Parallel Structure Exercise (662)

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

    1.
    The formula provides more equitable funding and greater flexibility and accountability for all students.
    The formula provides more equitable funding, greater flexibility, and accountability for all students.

    2.
    Harrison Ford surprised fans and took the stage alongside costars John Boyega, Daisy Ridley, Oscar Isaac, and Lupita Nyong’o and director J.J. Abrams.
    Harrison Ford surprised fans and took the stage alongside costars John Boyega, Daisy Ridley, Oscar Isaac, Lupita Nyong’o, and director J.J. Abrams.

    3.
    Do not climb on or play on or around this pipe.
    Do not climb, play on, around this pipe.

    4.
    These devices are being used not only for traditional communication functions but also to access business applications and resources.
    These devices are not only being used for traditional communication functions, but also to access business applications and resources.

    5.
    There is a wide range of the number of polyps and cancers as well as in the age of onset of cancers in families.
    There is a wide range of the number of polyps and cancers as well as the age of onset of cancers in families.

Answers and Explanations

1. The formula provides more equitable funding and greater flexibility and accountability for all students.
Because "greater" refers to both "flexibility" and "accountability," those separate list items must be converted into a compound list item with the insertion of a conjunction before it and the deletion of both commas in the sentence.

2. Harrison Ford surprised fans and took the stage alongside costars John Boyega, Daisy Ridley, Oscar Isaac, and Lupita Nyong’o and director J.J. Abrams.
The reference to the director is distinct from the list of actors, so the penultimate name in the list must be preceded by "and."

3. Do not climb on or play on or around this pipe.
Divided into three simple sentences, this garbled sign text would read, "Do not climb this pipe. Do not play on this pipe. Do not around this pipe." As revised, it can now be separated into three grammatically correct directions.

4. These devices are being used not only for traditional communication functions but also to access business applications and resources.
Here, even though the second element in the "not only . . . but also" construction includes a verb ("access"), the verb phrase "being used" applies to both elements, so it should precede "not only." Also, the comma is superfluous.

5. There is a wide range of the number of polyps and cancers as well as in the age of onset of cancers in families.
The preposition "in" must be inserted before the second phrase in the comparison to make it parallel to the phrase starting with the preposition "of." (Even if "of" is replaced by "in," which reads better, what is then the second "in" should be retained.)

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