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# Parallelism Help

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Intern
Joined: 31 Jul 2013
Posts: 2

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25 Nov 2013, 11:19
Hey,
I have some doubts as to how parallelism works. For example, how can these sentences
Clause #1: A told B about X at lunch on Monday.
Clause #2: A told B about Y at lunch on Wednesday.
Be joined to,
A told B about X at lunch on Monday and about Y on Wednesday.
I interpret the last statement as B being told about X AT LUNCH. However, B could have been told about Y ANY TIME on Wednesday which is not the case in original statements. Parallelism has to begin after A told B, right? Please, help!
Statements from Magoosh Blog.

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Magoosh GMAT Instructor
Joined: 28 Dec 2011
Posts: 4488

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25 Nov 2013, 12:40
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Expert's post
CANI wrote:
Hey,
I have some doubts as to how parallelism works. For example, how can these sentences
Clause #1: A told B about X at lunch on Monday.
Clause #2: A told B about Y at lunch on Wednesday.
Be joined to,
A told B about X at lunch on Monday and about Y on Wednesday.
I interpret the last statement as B being told about X AT LUNCH. However, B could have been told about Y ANY TIME on Wednesday which is not the case in original statements. Parallelism has to begin after A told B, right? Please, help!
Statements from Magoosh Blog.

Dear Nikhilesh,
I'm happy to respond.

Parallelism is hard. It is not formulaic. If you try to reduce parallelism to a quasi-mathematical pattern, you will miss something about it.

In the sentence,
A told B about X at lunch on Monday and about Y on Wednesday.
I would say, the parallelism is clearly implied, but where the "at lunch" falls in the sentence does leave some ambiguity. It's not perfectly clear that we mean lunch both days, but the sentence may mean that. If I really wanted to emphasize that both "tellings" occurred at lunch on both days and make this point completely unambiguous, I would choose a more explicit format:
A told B about X at Monday lunch and about Y at Wednesday lunch..
or
A told B about X on Monday and about Y on Wednesday, at lunch both days..

The very important point is that on the real GMAT, they love to drop common words in parallel. The practice questions on that blog post each has an example of this.
http://magoosh.com/gmat/2013/dropping-c ... -the-gmat/
I also re-worded the sentence you quoted, to make it somewhat less ambiguous.

Does all this make sense?
Mike
_________________

Mike McGarry
Magoosh Test Prep

Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire. — William Butler Yeats (1865 – 1939)

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Intern
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Posts: 2

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26 Nov 2013, 04:29
Thanks Mike. Things are much clearer now. Specially the reworded Parallelism sentence on blog. Take away of the day- avoid repetition.

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Magoosh GMAT Instructor
Joined: 28 Dec 2011
Posts: 4488

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26 Nov 2013, 10:33
CANI wrote:
Thanks Mike. Things are much clearer now. Specially the reworded Parallelism sentence on blog. Take away of the day- avoid repetition.

Dear Nikhilesh,
I might re-phrase that take-away a bit. Let's say, "Be suspicious of repetition" and even "Avoid unnecessary repetition." A certain amount of repetition --- for example, repeating the same prepositions --- helps to give the parallelism its structure and organization. Never be black & white with grammar rules --- there are always shades of gray to appreciate.
Mike
_________________

Mike McGarry
Magoosh Test Prep

Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire. — William Butler Yeats (1865 – 1939)

Kudos [?]: 8753 [0], given: 105

Re: Parallelism Help   [#permalink] 26 Nov 2013, 10:33
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# Parallelism Help

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