Sentence Correction
Verbal Ability

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Q.

Just as listening to Franklin D. Roosevelt's famous fireside chats helps students of history understand the 1930s, an era marked by incredible domestic economic distress and unparalleled foreign conflict, so Abraham Lincoln's famous Second Inaugural Address helps students grasp the immense strife and challenge America faced in the post-Civil War era.

 A.

so Abraham Lincoln's famous Second Inaugural Address helps students grasp the immense strife and challenge America faced in the post-Civil War era.

 B.

Abraham Lincoln's famous Second Inaugural Address helps students grasp the post-Civil War era, a time of immense domestic challenge and strife

 C.

reading Abraham Lincoln's famous Second Inaugural Address helps students grasp the post-Civil War era, a time of immense domestic challenge and strife

 D.

so reading Abraham Lincoln's famous Second Inaugural Address helps students grasp the post-Civil War era, a time of immense domestic challenge and strife

 E.

so reading Abraham Lincoln's famous Second Inaugural Address helps students grasp a time of immense domestic challenge and strife--the post-Civil War era

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Solution:
Option(D) is correct

This sentence is built around the comparative idiom just as x, so y. As with any other comparative idiom, the two parts being compared (i.e., x and y) must be grammatically parallel.

In the original sentence, x (listening to Franklin D. Roosevelt's famous fireside chats) is not parallel to y (Abraham Lincoln's famous Second Inaugural Address). These two elements can be made parallel by changing y to reading Abraham Lincoln's famous Second Inaugural Address. Notice the parallelism with the new paragraph structure:
listening to Franklin D. Roosevelt's famous fireside chats
reading Abraham Lincoln's famous Second Inaugural Address

The sentence could be made more parallel by re-writing the immense strife and challenge America faced in the post-Civil War era to match the format of the non-underlined portion (the 1930s, an era...). In other words, for these two sections to be parallel, the time period should come first followed by a description of that time period. Notice the parallelism with the new paragraph structure:
the 1930s, an era marked by incredible domestic economic distress
the post-Civil War era, a time of immense domestic challenge and strife.

A. The idiom just as x, so y does not compare parallel elements; the description of the 1930s is not parallel to the description of post-Civil War America

B. The idiom just as x, so y is broken as the word so is omitted; parallel elements are not compared in that listening to Franklin D. Roosevelt's famous fireside chats is compared to Abraham Lincoln's famous Second Inaugural Address;

C. The idiom just as x, so y is broken as the word so is omitted

D. The idiom just as x, so y is properly maintained; parallel elements are compared in both x (listening...) and y (reading...) and in the description of the 1930s (domestic economic distress) and the post-Civil War era (domestic challenge and strife)

E. The description of the 1930s is not parallel to the description of post-Civil War America


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