The original building and loan associations were organized as limited life funds, whose members made monthly payments on their share subscriptions, then taking turns drawing on the funds for home mortgages.
(A) subscriptions, then taking turns drawing
(B) subscriptions, and then taking turns drawing
(C) subscriptions and then took turns drawing
(D) subscriptions and then took turns, they drew
(E) subscriptions and then drew, taking turns
Grammar Rule Tested! Parallelism
This is a classic test of parallelism. Remember, whenever you have items in a list, you want to make sure that they are listed in a parallel structure. In this case, the members did two things:
- made monthly payments on their share subscriptions
- then taking turns drawing on the funds for home mortgages
Once you look at the list in this format, it becomes pretty clear that the structure isn’t parallel. The first verb (made) is in the past tense but the second verb (taking) is in the gerund (-ING) form. We want to choose an answer that puts “taking” in the past tense. With this in mind, eliminate choices (A) and (B).
We can eliminate choice (E) because when you plug it back into the sentence, it does not make any sense. (“…and then drew…” what? “Drew” needs an object. Furthermore, the phrase “taking turns on the funds for home mortgages” is nonsensical.) Get rid of it.
Tip! Eliminate nonsensical and illogical answer choices.
This leaves us with (C) and (D). Remember, we are looking for the most clear, concise, and precise answer to this problem. Choice (D) introduces a comma splice in the last part of the sentence by joining two independent classes (“took turns” and “they drew on the funds for home mortgages”) with a comma. Remember, when you have two independent clauses (clauses that can stand on their own as a sentence) you must join them with a conjunction!!!
So how do we know for sure it’s (C)? Again, (C) is the most clear and concise answer that keeps things predictable by adhering to the parallel structure introduced in the first half of the sentence. It avoids introducing any extra commas or clauses that unnecessarily complicate the sentence. When you plug choice (C) back in the original sentence, you find it states the ideas logically and precisely.
Tip! Correct answers will always be clear and concise.
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