ACT English: Parallelism

SAT Question of the Day

The SAT question of the day is a Geometry Question that has already been addressed on this blog: click here to see an explanation.

ACT Question of the Day

The ACT question of the day is an English question that tests your knowledge of parallelism.  Remember: parallelism is just the similarity of grammatical form between two or more linked objects.

Underlined part 9 is in paragraph 4, and it is the second sentence.  This sentence tells you that Bessie Coleman did more than one thing.  Break this sentence down into the parts between the commas: (1) took a quick course in French, (2) should she settle her affairs, and (3) sailed for Europe.

The original sentence is really odd because it seems to ask a question in the midst of listing some actions: Should she settle her affairs?  Look at the first item in the list.  Taking a French class is not logically linked in any way to settling one's affairs.  Therefore, these are two independent things that are listed.  They should be in the same format.  Parts (1) and (3) start out with a verb in the past tense, so part (2) must do the same.  The past tense of the verb "settle" is "settled."  look down at your answer choices.

(A)  You found an error, so you can eliminate this choice.

(B)  This answer suggests that taking French is similar to settling one's affairs before moving.  That doesn't make any sense!  Each of the things that was listed was a distinct action.  Eliminate this choice.

(C)  People don't usually take a language in order to settle their affairs before a move.  Settling one's affairs would consist of activities like paying bills and deciding who will water one's plants.  This choice is illogical.  Eliminate it.

(D)  This matches your prediction exactly.

The correct answer is (D).

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