Parallel Structure Exercise (657)

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

    1.
    The handbag is beloved by stars such as Victoria Beckham and comes in calf, ostrich, and lizard, as well as crocodile.
    The handbag is beloved by stars such as Victoria Beckham and comes in calf, ostrich, lizard, as well as crocodile.

    2.
    Many film critics praised the movie’s voice performances, its concept, and poignant subject matter.
    Many film critics praised the movie’s voice performances, its concept, and its poignant subject matter.

    3.
    Police believe the car’s occupants had just left a nightclub, were intoxicated, or had taken illegal substances, and didn’t want to submit to a police check.
    Police believe the car’s occupants had just left a nightclub, were intoxicated or had taken illegal substances, and didn’t want to submit to a police check.

    4.
    Gifted students are capable of not only reflecting on what they learn but also on how they learn it.
    Gifted students are capable of reflecting not only on what they learn but also on how they learn it.

    5.
    Usually, it will be cheaper to keep repairing the car you have, rather than buy a new one.
    Usually, it will be cheaper to keep repairing the car you have, rather than buying a new one.

Answers and Explanations

1. The handbag is beloved by stars such as Victoria Beckham and comes in calf, ostrich, and lizard, as well as crocodile.
The list "calf, ostrich, lizard" requires a conjunction before the last item; "as well as crocodile" is a separate phrase.

2. Many film critics praised the movie’s voice performances, its concept, and its poignant subject matter.
"Poignant," like the first two list items, requires its own noun or pronoun. Alternatively, the items can share a noun or pronoun: "Many film critics praised the movie’s voice performances, concept, and poignant subject matter."

3. Police believe the car’s occupants had just left a nightclub, were intoxicated or had taken illegal substances, and didn’t want to submit to a police check.
The phrase "were intoxicated or had taken illegal substances" is a compound phrase that should not include a comma between the choices; as is, the sentence reads as if "left a nightclub," "were intoxicated," and "had taken illegal substances" are comparative choices, but the compound phrase is part of a cumulative sequence bracketed by a nightclub visit and avoidance of law enforcement.

4. Gifted students are capable of reflecting not only on what they learn but also on how they learn it.
"Not only" should precede a verb only if each of the two items in the "not only . . . but also" construction has its own verb. When the items share a verb, as here, the verb should precede the phrase "not only."

5. Usually, it will be cheaper to keep repairing the car you have, rather than buy a new one.
"Buy" is equivalent to "keep," not "repairing," so it should not have an "-ing" ending.

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