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an example of parallel structure

College Prep Writing

Self-Assessment

Assessment Four

The following are instructions for a personal essay for a scholarship application. Some parts of the essay reflect spoken English rather than formal written English, and there are grammar errors and problems with clarity. What changes should be made to improve the essay?


Submit a one-page typed essay outlining how you became interested in a nursing career and tell your career goals after graduation. Include a brief background of your volunteer, leadership, and extracurricular activities.


Nursing as My Career


(1) When I was a small child of around 10, my family and me took a vacation in Colorado, where we visited my mother's aunt, who was a nurse. (2) We had to go to the hospital where she worked, and she took time off from her schedule to give us a tour of the hospital, and that experience impressed me. (3) Since then, I have always been interested in nursing.


(4) When I was in high school, I got my second tour of a hospital at an orientation session for volunteers. (5) I volunteered on Saturdays at the hospital where I was born. (6) Visiting patients, and running errands, such as cleaning wheelchairs and helping patients get dressed. (7) My volunteer experience assured me that I was on the right career track.


(8) When I started the nursing curriculum at college, I developed a tutoring system for foreign students in the nursing program who like needed help with their English. (9) I thought that while helping them prepare for a career, I could learn about other cultures and prepare myself for working overseas some day. (10) Because that is one of my ambitions.


(11) Nowadays, my main goal is to become an RN and to work in a hospital and stuff. (12) Whenever I tell friends or acquaintances about my goal, they suggest that I choose a specialty like surgical nursing or anesthetist nursing or pediatric nursing. (13) But I haven't made a choice like that. (14) Not yet.


(15) At this point in time, I'm pretty interested, however, in working for an international aide organization after I graduate, and I have done some research into international organizations that need nurses. (16) My brother was in the Peace Corps, and that possibility interests me. (17) Maybe that experience will lead me to an area of specialty in nursing, and then I'll continue my education.


1. Keeping in mind the differences between written and spoken English, as well as grammar, should the underlined portion of sentence (1) stay as it is or is one of the alternatives below more suitable.

No change.
me and my family took a vacation in Colorado
my family and myself took a vacation in Colorado
my family and I took a vacation in Colorado
my family, including I, took a vacation in Colorado


2. Keeping in mind the differences between written and spoken English, as well as grammar, should sentence (3) stay as it is or is one of the alternatives below more suitable.

No change.
Sense then, I have always been interested in nursing.
Since then, I was always interested in nursing.
From then, I have always been interested in nursing.
Since than, I'm always interested in nursing.


3. Do you agree that (6) is a fragment? If so, how can it be eliminated while incorporating its meaning?

Delete "visiting" and start the new sentence with "Patients."
Add the fragment to the end of the previous sentence (5). Use a comma after
        "born": ...I was born, visiting patients...
Delete "such as."
Change "visiting" and "running" to "visit" and "run."
(6) is not a fragment. It is a good sentence.


4. What correction needs to be made in sentence (8)?

Delete the comma after "college."
Insert a comma after "students."
The first clause should come last.
Delete the word "like."
Replace "like" with "such as."


5. Is (10) all right as it stands?

Yes, it is a good independent clause.
No, the verb (is) should be plural because "ambitions" is plural.
No, it is a fragment.
No, it does not have a subject.
Yes, it is a good sentence.


6. Does sentence (11) have a problem?

The word "stuff" is inappropriate.
A comma is necessary after RN.
This is a run-on sentence.
The subject is not clear.
The sentence does not have a problem.


7. Sentences (13) and (14) contain characteristics of spoken English. How can these be restated to meet conventions of formal written English?

However, I have not made a choice yet.
But I have not made a choice yet.
But I still have not made a choice.
However, I have not made a choice.
Yet I have not made a choice.


8. How can sentence (15) be altered to reflect written English conventions?

At this point, I am pretty interested, however,...
At the moment, however, I am quite interested in working for. . ..
Right now I am pretty interested, however, in working for. . ..
At this point in my training, however, I am pretty interested in working for. . ..
The sentence is fine as it is. No change.