Parallel Structure Exercise (449)

Revise each sentence so that the two parallel syntactical elements in the statement have the same grammatical structure.

Answers and Explanations

1.
Original: The climate in the United States is much different than Norway.
Correct : The climate in the United States is much different than Norway’s.

The original sentence erroneously compares the US climate with the nation of Norway rather than with Norway’s climate. "Norway" must be in possessive form to match the reference to the climate that "belongs" to the United States. (Another possible revision is "The climate in the United States is much different than in Norway.")

2.
Original: Saudi Arabia is one of the most, if not the most, extremist countries in the world.
Correct : Saudi Arabia is one of the most extremist countries, if not the most extremist, in the world.

The sentence must be structured so that both "one of the most" and "the most" can precede the final phrase in grammatically correct form; for the sentence to be grammatically valid, "extremist" must be repeated before and within the parenthetical phrase rather than appear only after the parenthesis.

3.
Original: Their lawsuit says that the city law violates not only the Ellis Act but the federal Constitution.
Correct : Their lawsuit says that the city law violates not only the Ellis Act but also the federal Constitution.

When a phrase begins "not only" and is followed by one thing being compared to another, the "but" preceding the second thing must be followed by "also" to indicate that an additional noun or noun phrase will follow.

4.
Original: Effective instructional materials should include small steps, frequent questions, immediate feedback, and allow self-pacing.
Correct : Effective instructional materials should include small steps, frequent questions, and immediate feedback and should allow self-pacing.

The sentence includes a compound subject that consists of two distinct references to characteristics of instructional materials, each preceded by an appropriate verb: a set of three component characteristics (starting with "small steps") and a single characteristic ("self-pacing"). Because the first item is a set of three characteristics, the phrase should be structured as a list, with "and" preceding the final characteristic ("immediate feedback").

5.
Original: The position entails writing everything from newsletters on hiring strategy for current clients, sourcing messages for candidates, and marketing materials for potential clients.
Correct : The position entails writing newsletters on hiring strategy for current clients, sourcing messages for candidates, and producing marketing materials for potential clients.

The use of "from" early in the original sentence implies that the sentence will include a range with quantifiable components or steps (for example, "from foundation to roof" or "from appetizer to dessert") and that "from" will be complemented by "to." However, the list simply describes various job responsibilities, with no sequence implied, so the sentence should be revised to indicate that the items are parts of a list, not points in a range.

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