Parallel Sentence Structure Exercise (49)

Each of the sentences below is structurally flawed because of omission or misplacement of an element. Revise the sentences as necessary.

Answers and Explanations

1.
Original: She served on both the faculty and administration.
Correct : She served both on the faculty and in administration.

One serves on the faculty but in (or in the) administration, so this sentence requires a preposition for each noun: "She served both on the faculty and in administration." (Note that both applies to "on the faculty" and "in administration," so it must precede on. If the two referents for both can share a preposition, this revision is not required, as in "She served on both the school board and the city council."

2.
Original: In her project, she expressed her understanding and passion for popular music.
Correct : In her project, she expressed her understanding of and passion for popular music.

Understanding and passion take distinct prepositions.

3.
Original: I couldn’t, and haven’t, received an award for which I felt any more honored and privileged than this one.
Correct : I haven’t received, and couldn’t receive, an award for which I felt any more honored and privileged than this one.

Removing the parenthetical phrase "and haven’t" reveals that the base sentence does not make sense. Also, "couldn’t receive" is the emphatic element of this sentence, referring to the apotheosis of possibilities, so it should be the interjection.

4.
Original: Smith’s withdrawal likely ends the career of one of, if not the best gymnasts the United States has ever had.
Correct : Smith’s withdrawal likely ends the career of one of one of the best gymnasts the United States has ever had, if not the best gymnast.
Alterna.: Smith's withdrawal likely ends the career of one of one of the best gymnasts -- if not the best gymnast -- the United States has ever had.

This type of parenthetical comparison, similar to the previous exercise item, requires the point of the sentence to be mentioned twice. The parenthetical can also be inserted into the middle of the sentence.

5.
Original: Despite -- or because -- of the country’s proximity to the United States, its response has been both thorough and unsettling.
Correct : Despite -- or because of -- the country’s proximity to the United States, its response has been both thorough and unsettling.

When the interjection is omitted, the resulting sentence starts, "Despite of the country’s proximity, which means that of is on the wrong side of the closing em dash.

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