How could this be a wrong question?

I saw this question in a TOEIC prep textbook:

For more information on available job positions and ------- an online application, please visit the company Web site.

(1) to complete

(2) completes

(3) completing

(4) completion

This is a multiple choice question to select one from the list.

The answer key says the answer is (1) and the logic is "For more ..." and "to complete" are equally important. However, I came to think (3) might be possible considering "available job positions" and "completing an online application" are parallel.

Is that inadmissible? In that case, could you explain why?

• You're quite right; the test writer hasn't thought the sentence through. Mar 2, 2018 at 12:10

@Marcus is right in explaining why the answer given in the book is correct. The OP argues that 3 might also be right because "available job positions" and "completing an online application" could be parallel. If that were the intended meaning the sentence is unclear. To make the parallel reading clear it would be better to say: "For more information on available job positions and on completing an online application..."

I realise that it is arguable that the single "on" refers to "available job positions" and "completing ..." but without the second "on" by the time the reader gets to "completing" the words "more information" are so far back that the parallel reading is obscured. For that to work well the parallel items need to look as if they are things of the same kind, forming a list of two. But "available job positions" and "completing..." do not look as if they are the same kind of thing at all (even if they are).

Putting in the second "on" alerts the reader that here is a list and that he/she must to look back to the beginning of the sentence to recall what the items in the list are. In this case they are "things on which more information is available".

If the sentence said "For more information on cats and dogs" the second "on" is unnecessary because the fact that here is a list is obvious.

I think it can help you if you split the first part of the sentence into two.

To complete an online application, please visit the company Web site.

You see why the first answer is the correct one?

Completing an online application, please visit the company Web site.

It implies that in the process of completing an online application, you should visit the company's web site, whereas it should be the cause why you are asked to visit that website.

On the other hand, this type of book will always give you the correct answer.

I hope it helped.

• This doesn't address OP's question, which is why it is impermissible to parse "available positions ..." and "completing an application..." as conjunct objects of "on". In fact, it is not impermissible; and I think everybody who's been on this site for a while can tell you, it is not the case that "this type of book will always give you the correct answer". It is very common for the writers of such tests to lack the imagination to recognize ambiguity in their examples. Mar 2, 2018 at 12:08

You are advised to visit the company website for MORE information on completing an online application? Where else can you find such information than the website itself anyway? It may be grammatically correct but sounds rather awkward in this context.

• I understand what you say, but at the same time, the first part "For more information on available job positions" indicates the website visitors do not have much prior knowledge for any positions. Saying "to complete an online application" to such visitors sounds also a bit awkward to me. Mar 2, 2018 at 13:55