired.

his contemporary, Nathaniel Hawthorne, the works of whom Poe greatly admired.

Correct answer:

that of his contemporary, Nathaniel Hawthorne, whose works Poe greatly admired.

Explanation:

Answer choice "that of his contemporary, Nathaniel Hawthorne, whose works Poe greatly admired" is correct because it makes the appropriate comparison between the writing of Poe and the writing of Hawthorne.

All of the other answer choices compare Poe's writing to Hawthorne, the writer, and are therefore incorrect.

Example Question #1941 : Act English

Many drug consumers feel that generic medicine can be as effective as, if not more effective, as some of the brand names.

Possible Answers:

as effective, if not more effective, than some brand names.

as effective medicine, if not more effective, as some of the brand names.

as effective medicine, if not more effective, than some of the brand names.

as effective as, if not more effective than, some of the brand names.

as effective, if not more effective, as some of the brand names.

Correct answer:

as effective as, if not more effective than, some of the brand names.

Explanation:

The term, if not more effective, is an interrupter; therefore, the sentence should read correctly if those words are removed.

Example Question #61 : 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. One of the answer choices reproduces the underlined portion as it is written in the sentence.

The people traveling to California in the gold rush typically did not find success in prospecting, mining, or even to make a new life.

Possible Answers:

in prospecting, mining, or even making a new life.

in prospecting, mine work, or even to make a new life.

in prospecting, mining, or even in make a new life.

in prospected, mining, or even to make a new life.

in prospecting, mining, or even to make a new life.

Correct answer:

in prospecting, mining, or even making a new life.

Explanation:

The three elements of the list that ends the sentence are actually three different kinds of words: "prospecting" and "mining" are present-tense progressive verbs, but "to make a new life" is an infinitve phrase. Any such list needs to feature a parallel structure among the three items, so that the verb of the sentence can describe similar items. The answer choice that features an appropriate parallel structure is "in prospecting, mining, or even making a new life."

Example Question #61 : 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.

Hunters need an innate sense both of where their target has been and where it has gone.

Possible Answers:

and where it has gone before.

and where it has gone.

and where going it has been.

and where it has been going.

and where it is going.

Correct answer:

and where it is going.

Explanation:

The use of "both...and" in the sentence indicates that the two verb forms are actually contrasted in the sentence and should not be parallel. Therefore, the verb in the underlined portion should indicate either what is taking place now or will take place in the future. "And where it is going," is the correct answer choice.

Example Question #61 : 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 woman was an active girl who liked playing with toys and to run in parks.

Possible Answers:

to playing with toys and to running in parks.

to play with toys and to run in parks.

playing with toys, running in parks.

playing with toys and to run in parks.

to play with toys and running in parks.

Correct answer:

to play with toys and to run in parks.

Explanation:

The pairing of the two phrases indicate that they need to have a parrallel  tense for each verb. Only two answer choices, "to play with toys and to run in parks," and "playing with toys, running in parks," are parrallel, and "playing with toys, running in parks," should be separated by a conjunction.

Example Question #121 : 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.

According to state regulations, all first aid kits should contain bandages, alcohol swabs, pain relievers, and an ointment.

Possible Answers:

bandages, alcohol swabs, pain relievers, and ointments.

 

bandages, alcohol swabs, pain relievers, and a ointment.

 

bandages, alcohol swabs, pain relievers, and also a bottle of ointment.

 

some bandages, alcohol swabs, pain relievers, and an ointment.

bandages, alcohol swabs, pain relievers, and an ointment. 

Correct answer:

bandages, alcohol swabs, pain relievers, and ointments.

 

Explanation:

The rule of parallel structure tells us that the sentence should be consistent in its pattern. Because the sentence refers to “all first aid kits,” all of the nouns—"bandages," "alcohol swabs," "pain relievers," and "an ointment"—should be plural. "An ointment" is the only noun in the list that isn't plural, so replacing it with "ointments" fixes the sentences error.

Example Question #93 : 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.

My mother begins each day by drinking coffee, watching the news, and plans the rest of her day.

 

Possible Answers:

watches the news, and plans the rest of her day.

watches the news, and planning the rest of her day.

watched the news, and planned the rest of her day.

watching the news, and planning the rest of her day.

watching the news, and plans the rest of her day.

Correct answer:

watching the news, and planning the rest of her day.

Explanation:

The tense of all verbs must be parallel, and since the given verb “drinking” is a present participle, the only appropriate options are “watching” and “planning.”

You can therefore eliminate options in which "watch" and "plan" don't agree with each other, as well as options in which those verbs don't agree with "drinking." You are left only with "My mother begins each day by drinking coffee, watching the news, and planning the rest of her day," which is the correct answer.

 

Example Question #72 : 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. One of the answer choices reproduces the underlined portion as it is written in the sentence.

When one compares the works of Edgar Degas to other Impressionist painters, one grasps the uniqueness of his brushstrokes.

Possible Answers:

When one compares the works of Edgar Degas to other Impressionist painters, one grasps the uniqueness of his brushstrokes. 

When one compares the works of Edgar Degas to those of other Impressionist painters, one grasps the uniqueness of his brushstrokes. 

If one compares the works of Edgar Degas to other Impressionist painters, one grasps the uniqueness of his brushstrokes. 

When one compares the works of Edgar Degas to other Impressionist painters, one would grasp the uniqueness of his brushstrokes. 

When one compares the works of Edgar Degas to the other Impressionist painters, one grasps the uniqueness of his brushstrokes. 

Correct answer:

When one compares the works of Edgar Degas to those of other Impressionist painters, one grasps the uniqueness of his brushstrokes. 

Explanation:

One cannot compare “works” to “painters.”  One must compare the works of Degas to those of other painters.

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