Parallel Structure Exercise (539)

For each pair of sentences, choose the one that correctly organizes the syntactical elements.

    1.
    Provide a clear overview of the full course and guidance in terms of study and viewing time needed, and use real-life content examples.
    Provide a clear overview of the full course, guidance in terms of study and viewing time needed, and use real-life content examples.

    2.
    Gay marriage doesn’t just redefine marriage, but also parenting.
    Gay marriage redefines not just marriage but also parenting.

    3.
    He waited, in fact, demanded, those around him to applaud.
    He waited for those around him to applaud—in fact, he demanded it.

    4.
    Companies are going through bankruptcies, nonstop downsizing, and even the illusion of job security will soon be a thing of the past.
    Companies are going through bankruptcies and nonstop downsizing, and even the illusion of job security will soon be a thing of the past.

    5.
    She manages cross-functional internal workflow by partnering with public relations, social media, paid media, design, research teams as well as subject-matter experts throughout the organization.
    She manages cross-functional internal workflow by partnering with public relations, social media, paid media, design, and research teams as well as subject-matter experts throughout the organization.

Answers and Explanations

1. Provide a clear overview of the full course and guidance in terms of study and viewing time needed, and use real-life content examples.
The initial phrase in the first version’s list of three elements begins with the verb "provide," and the third phrase begins with "use," but the middle phrase has no verb; the writer erroneously believed that "provide" does double duty for the first two phrases. It does so, however, only if the two phrases are combined into one with the insertion of a conjunction, as shown in the second version.

2. Gay marriage redefines not just marriage but also parenting.
According to both versions of the sentence, gay marriage redefines two things, but the statement should be structured so that these two things are presented in parallel, not in counterpoint.

3. He waited for those around him to applaud—in fact, he demanded it.
In the first version, the phrase "in fact, demanded" (which could also be written "demanded, in fact") is an interjection—an element that constitutes a break from the syntactical flow of the sentence (as are both the phrase that follows the dash in this sentence and this parenthetical itself)—and must therefore be set off with punctuation stronger than a comma. But if the interjection is omitted, the sentence reads, "He waited those around him to applaud." Inserting "for" after "waited" isn’

4. Companies are going through bankruptcies and nonstop downsizing, and even the illusion of job security will soon be a thing of the past.
The elements in the sentence must be syntactically alike; in this case, they must be independent clauses. In the first version, "Companies are going through bankruptcies" and "Even the illusion of job security will be a thing of the past" can each stand on its own as a complete sentence, but "nonstop downsizing" is an orphan phrase. If it is combined with "bankruptcies" as a compound phrase, it becomes part of an independent clause, and the sentence becomes structurally sound.

5. She manages cross-functional internal workflow by partnering with public relations, social media, paid media, design, and research teams as well as subject-matter experts throughout the organization.
The tag phrase beginning with "as well as" is not part of the preceding list, which ends with "research teams." As the last item in the list, this phrase must be preceded by a conjunction, as shown in the second version.

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