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an example of parallel structure

College Prep Writing

Self-Assessment

Assessment Three

The following paragraphs may be improved by deleting or revising the portions of them that are characteristic of spoken or informal English. Select the option that reflects the conventions of formal written language.


A Well-Used Language


(1) It is difficult to really know precisely the exact number of speakers of a language, but there is little doubt that Mandarin Chinese has the most. (2) The language with the second greatest number of speakers is not so obvious. (3) Estimates vary; some linguists place Spanish after Chinese, and others put English in second place.


(4) When primary and secondary speakers of English are combined, however, English speakers outnumber primary and secondary Spanish speakers. (5) About 400 million people speak English as a native language, between 500 million and a billion use English as a foreign language, and tons more are learning English in classrooms. (6) There are additional millions who read English but do not speak the language. (7) It is thought that an awesome two-thirds of the world's scientists read English, and most of the world's mail is in that language, which is almost unbelievable.


(8) Although the speakers of Chinese are more in number than the speakers of English, English users are like all over the place around the world, and English is almost a world language. (9) Multinational overseas businesses like Toyota, BMW, Tata Group, Air France, Deutsche Telekom, Hitachi Ltd, and others distribute internal documents and e-mail in English, and English is a very important working-language at international organizations, such as the International Criminal Police Organization, the World Health Organization, and the United Nations.


(10) The great amount of written information available in English contributes to the language's world-wide popularity, and although English may sound pretty different from country to country, there are no significant differences in the way the language is written. (11) When a software developer in India gets on the phone with a computer maker in Japan, they may have trouble understanding each other's spoken English; however, if they write to each other, everything is OK. (12) There are virtually no dialects in written English. (13) All over the world, readers of English as a first or second language expect to be able to understand the English-language books, newspapers, and magazines that they read, and writers make this possible because they follow standard writing rules.


1. Consider the meaning and purpose of the first paragraph. Decide whether the underlined portion of sentence (1) needs be changed to make it consistent with the conventions of written academic English. Choose the best option.

No change.
It is difficult to know precisely the exact number of speakers of a language,...
It is difficult to really know precisely the number of speakers of a language,...
It is difficult to know precisely the number of speakers of a language,...
It is difficult to really know the exact number of speakers of a language,...


2. Consider the meaning and purpose of the second paragraph. Decide whether sentence (7) should be changed to make it consistent with the conventions of written academic English. Choose the best option.

No change.
People say that two-thirds of the world's scientists read English, and most of         the world's mail is in that language, which is almost unbelievable.
Linguists estimate that an awesome two-thirds of the world's scientists read         English, and most of the world's mail is in that language.
People say that an awesome two-thirds of the world's scientists read English,         and most of the world's mail is in that language.
Linguists estimate that two-thirds of the world's scientists read English, and         most of the world's mail is in that language.


3. Consider the meaning and purpose of the third paragraph. Decide whether sentence (8) should be changed to make it consistent with the conventions of written academic English. Choose the best option.

No change.
Although the speakers of Chinese outnumber the speakers of English, English         users are like all over the place around the world, and English is almost a world         language.
Although the speakers of Chinese outnumber the speakers of English, English         users are widely distributed around the world, and English is almost a world         language.
Although the speakers of Chinese are greater in number than speakers of         English, English users are widely distributed around the world, and English is         almost a world language.
Although the speakers of Chinese are greater in number than speakers of         English, English users are widely distributed around the world, and English is         like almost a world language.


4. Consider the meaning and purpose of the fourth paragraph. Decide whether the underlined portion of sentence (10) should be changed to make it consistent with the conventions of written academic English. Choose the best option.

No change.
...and although English may sound different from country to country, there are         no significant differences in the way it is written.
...and although English may sound different from country to country, there are         not a whole bunch of significant differences in the way it is written.
...and although English may sound pretty different from country to country,         there are not like significant differences in the way it is written.
...and although English may sound different from country to country, there are         not a whole lotta significant differences in the way it is written.


5. Consider the meaning and purpose of the fourth paragraph. Decide whether the underlined portion of sentence (11) should be changed to make it consistent with the conventions of written academic English. Choose the best option.

No change.
however, if they write to each other, they are gonna understand each other.
but if they write to each other, everything is okay.
but if they write to each other, they can communicate clearly.
however, if they write to each other, they can communicate clearly.


6. Consider the meaning and purpose of the fourth paragraph. Decide whether the underlined portion of sentence (13) should be changed to make it consistent with the conventions of written academic English. Choose the best option.

No change.
because they don't make grammar mistakes.
they follow standard writing rules.
because standard writing rules are followed.
because they follow weird writing rules.