Parallel Structure Exercise (676)

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

    1.
    He said he hears of several incidents a week in which police either harass, interfere with, or arrest citizens for shooting video.
    He said he hears of several incidents a week in which police either harass, interfere, or arrest citizens for shooting video.

    2.
    The color green is on cubicle walls at Trulia, roof-deck furniture at Lyft, and on meeting room walls at Udemy.
    The color green is on cubicle walls at Trulia, roof-deck furniture at Lyft, and meeting room walls at Udemy.

    3.
    You are sharp, love rolling up your sleeves, getting your hands dirty, and working alongside a team.
    You are sharp and love rolling up your sleeves, getting your hands dirty, and working alongside a team.

    4.
    That such a woman would take time from her family and work to have dinner with us not only seemed extraordinary but also spoke to her humility and purpose.
    That such a woman would take time from her family and work to have dinner with us seemed not only extraordinary but also spoke to her humility and purpose.

    5.
    Barracks life provides not the idyllic microcosm of America depicted in World War II movies, but, rather, a collection of confused and angry young men.
    Barracks life doesn’t provide the idyllic microcosm of America depicted in World War II movies but a collection of confused and angry young men.

Answers and Explanations

1. He said he hears of several incidents a week in which police either harass, interfere with, or arrest citizens for shooting video.
"Interfere," unlike "harass" and "arrest," requires a preposition.

2. The color green is on cubicle walls at Trulia, roof-deck furniture at Lyft, and meeting room walls at Udemy.
Each of the three phrases in this sentence requires its own preposition, or, as shown in the revision, they can share "on" after the verb.

3. You are sharp and love rolling up your sleeves, getting your hands dirty, and working alongside a team.
Of the four list items in this sentence, the first is preceded by the verb "are," and the other three share "love" as a verb, so the three must be presented as a single list item with three components by separating it from "are sharp" with a conjunction rather than a comma.

4. That such a woman would take time from her family and work to have dinner with us not only seemed extraordinary but also spoke to her humility and purpose.
Because "spoke" follows "but also," for grammatical consistency, "seemed" must follow, not precede, "not only."

5. Barracks life provides not the idyllic microcosm of America depicted in World War II movies, but, rather, a collection of confused and angry young men.
As in the previous example, the verb should follow the subject but come before the negation, and in this case, the insertion of "rather" after the conjunction strengthens the contrast.

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