A correctly written sentence: A possible first step (in developing) a nonsexist vocabulary with which to analyze the works of the nineteenth-century writer Elizabeth Gaskell would be (to stop) referring to her as “Mrs. Gaskell.”

I know the sentence has no errors, but shouldn’t “in developing” be changed to “to develop” in order to be parallel with “to stop”?

Nope. Can I give you some advice? Instead of saying, “shouldn’t it be X?” when you miss a question like this, say, “Oh, I guess it’s Y. Huh. Now I know!”

Each mistake you make is a learning opportunity. You might be making it harder for yourself to take advantage of that opportunity if you keep thinking you’re going to discover a place where the person who wrote the question is the one who made a mistake.

Comments (2)

Thanks for the advice Mike!
I know I can be somewhat paranoid about possible errors- I’m just anxious not to make any mistakes. But, for the SAT, I think it’d be better to just accept the answer and move on as you mentioned rather than lose time trying to understand why each answer could or couldn’t be wrong. Do you have tips on how I can not be so paranoid while taking the tests?

I just realized the answer to the question above. In the example sentence

To follow her advice is to obey your duties (Rather than: Following her advice is to obey your duties),

the first sentence maintains the infinitive and is thus parallel, but the parenthetical sentence violates parallelism by having a gerund paired with an infinitive.

But the sentence I posted “The first step in developing……would be to stop” still maintains parallelism because “in developing” is an phrase that just provides extra info and thus be crossed out (since it’s not the subject). Thus, the clearer way to see the sentence is “The first step….would be to stop,” which only has one infinitive and thus no parallelism is needed.

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