Identifying Errors in a Sentence


I have a couple of grammar questions.
1) Before dinner was served (during)A the airline flight from New York to Rome, the brothers (began)B to watch a movie on their dad's laptop DVD player.


The book says that there is no error here. However, would B be wrong since the beginning part states that "before they ate dinner" meaning that B should be "had begun" since it precedes their action of eating dinner?


2) Their children (having had)A experienced the malaise of car sickness one too many times, so the couple decided it was best not to venture into a cramped car for a six hour journey.


The book says that for A, the correct replacement is "having" instead of "having had". But wouldn't this create a fragment? If so, how would you correct this(I thought the phrase would be correct if you take A out completely).


3)Since the clear water remains relatively shallow all the way to the breakers, which are about 250 feet from the shore, when the sea is very placid, beachgoers feel as if they were swimming in a pool rather than (the sea)A.


The book states that A is an error because it should have the phrase "swimming" infront of it. My question is, how would you know when a phrase needs to be parallel(I have read that only connective words need parallelism and I do not believe there is a connective word in this case).


4) I have tried every shawl, shrug, and scarf with this maroon dress but, to my consternation, none of (them)A seem right for the casual look I desire.


The book says that A is an error because none is singular. However, I have read that "none" is singular only if the noun after is singular(eg. "none of it" would be singular since "it" is singular). Which version is correct or is there another rule that applies here?


Thank you so much for taking the time to answer my questions!

asked Sep 08 '13 at 23:56 Lucy Kay New member

1 answer


(1)  Correct analysis, but you changed something in the sentence to make your analysis fit.

If the brothers had "served" before they "had begun" to watch the movie, you would have been correct in using past-perfect tense, but the brothers were served (by someone else) before they began watching the movie; simple-past works.

You messed this up by pretending they did another action in the sentence; "since it precedes their action of eating dinner"--this was not part of the sentence.


(2) Both are incorrect.

You are leaving out your predicate with both forms:

"The children, having experienced the malaise of car sickness one too many times, (missing predicate)"

(refused to get in the car... argued against the trip... denied their parents... etc.)

I posit a third answer:

"The children had experience..., so..."


(3) Parallelism occurs not just with lists, but with connected or related words, clauses, phrases, and predicates:

Your book is probably referencing this:

"They felt as if they were '(blank)ing in A' rather than '(blank)ing in B'."

soooo... ."as if they were swimming in a pool rather than swimming in a sea."

Side note:  Having two indroductory adverb clauses is wayyyyyyy too confusing.

Take "when the sea is very placid" out and place "when it is placid" at the end so that it is no longer introductory.


(4) These indefinite pronouns are singular or plural based on the Object of the Preposition which follows them: all, any, more, most, none, some.

"None of them seem right." has correct agreement because "none" is plural based on the OoP which follows it (them), and "seem" is plural; hence, we have correct agreement.

Side Note: you are joining sentences with a coordinating conjunction--you need a comma before "but".

link comment edited Sep 09 '13 at 11:22 Aaron Prejean Expert

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