Parallel Structure Exercise (425)

Revise these sentences so that the comparative phrase in each one is balanced and the sentence makes syntactical sense.

Answers and Explanations

1.
Original: I’ve found that adults are just as, if not more, insecure than adolescents.
Correct : I’ve found that adults are just as insecure as adolescents, if not more so.

In sentences like this with comparative modifying phrases, the main clause (the sentence with the modifying phrase removed) must be grammatically coherent. ("Just as . . . insecure than adolescents" is wrong.)

2.
Original: This is not about politics, but the safety of our president and his family.
Correct : This is not about politics, but about the safety of our president and his family.

"About" must be introduced into the second phrase in this comparative sentence for parallel balance.

3.
Original: Smith and his wife are in a similar situation as Jones.
Correct : Smith and his wife are in a situation similar to Jones’s.

The infinitive "to," not the adverb "as," must follow "similar."

4.
Original: Jackson was known not only as a war hero but also a duelist.
Correct : Jackson was known not only as a war hero but also as a duelist.

In a comparative sentence with "not only . . . but also" phrasing, the two comparative phrases must have parallel structure; what follows "not only" must match what follows "but also." (However, if "as" precedes "not only," it should appear only once, as in "Jackson was known as not only a war hero but also a duelist.")

5.
Original: By 2016, solar power will be as cheap or cheaper than electricity from the conventional grid.
Correct : By 2016, solar power will be as cheap as or cheaper than electricity from the conventional grid.

The two choices of comparison to the cost of electricity -- the phrases that precede and follow "or" -- are "as cheap" and "cheaper than." But "as cheap" is not a complete thought: "as cheap electricity" must read "as cheap as electricity" for the sentence to make sense.

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