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Parallelism

Writing: Identifying Sentence Errors

The following sentence contains either a single error or no error at all. If the sentence contains an error, select the one underlined part that must be changed to make the sentence correct. If the sentence contains no error, select choice E. 

Read the entire original sentence to yourself, listening for errors.  Then check each underlined portion of the sentence against the Big 8 Grammar Rules.  Identify and mark any error that you find, but be sure to quickly check the remaining answer choices before selecting your answer.

Used in place of buttons, hooks and eyes, or laces, the zipper consists of two rows of plastic or metal teeth and bound to the edges of two strips of fabric. No error

(A) The phrase “in place of” just means “instead of.” It is idiomatically correct, so there is no error here.

(B) Buttons, hooks and eyes (which is basically a "combo set"), and laces are all ways to attach two pieces of fabric.  Usually, only one of these different things will be used on a garment at a time; I have never seen a coat that closed with a couple buttons, then a hook, and then laces.  For this reason the “or” is correct.  The zipper replaces whichever one of these things is used on the garment in question.  There is no error here.

(C) Check to make sure that the word “consists” matches the subject.  You would not say “the zipper consist of,” so “consists” is the right form of the verb.  If you check your Knowsys idioms chart, you will also notice that “of” is the idiomatically correct preposition to follow “consists.”  There is no error here.

(D)  Something strange happens to the meaning of the sentence at this point.  You cannot say “the zipper consists of one thing and bound another thing.” That would not be parallel structure.  You could say “the zipper consists of one thing and binds another thing.”  However, you cannot use the phrase “binds to” (you would need “binds it to”), and the “to” is not a part of the sentence that you can change.  Look at the meaning of the sentence.  The zipper is not what is bound to the edges of the fabric; instead, it is the metal teeth.  You could eliminate the word “and” to fix the problem, or you could change the underlined portion to read “that are.”

(E)  This answer cannot be correct because you already identified an error.

The correct answer is (D).


On sat.collegeboard.org, 63% of the responses were correct.

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