Parallel Structure Exercise (646)

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

    1.
    Have them work on the chart in teams or pairs or as individuals.
    Have them work on the chart in teams or pairs or individuals.

    2.
    Expect higher fees for everything from parking, picnics, and field rentals.
    Expect higher fees for everything from parking to picnics and field rentals.

    3.
    Drunks not only endanger their lives but those of innocents around them.
    Drunks endanger not only their lives but also those of innocents around them.

    4.
    The complex includes a finished café and a planned restaurant, spa, and shopping arcade, as well as a quickly dwindling number of available apartments.
    The complex includes a finished café, a planned restaurant, spa and shopping arcade, as well as a quickly dwindling number of available apartments.

    5.
    Most health problems make sense if the practitioner listens carefully to the patient and understands their anatomy and how their body functions.
    Most health problems make sense if the practitioner listens carefully to the patient, understands their anatomy, and how their body functions.

Answers and Explanations

1. Have them work on the chart in teams or pairs or as individuals.
The preposition "in" cannot serve for all three nouns; it is the correct preposition for the first two, but "individuals" requires "as."

2. Expect higher fees for everything from parking to picnics and field rentals.
"From," preceding the list of things, signals that what follows is a range, so a corresponding "to" must follow the first item. Because "picnics" and "field rentals" are related (both presumably involving lawns), they can share the preposition; otherwise, the second half of the sentence would have to read "from parking to picnics to field rentals."

3. Drunks endanger not only their lives but also those of innocents around them.
Drunks are described as having an impact on two things—their lives and those of others—so the verb should immediately follow the noun, followed by the "not only . . . but also" construction. ("Also" is missing in the original version.) When "not only" precedes the verb, the implication is that "but also" will be followed by different verb, as in "Drunks not only endanger their own lives but also imperil those of innocents around them."

4. The complex includes a finished café and a planned restaurant, spa, and shopping arcade, as well as a quickly dwindling number of available apartments.
Each item in the list requires its own article, and the conjunction "and" must precede the final item, which is the combination of "a planned restaurant, spa, and shopping arcade"; the subordinate clause, beginning with "as well as," is separate from the list.

5. Most health problems make sense if the practitioner listens carefully to the patient and understands their anatomy and how their body functions.
The phrase "how their body functions" requires its own verb or, as here, needs to tag along with the previous list item to share its verb; this requires the insertion of "and" as well as the deletion of the commas in the sentence.

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