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Sentence Correction: Parallelism Questions - Overview

To combat the decline in scholastic performance of young boys in inner-city schools, the education council demanded that the city allocate funds for early-screening programs in preschools, support a bill for reform of teachers' salaries, and sponsor research on early childhood parenting practices in families of at-risk children.

Incorrect.

This answer choice is grammatically incorrect. Demand is one of the nine verbs to which the Subjunctive rule applies (if it is followed by that). This means that the verb(s) following demanded that should be in base form. However, should allocate  is not in base form.

[[snippet]]

In addition, the first and third item in the sentence's list are verbs (should allocate, sponsor), but the second item is a complete clause with its own subject and verb (a bill for reform of teachers' salaries should be supported).

What helps us identify this question as a Parallelism question as well as identify the mistake is the following Stop Sign:

A list of 3 items or more, separated by commas and and/or before the last item.

Incorrect.

This answer choice is grammatically incorrect. Demand is one of the nine verbs to which the Subjunctive rule applies (if it is followed by that). This means that the verb(s) following demanded that should be in base form. However, should allocate  is not in base form.

[[snippet]]

Note that the parallelism in this answer choice is correct (the city should: allocate... , support... , and sponsor...).

Incorrect.

This answer choice is grammatically incorrect. Demand is one of the nine verbs to which the Subjunctive rule applies (if it is followed by that). This means that the verb(s) following demanded that should be in base form. However, should allocate and should be supported are not in base form.

[[snippet]]

Note that the parallelism in this answer choice is correct, creating a list of three clauses:

  • the city should allocate ...,
  • a bill ... should be supported, and
  • research ... be supported

Unlike the first two items, the third item does not contain a conjugated verb. However, it still counts as a clause due to the subjunctive construction that precedes it.

Incorrect.

This answer choice is grammatically incorrect. The sentence contains a parallelism: a list of three items. All items in a parallelism should be grammatically parallel. However, the first and third items in the sentence's list are verbs (allocate, sponsor), but the second item is a complete clause with its own subject and verb (a bill for reform of teachers' salaries should be supported).

What helps us identify this question as a Parallelism question as well as identify the mistake is the following Stop Sign:

A list of 3 items or more, separated by commas and and/or before the last item.

Well done!

This answer choice displays correct Parallelism: a list of three grammatically parallel conjugated verbs (allocate, support, sponsor) - all in base form.  

Remember that demand is one of the nine verbs to which the Subjunctive rule applies (if it is followed by that).

[[snippet]]
allocate funds for early-screening programs in preschools, support a bill for reform of teachers' salaries, and sponsor research on early childhood parenting practices in families of at-risk children
allocate funds for early-screening programs in pre-schools, a bill for reform of teachers' salaries should be supported, and sponsor research on early childhood parenting practices in the families of at-risk children
should allocate funds for early-screening programs in pre-schools, a bill for reform of teachers' salaries should be supported, and sponsor research to investigate early childhood parenting practices in at-risk children's families
should allocate funds for early-screening programs in pre-schools, a bill for reform of teachers' salaries should be supported, and research on early childhood parenting practices in at-risk children's families be supported
should allocate funds for early-screening programs in pre-schools, support a bill for reform of teachers' salaries, and sponsor research on early childhood parenting practices in at-risk children's families