SAT Writing : Correcting Parallel Structure Errors

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for SAT Writing

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Example Questions

Example Question #101 : 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.

Artistic ability is an inborn skill, but always needs to be developed to become a truly great artist.

Possible Answers:

Artistic ability is an inborn skill, but always needs to be developed to become a truly great artist.

Artistic ability is an inborn skill, but always needs to be developed for someone to become a truly great artist.

Artistic ability is an inborn skill, but always needing to be developed to become a truly great artist.

Artistic ability is an inborn skill, but always needs to be developed, to become a truly great artist.

Artistic ability is an inborn skill but always needs to be developed to become a truly great artist.

Correct answer:

Artistic ability is an inborn skill, but always needs to be developed for someone to become a truly great artist.

Explanation:

The last phrase of the sentence is confusing, as it is unclear exactly who is becoming "a truly great artist." The sentence is best served by making it clear who can become the "truly great artist." The answer choice that best fixes the issue is "Artistic ability is an inborn skill, but always needs to be developed for someone to become a truly great artist."

Example Question #101 : Parallel Structure Errors

Athletes frequently find the hardest period of their lives is when they can no longer perform the tasks they could as young.

Possible Answers:

they could when they were young.

they could be as young.

they could do young.

 they could as young.

they could as young as they were.

Correct answer:

they could when they were young.

Explanation:

The problem with the end of the sentence is that the underlined phrase has an unclear reference. "They could as young" does not have an obvious comparison being made. The answer choice "they could when they were young," is the best improvement on the sentence.

Example Question #71 : Correcting Parallel Structure Errors

Alexander held his intelligence in high regard, and so he believed that his grades should be higher than the other students in the class.

Possible Answers:

should cause his being higher

would necessitate being highest among

should be higher

should be higher than those of

would have to be the highest among 

Correct answer:

should be higher than those of

Explanation:

The initial sentence contains an illogical comparison. Her grades cannot be higher than the other students. They can only be higher than the grades of the other students. In this sentence, the pronoun those can stand in for grades.

Example Question #81 : Correcting Other Phrase, Clause, And Sentence Errors

Select the best answer from the choices given.

Excited by the prospect of starting a yoga studio, Kim's first decision needed to be where she could rent mats and space.

Possible Answers:

renting mats and space had to be what Kim's first decision was about.

Kim's first decision had to be regarding renting mats and space and where it would be.

Kim's first decision needed to be where she could rent mats and space.

Kim first had to decide where it was to rent mats and space.

Kim first had to decide where to rent mats and space.

Correct answer:

Kim first had to decide where to rent mats and space.

Explanation:

The participle "excited" modifies the subject of the main clause of the sentence, but it's still illogical to say that a decision is excited. The only logical subject is Kim, but "Kim first had to decide where it was to rent mats and space" is awkward and unidiomatic, so the best choice is "Kim first had to decide where to rent mats and space."

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. One of the answer choices repeats the underlined portion as it is written.

Most animals have a less impressive sense of vision than humans did.

Possible Answers:

than humans did.

from humans.

than humans.

for humans.

than humans had.

Correct answer:

than humans.

Explanation:

The underlined phrase functions as a comparison in the sentence, between humans and "most animals." Thus, the phrase needs to appropriately compare in the same manner as the other mention of the trait in the sentence. "Than humans" is the correct answer choice. The "did" is an extraneous verb that introduces an error by being in the past tense when the verb that appears prior to it in the sentence, "have," is in the present tense.

Example Question #71 : 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.

Thomas Jefferson was a lawyer in Virginia, a member of the House of Burgesses, and he wrote the Declaration of Independence.

Possible Answers:

and the one who wrote the Declaration of Independence.

and he wrote the Declaration of Independence.

and writing the Declaration of Independence.

and the writer of the Declaration of Independence.

and was the writer of the Declaration of Independence.

Correct answer:

and the writer of the Declaration of Independence.

Explanation:

The correct answer best follows the laws of parallelism. Like “a lawyer” and “a member,” “the writer” is a noun preceded by an article.

Example Question #81 : 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.

Neither hunting nor a trapped animal ensures a guaranteed succesful trip for an outdoorsman.

Possible Answers:

Neither hunting or a trapped animal ensures

Neither hunting nor trapping an animal ensures

Either hunting nor a trapped animal ensures

Neither hunting nor a trapped animal ensured

Neither hunting nor a trapped animal ensures

Correct answer:

Neither hunting nor trapping an animal ensures

Explanation:

In any "Neither...nor" phrase, each element described must be of a similar nature, so the phrase is describing similar objects. The sentence has two dissimilar objects in the phrase as it is written. The only answer choice that has an appropriate parallel structure is "Neither hunting nor trapping an animal ensures."

Example Question #81 : 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.

To alleviate stress, Margaret liked to bake chocolate cakes and swim laps but never to be practicing yoga.

Possible Answers:

rather than be practicing yoga.

and not to be practicing yoga.

rather than practice yoga.

but never to be practicing yoga.

more than to practice yoga.

Correct answer:

rather than practice yoga.

Explanation:

The cleanest and most logical coordinator here is “rather than,” and the verb should be in the same grammatical format as the ones before it.

Example Question #101 : 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.

Vanessa prepared for her vacation by packing, reading travel books, and to buy a plane ticket.

Possible Answers:

Vanessa prepared for her vacation by to pack, to read travel books, and to buy a plane ticket.

Vanessa prepared for her vacation with packing, reading travel books, and to buy a plane ticket.

Vanessa prepared for her vacation by packing, reading travel books, and buying a plane ticket.

Vanessa prepared for her vacation with the following: to pack, to read travel books, and to buy a plane ticket.

Vanessa prepared for her vacation by packing, reading travel books, and to buy a plane ticket.

Correct answer:

Vanessa prepared for her vacation by packing, reading travel books, and buying a plane ticket.

Explanation:

This is an example of an error in parallelism. The sentence's list begins with two gerunds ("packing" and "reading") and ends in one infinitive ("to buy"). Each item in the list must be in the same form, so the sentence must be changed so that all of the items in the list are either gerunds or infinitives. 

Example Question #71 : 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 celebration was extensive all over Spain, but more so in Barcelona than either Seville or Madrid.

Possible Answers:

The celebration was extensive all over Spain, but more so in Barcelona than in either Seville or Madrid. 

The celebration was extensive all over Spain but more so in Barcelona than either Seville or Madrid. 

The celebration was extensive all over Spain, but more so in Barcelona than in either Seville and Madrid. 

The celebration was extensive all over Spain, but more so in Barcelona than either Seville or Madrid.

The celebration was extensive all over Spain, but more so in Barcelona than either in Seville or Madrid. 

Correct answer:

The celebration was extensive all over Spain, but more so in Barcelona than in either Seville or Madrid. 

Explanation:

This sentence contains a parallelism error. When comparing things in sentences, in this case, cities, one must present them in the same way. So, since the first part of the comparison contains the word "in" ("in Barcelona"), the second part of the comparison must also be introduced by "in": "in either Seville or Madrid," instead of "either Seville or Madrid."

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