ACT English 4.4 Sentence Structure
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ACT English: Sentence Structure Drill 4, Problem 4. How should this sentence best be completed according to parallel construction?
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|Sentence Structure||Fragments and Parrallelism|
The first two items begin with verbs in the present tense --"present" and "show"-- so
the unyielding laws of parallel construction dictate that the third item should begin with
a verb in the present tense as well.
The original sentence breaks the law by putting the third item in the future past tense by using "would."
The idea of future past tense makes our brains hurt a little bit, but it's actually simple
if we take a second to break it down.
It's when a verb is used to refer to the future from the perspective of some point in the past.
An example might be, "One day the tiny child would be a giant Sumo wrestler."
Whatever the case, this tense doesn't jibe with the simple present tense verbs of the
rest of the list, so we can take choice (A) out of the running.
Choice (D) tries to stick us with what seems to be a gerund, which is a word
derived from a verb that actually functions as a noun.
"Answering questions from interested students" is actually a gerund phase, and the whole
thing can act as a noun.
For example, we could say, "Answering questions from interested students was awful for Abigail."
See how the phrase functions as a noun might as the subject of the sentence?
In any case, this list doesn't have any room for gerunds or gerund phrases. We're looking
for answer choice with simple present tense verbs, and (D) doesn't fit the bill.
(C) does include the present tense verb "answer," which is exactly what we need. It still doesn't
make the cut, though, because it adds "also" into the mix.
"Also" is unnecessary here, and its presence might call down the wrath of the parallel
It's best that we opt for choice (B), which is the exact same thing as (C), minus the
Does anybody else ever wish that the laws of parallel construction would loosen up a bit?