Sentence Correction: Parallelism Questions - Overview

The royal procession from Buckingham Palace to St. Paul's cathedral, held on June 22, 1897 as part of Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee celebration, was met by crowds with waving flags, cheering, and singing.

Incorrect.

This answer choice is illogical.  While all three items in the list are grammatically parallel, they are not logically parallel.

The list's three items are noun phrases or nouns: ([met by] crowds with waving flags, cheering, and singing), but the first item is the actor who performs for the action (crowds with waving flags) while the second and third items are actions without an actor (cheering, singing).

Note that there is an alternate way to identify the parallelism in the sentence, but this does not solve the illogical construction: (crowds with [waving flags, cheering, and singing]). In such a parallel construction, the items [crowds with] cheering and [crowds] with singing, are illogical, because the use of the preposition with doesn't make sense.

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Incorrect.

This answer choice is illogical.  While all three items in the list are grammatically parallel, they are not logically parallel.

In the list of nouns ([crowds with] waving flags, cheers, and songs), the parallel construction requires the preposition with to be understood as part of the parallelism. However, the complete phrases [crowds with] cheers and [crowds with] songs don't make sense. 

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Well done!

This answer choice corrects the Parallelism mistake in the original sentence by eliminating the preposition with (crowds with waving flags --> crowds waving flags). As a result, a new parallel construction with three non-conjugated verbs is formed: waving [flags], cheering, and singing. Since all three actions are performed by the crowds, the corrected sentence is both grammatically and logically correct. 

In addition, this answer choice is stylistically superior to answer choice E, because it does not imply that all the crowds performed all three actions. It can be understood as saying that various crowds waved flags, while others cheered or sang.

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Incorrect.

While this answer choice corrects the Parallelism mistake in the original sentence by changing the three items in the list into conjugated verbs waved, cheered, and sang, it creates a new grammatical mistake.

The corrected sentence changes the prepositional phrase with waving flags, etc. into a relative clause by using the relative pronoun who to refer to crowds. Crowds however is a non-human noun, and therefore it can only be referred to by the pronoun which or that.

Incorrect.

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While this answer choice corrects the Parallelism mistake in the original sentence by changing the three items in the list into adjectives that describe crowds -- flag-waving, cheering, and singing -- it is stylistically flawed. The use of two consecutive prepositions (met with by) is wordy and redundant.

was met by crowds with waving flags, cheering, and singing

was met by crowds with waving flags, cheers, and songs

was met by crowds waving flags, cheering, and singing

met with crowds who waved flags, cheered, and sang

was met with by flag-waving, cheering and singing crowds

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