Lesson: Parallelism - Part I

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In the very first example given in this video,Maria enjoys swimming,hiking,jogging, and to ride a bicycle,it says that swimming hiking etc is expressed in gerund form. Isn't swimming hiking jogging ,in the faulty sentence,expressed in present participle form??
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In English, the present participle has the same form as the gerund. The difference is in how the word is used. When used with an auxiliary verb ("is walking"), it serves as a verb and is the present participle. When used as an adjective ("a walking contradiction") it is also a participle. However, when used as a noun ("walking is good for you"), it is a gerund. In this instance, swimming, hiking, jogging are acting as nouns (i.e., activities that Maria enjoys).

Thank you.Your site is great and helps me so much in my preparation.
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Glad you like it!

Honestly,You guys rock. No words to express my gratitude for giving these lessons as freebie. crystal clear on explanations . I have subscribed to few GMAT prep courses for fee but prefer to stick to your free classes. They are so much better than the paid ones.Keep the good work going.Cheers
gmat-admin's picture

Thanks for the kind words!

The last sentence is in the conjunction section.
If after neither has noun + preposition phrase, then after nor has only noun, are they still parallel?
Thank you so much for very useful videos.
gmat-admin's picture

I believe you're referring to the sentence that starts at 7:45.

Both parts of this sentence feature prepositional phrases. Keep in mind that "from" and "of" are both prepositions.

So, we have "Neither the scowls FROM her neighbors nor the reluctance OF her husband..."

For more information on prepositional phrases, see: https://www.gmatprepnow.com/module/gmat-sentence-correction/video/1156 (starting at 0:30)

Hi Brent,
I have this general problem of not able to figure out at first go which technique to apply for sentence correction questions, as there are so many rules and struggle sometimes. What's your advice in case i stumble on a difficult sentence during my prep?

Do i look at the solutions to get the thought process going for some questions and then start answering?
gmat-admin's picture

If you're having problems determining which rule(s) a question is testing, I suggest that you identify the differences among the answer choices.

For example, if one answer choices says "... Joe READ the book..." and another answer choice says "... Joe HAD READ the book...", then it's likely that there might be an issue with verb tense.

Hello Brent,

First of all, I would like to thank you for your lessos!

I have a doubt in 6:45, if I use "not only Felix applied extra deodorant, but also he polished his teeth" is it parallel?
gmat-admin's picture

It's parallel, but it's ambiguous.

"not only Felix applied deodorant..." suggests that people other than Felix applied deodorant. In other words, Felix isn't the only person who applied deodorant.

So, we need to place "Felix" before the correlative to avoid that ambiguity.


Thank you for your prompt reply and for all the great lessons. English for me is a foreign language, but your lessons make it easy to understand. I hope I got +700 in the GMAT Test.

Hi Brent! Can you please help me out with this question from the Verbal Review 2017

In recent years cattle breeders have increasingly used crossbreeding, in part that their steers should acquire certain characteristics and partly because crossbreeding is said to provide hybrid vigor.
A.in part that their steers should acquire certain characteristics
B.in part for the acquisition of certain characteristics in their steers
C.partly because of their steers acquiring certain characteristics
D.partly because certain characteristics should be acquired by their steers
E.partly to acquire certain characteristics in their steers

The official answer is E, whereas I think that E lacks parallelism and hence answer must be c.
Can you please provide an explanation for the same?
gmat-admin's picture

Mitch provides a nice analysis here: http://www.beatthegmat.com/og-verbal-1-sc-22-t290689.html

Here's one more analysis: http://www.beatthegmat.com/subject-verb-position-vs-active-passive-voice...

If you need any elaboration on this, please let me know, and I'll be happy to help.

Got it, thanks!
But can such questions be on the GMAT where the correct answer choice lacks parallelism?
gmat-admin's picture

I'm not sure that there is a lack of parallelism.

I strongly felt that 'partly to acquire' and 'partly because crossbreeding' are not parallel as one has an infinitive form of verb while other begins with a clause. Can you please explain how can these two be considered parallel?
gmat-admin's picture

Perhaps I shouldn't have said they're parallel in the traditional sense. Instead, I should say that they're not necessarily NOT parallel. As Payal says in her analysis "This is one of the few official questions, in which the correct choice does not appear to be as parallel as one of the incorrect choices does."

Here's an analogous example: I bought an aardvark to eat all of the ants and because I've always wanted an aardvark.

I have two reasons:
1) to achieve a future goal
2) because of an existing fact (my lifelong desire to own an aardvark)

Given the disparate structural differences in my reasons, parallelism might be less important than other factors.

Hi Brent,

I believe below stmt is not parllel- its from new yorker, please share your view

stmt 1) The Clean Power Plan would not only have cut carbon emissions by almost nine hundred million tons a year but also, according to E.P.A. figures, prevented more than thirty-five hundred premature deaths and ninety thousand asthma attacks annually.

I think "can and probably" (below stmt 2) suggests same meaning so its redundant- please suggest

stmt 2)This argument can, and probably should, be taken one step further. - Use of can and probably
gmat-admin's picture

I don't think sentence #1 is parallel either. I'd prefer something like:

The Clean Power Plan not only WOULD HAVE cut carbon emissions by almost nine hundred million tons a year but also, according to E.P.A. figures, WOULD HAVE prevented more than thirty-five hundred premature deaths and ninety thousand asthma attacks annually.

For sentence #2, I don't think "can" and "probably should" are redundant.
For example, I CAN eat spiders, but that doesn't necessarily mean that I PROBABLY SHOULD eat spiders :-)

Hi Brent,

Sometimes I struggle to identify is a word noun or adjective or adverb. Can you help with any link to practice identification of noun and adjective, and which can be used interchangeably.

Thanks for your continuous help

Hello Brent :)
I have questions with the sentence structure inside this lecture

1. [ jeremy claims that naomi's beliefs are superstitious and detrimental to society ]

superstitious and detrimental are adjectives. I figured out that "naomi's beliefs" would be noun and subject while "to society" would be prepositional phrase starting with 'to'. Since adjective modifies only noun or pronoun it seems like "superstitious and detrimental" might modify "belief" If noun modifier has to touch the noun it modifies, it seems like belief and superstitious are not together. verb 'are' is between them. What am i getting wrong? and what does 'to society' modifies ?

2. [ while preparing Pablo's latte, Beverly brewed espresso, steamed milk, and told jokes. ]
"while preparing pablo's latte" is a prepositional phrase modifying Beverly? does it gives information of what Baverly is doing? This is noun modifier and seems like it is vital in this sentence, am i right?

3. [Either Larissa will buy a bookcase or she will sell her books]
I thought buy and sell would be a verb and didn't pay much attention on will. is "will buy" all together a verb? future tense verb?

Thank you Brent. Sorry i have tons of questions haha :(
gmat-admin's picture

Hi Celan,

I'm happy to help!

1) TO SOCIETY is, indeed, a prepositional phrase, and prepositional phrases can behave as adjectives or adverbs.

In this case, TO SOCIETY modifies the word DETRIMENTAL by telling us more about HOW Naomi's beliefs are detrimental.

2) There isn't a straightforward answer regarding how to categorize "while preparing Pablo's latte." Some people call it a subordinating conjunction, because the word SHE is implied (as in "while SHE WAS preparing Pablo's latte,...."). Others call it a prepositional phrase.

What really matters is that this phrase is telling us more HOW she performed the other tasks. So, I'd say the phrase is acting as an adverb modifying BREWED, STEAMED and TOLD.

I wouldn't say that this phrase is vital. If we eliminate it, we get "Beverly brewed espresso, steamed milk, and told jokes." This is a complete/informative sentence. It's just missing a little color.

3) I call WILL BUY and WILL SELL verb phrases, where WILL is a helping verb in both cases.

As far as tense goes, WILL BUY and WILL SELL are in the simple future tense. More about that here: https://www.gmatprepnow.com/module/gmat-sentence-correction/video/1176

Thank you! your explanation was awesome !!
Only one i still want to know :)

1. [ jeremy claims that naomi's beliefs are superstitious and detrimental to society ]

"superstitious" and "detrimental" are adjectives. what do they modify? Since they are adjectives which can only modify noun or pronoun, seems "beliefs" is the best option. Then shouldn't noun and noun modifier touch each other? For me "are" seems as a verb inside the relative clause starting with that. This verb "are" is separating adjectives from touching what they modify. please tell me what i am getting wrong :)
gmat-admin's picture

"superstitious" and "detrimental" are both adjectives modifying the noun BELIEFS

In this case, the two adjectives are "linked" by the linking verb "are" - More on linking verbs here: https://www.gmatprepnow.com/module/gmat-sentence-correction/video/1151

Hi Brent,

Is the following sentence structure correct?

"Jeremy claims that Naomi's beliefs are just superstitions and are thus detrimental to society."

gmat-admin's picture

That sentence is fine.


For the Felix and his grooming example, can we write,

"Not only did Felix apply extra deodorant, he also polished his teeth." Basically, dropping "but".
gmat-admin's picture

In almost all cases, the GMAT will pair NOT ONLY with BUT ALSO

In addition, we need the part after "not only" to be parallel with the part after "but also"

In your sentence, we don't have that parallelism: "Not only DID FELIX APPLY extra deodorant, he also POLISHED his teeth."


Got it. Thanks, Brent.

Hi Brent,

Just a question on the sentence "jeremy claims that naomi's beliefs are superstitious and detrimental to society".

I understood how and why you corrected the sentence to make the terms supertitious and detrimental parallel, but I was also kind expecting to see a "that" before detrimental since we are talking about a relative clause. Why am I wrong? Thank you so much
gmat-admin's picture

Good question.

SUPERSTITIOUS and DETRIMENTAL are two words that describe Naomi's beliefs. We can say that these two words are "attached" to the noun BELIEFS.

On the other hand, THAT is "attached" to the verb CLAIMS.
So, the structure here is "Jeremy claims THAT Naomi's beliefs have certain characteristics" (they are both superstitious and detrimental).

If Jeremy wanted to make more than one claim, then we'd need another THAT.

For example, Jeremy claims THAT Naomi's beliefs are superstitious and detrimental, and THAT Naomi is a great tennis player.

Here, the structure here is "Jeremy claims THAT one thing about Naomi is true, and THAT another thing is true.")

Does that help?


I was considering this but I decided to check if my point of view was right before continuing...
Tks a lot!

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