Sentence Structure for Praxis I: Pre-Professional Skills Test Study Guide
When you speak, you may leave your sentences unfinished or run your sentences together. Written expression makes a more permanent impression than speech. In writing, sentence fragments, run-on sentences, misplaced modifiers, and dangling modifiers are structural problems that obscure the meaning of a sentence. The parts of sentences need to have a clear relationship to each other to make sense. This section reviews common errors in sentence structure that will appear on the PPST Writing test, including comparison mistakes, incorrect use of independent and subordinate clauses, double negatives, and unparallel sentence construction.
One common writing problem involves comparisons. When a sentence compares two things or activities, the form, or part of speech, of the two entities must match. A writer can compare two nouns or, alternatively, two verb phrases, but he should not compare a noun with a verb phrase.
- Incorrect: For me, watching a psychological thriller is harder than a horror film.
- Correct: For me, watching a psychological thriller is harder than sitting through a horror film.
In the correct version of the sentence, the verb phrase watching a psychological thriller matches the form of the verb phrase sitting through a horror film. Try the following practice question.
- Even though admired by some, the innovations of Lewis Carroll's later novels were not as well received as his Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.
- the innovations of Lewis Carroll's later novels were
- Lewis Carroll's later novels were
- the innovations about Lewis Carroll's later novels were
- the innovations of Lewis Carroll were
- Lewis Carroll was
Choice b is the correct answer. The original sentence compared the innovations of Carroll's later novels with the book, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. The comparison becomes parallel when you simply compare Lewis Carroll's later novels with his early book. Another way to make the sentence parallel would be to compare the innovations of the later novels with the innovations of the early book.
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