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Sentence Correction: Parts of Speech - Possession

In court society, the awareness of social distinctions and knowing how to restrain one's behavior in the presence of nobility, a skill which was assiduously inculcated through observation, imitation, and formal instruction, led to the refinements associated with the modern notion of civilization.  

Incorrect.

This answer choice is grammatically incorrect. The construction A and B (awareness and knowing) requires that A and B belong to the same part of speech. In this case, A (awareness) is a noun whereas B (knowing) is a non-conjugated verb.

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Incorrect.

This answer choice is grammatically incorrect. The construction A and B (awareness and to know) requires that A and B belong to the same part of speech. In this case, A (awareness) is a noun whereas B (to know) is a non-conjugated verb.

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In addition, this answer choice unnecessarily changes the original meaning of the sentence by changing the singular noun skill to the plural noun skills. This implies that awareness and to know are both skills, when in fact only to know how to restrain one's behavior is a skill, as written in the original answer choice.

A skill is the knowledge of how to do something, but awareness of social distinctions is not knowledge of how to do something and is therefore not really a skill. Note how the meaning change results an illogical answer choice.

Incorrect.

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While this answer choice corrects the Parallelism mistake in the original sentence by changing the verb knowing (how to restrain one's behavior) to a noun (restrained) behavior, this change creates a new logical mistake. In the corrected sentence, the word awareness relates to both items of the parallelism. However, awareness of...restrained behavior does not make sense.

In addition, the corrected sentence unnecessarily changes the list of nouns observation, imitation and instruction to observing, imitating, and formal instructing. While the resulting list is grammatically parallel and therefore appears to be correct, it violates the rule that when a simple noun form exists it should not be changed to a to V+ing form serving as a noun replacement. This is considered a mistake that should be eliminated in Sentence Correction questions.

Incorrect.

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While this answer choice corrects the Parallelism mistake in the original sentence by changing the verb knowing (how to restrain one's behavior) to a noun knowledge (about how one should, etc.), it introduces a new grammatical mistake. The form of the possession the presence of nobility is correct, while the form nobility's presence is incorrect.

Remember that expressing possession by using of is always allowed, whereas expressing possession using 's is only allowed with concrete (that is, tangible, or not abstract) nouns. Nobility is an abstract noun.

Incorrect: love's power
Correct: the power of love

Well done!

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This answer choice corrects the Parallelism mistake in the original sentence by changing the non-conjugated verb knowing to the noun knowledge.

knowing how to restrain one's behavior in the presence of nobility, a skill which was assiduously inculcated through observation, imitation, and formal instruction
to know how to restrain one's behavior in the presence of nobility, skills which were assiduously inculcated through observation, imitation, and with formal instruction
restrained behavior in the presence of nobility, a skill assiduously inculcated through observing, imitating, and formal instructing
the knowledge about how one should restrain one's behavior in nobility's presence, a skill assiduously inculcated through observation, imitation, and formal instruction
the knowledge of how to restrain one's behavior in the presence of nobility, a skill which was assiduously inculcated through observation, imitation, and formal instruction