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parallelism

This topic has 2 expert replies and 6 member replies
paes Legendary Member Default Avatar
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parallelism

Post Thu Jun 03, 2010 7:11 pm
Elapsed Time: 00:00
  • Lap #[LAPCOUNT] ([LAPTIME])
    There are several ways to build solid walls using just mud or clay, but the most extensively used method has been the forming of bricks our of mud or clay, and, after some preliminary air drying or sun drying, they are laid in the wall in mud mortar.

    A. the forming of bricks out of mud or clay, and, after some preliminary air drying or
    sun drying, they are laid

    B. forming the mud or clay into bricks, and, after some preliminary air drying or sun drying, to lay them

    C. having bricks formed from mud or clay, and, after some preliminary air drying or sun drying, they were laid.

    D. to form the mud or clay into bricks, and, after some preliminary air drying or sun drying, to lay them

    E. that bricks were formed from mud or clay, which, after some preliminary air drying or sun drying, were laid

    OA is D. because it has the parallelism :, to buils, to form, to lay
    But according to sentence, D is :
    ... the most extensively used method has been to form the mud or clay into bricks ...

    I am not seeing parallelism here [ left of has been to right of has been ]
    Can somebody explain why the parallelism is not required here.

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    MBA Junior | Next Rank: 30 Posts
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    Post Thu Jun 03, 2010 7:34 pm
    The answer should be D,

    becasue of parallelism

    used methods has been to form........,to lay them.
    In all other options this parallel construction is missing.

    Thanks

    uwhusky Legendary Member
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    Post Thu Jun 03, 2010 9:54 pm
    Think of it this way, "the most extensively used method has been ..., and, ..." Do you see the parallelism now?

    GMAT/MBA Expert

    Post Thu Jun 03, 2010 10:01 pm
    Hi paes,

    I'm not sure I fully understand your question, but I'll try to help. The core of the correct sentence states: "...the most used method has been to form the mud into bricks, and, after some drying, to lay them in the wall.."

    Parallel structures are only needed for sentence elements that are part of the same list, the same comparison or the same contrast. In this sentence, there is a list of steps required to build walls using mud or clay. The steps are:
      (1) form the mud into bricks and
      (2) lay the bricks in the wall.
    Because these are elements of the same list, they must be parallel. Hence D works best since it has "to form the mud...and...to lay the bricks..."

    You asked why the verb form "has been" isn't considered in this parallel issue. "has been" is not part of any list, comparison or contrast, so there is nothing that it must be parallel to. Consider the sentences below:

    Correct: Learning to swim has been an exciting adventure and a constant struggle.
    Incorrect: Learning to swim has been an exciting adventure and struggling constantly.

    This is a list of 2 things that describe "Learning to swim". Since we have a list, parallelism is important; we have a noun on the left (an adventure), so we need a noun on the right (a struggle) rather than a verb (struggling). The verb "has been" is not part of the list, so it doesn't need to be parallel to anything.

    If you have particular trouble with parallism errors, consider using the Drill Engine (see my signature) to generate timed drills and set topic='Parallelism, List & Parallelism, Comparison' and difficulty='600-700 & 700+'

    Good luck,
    -Patrick

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    paes Legendary Member Default Avatar
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    Post Fri Jun 04, 2010 4:31 am
    Thanks Patrick.

    Actually I am confused with the verb form 'be'

    According to MgMat, If you see the verb form of be(is, was been) then the two sides of the verb should have a parallelism

    e.g.
    The flower bouquet was the husband's giving of love to his wife. [ Incorrect, the two sids of verb, was, are not parallel ]

    The flower bouquet was the husband's loving gift to his wife. [ Correct ]

    So in the given problem, I think 'has been' is also a form of be.
    So D :

    the most extensively used method has been to form the mud ... [ left side -> noun, right side -> process, to form ..]

    Correct me if my understanding is wrong.

    GMAT/MBA Expert

    Post Fri Jun 04, 2010 7:59 am
    Ah, now I understand what you were asking about earlier.

    The two sides of the verb "to be" should be parallel if one defines the other. For example, "The flower bouquet was the husband's gift" In this example, "the husband's gift" is a definition of "the bouquet". As a result the two sides must be parallel.

    in other contexts, this is a non issue; below are examples of correct sentences in which the two sides of "to be" don't have to be parallel because the right side doesn't define the left:
      John is sick.
      The cat is under the table.
    In this sentence however, we are defining the most extensively used method so you are correct to bring up parallelism in this way. As a reminder, the correct sentence here is: "There are several ways to build solid walls using just mud or clay, but the most extensively used method has been to form the mud or clay into bricks, and, after some preliminary air drying or sun drying, to lay them in the wall in mud mortar"

    The order in which the ideas are presented makes the parallel structure difficult to see, but it's actually there. Allow me to rewrite the right answer (D) as: "The most used method to build solid walls has been to form bricks and to lay them"

    It's difficult to see this parallelism because "to build solid walls" is placed early in the actual sentence, so you won't notice that this is actually "the method" discussed later in the sentence.

    -Patrick

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    andrey_tsi Senior | Next Rank: 100 Posts Default Avatar
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    Post Sun Sep 19, 2010 11:44 pm
    Can anybody explain the reasons why there is comma before "and" in the right answer (see below)?

    D. to form the mud or clay into bricks, and, after some preliminary air drying or sun drying, to lay them

    winnerhere Master | Next Rank: 500 Posts Default Avatar
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    Post Fri Feb 04, 2011 11:28 pm
    to form the mud or clay into bricks, and, after some preliminary air drying or sun drying, to lay them

    them in the end can also refer back to the walls too right?..isnt it ambiguous?

    angela_lovegmat Newbie | Next Rank: 10 Posts Default Avatar
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    Post Sat Jun 23, 2012 9:19 pm
    Patrick_GMATFix wrote:
    Correct: Learning to swim has been an exciting adventure and a constant struggle.
    Incorrect: Learning to swim has been an exciting adventure and struggling constantly
    hi,paes,i think you are wrong on this issue.
    Learning is a simple gerund there ,but adventure & struggle are all action nouns. the rule is that simple gerund cannot parallel to action nouns . so we must say: swim learning has been an exciting adventure and a constant struggle.

    am i right? please let me know if my understanding goes too far.

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