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The Basics

  1. A verb is a word or a phrase that expresses the action, condition or possession of the subject.
    It is the most important word in the sentence, for sentences of formal English are seldom used without a verb. Verbs in many sentences contain more than one word (a verb phrase) to express time and continuity aspects.

Study the following examples and understand the function of the verb in sentences.

  • Turbo engines combine air and fuel efficiently, thereby increasing power of cars. (The verb combine gives the action of the subject.)
  • Siberian tiger, a subspecies of tiger, is severely endangered. (The verb is gives the condition of the subject Siberian tiger.)
  • Vietnam and Indonesia, the ASEAN nations with fastest infrastructure development, have great business opportunities for construction and design firms. (The verb have expresses the possession of the subject.)
  1. Complete verbs v/s incomplete verbs.
    There are two types of verbs: finite verbs (complete verbs) and infinite verbs (incomplete verbs). This classification is based on the ‘completeness’ of the verbs.
    A finite verb is one which can be the main verb of a clause, while a non-finite verb cannot be the main verb of a clause. Generally, infinitive (to + first form of verb), and participles (ing forms and –ed forms) are used as non-finite verbs.

Study the following examples in which the finite verbs are italicized.

  • The amount of detail and the level of complexity have grown in management of financial accounts because of the increased accountability as well as strict governmental restrictions.
  • The police were informed about the accident that took place in the neighborhood.
  • It has been difficult for analysts to assess the exact market size because of the fragmented and family-ownership nature of the industry.

Study the following examples in which the non-finite verbs are italicized.

  • It has been difficult for analysts to assess the exact market size because of the fragmented and family-ownership nature of the industry. (to infinitive is non-finite verb in this example)
  • The strict regulations imposed by the government are designed to protect the environment. (-ed form acting as an adjective to modify the preceding noun and to infinitive are the two italicized non-finite verbs.)
  • His colleague, promoted to a more responsible position, but delegating some work to some subordinates, managed to find some leisure. (ed form of verb, ing form of verb and to infinitive are the three non-finite verbs.)

This concept is rather too grammatical. You, however, need to identify the simple fact that if a sentence/clause contains only a non-finite verb, then the sentence is a fragment and thus is incorrect in G-matic language.


The G-matic Error of Sentence Fragment with ‘Incomplete’ Verbs

The G-matic sentences should have at least one finite verb. Even the subordinate clauses in the complex sentences must have a finite verb. The test makers give incorrect options that create this fragment error.


Study the following examples and understand how the incorrect sentences are with fragment error because of the use of non-finite verb.

* The absence of any universally accepted rules for negotiation creating both opportunities for innovation and challenges in conduction.

The above example is incomplete because of the absence of complete verb (finite verb). Thus, this is an instance of fragment error. See how the error is corrected by changing the non-finite verb into a finite verb.

* The absence of any universally accepted rules for negotiation creates both opportunities for innovation and challenges in conduction.

* The African-American Civil Rights Movement, aimed at outlawing racial discrimination and restoring suffrage in Southern states, including many forms of protests, such as boycotts and ‘sit-ins’.

You should identify that the infomation between two commas after The African-American Civil Rights Movement is additional infomation. Thus, if we ignore it, the remaining sentence is without a complete verb. Thus, the non-finite verb including must be changed to finite verb.

* The African-American Civil Rights Movement, aimed at outlawing racial discrimination and restoring suffrage in Southern states, included many forms of protests, such as boycotts and ‘sit-ins’.

You might remember you have done a down-to-earth exercise on finite verbs in Chapter 3 Parts of Speech and Word Groups. If you have not done that exercise, it is advisable to do so.

Example
Cryoablation techniques which involve application of cold probes to cancer tissue to freeze it leading to better survival rates in patients of breast cancer.
A. leading
B. to lead
C. and which lead
D. which lead
E. lead
Solution
Explanation: the underlined verb is an incomplete verb which results in a fragment. Thus, the sentence is incorrect.
Option A: this option results in a sentence fragment.
Option B: even this option, with an incomplete verb, results in fragment.
Option C: though this option introduces a relative clause which seems to be parallel to the earlier relative clause, the sentence is without a main clause. Thus, this sentence is also a fragment.
Option D: this option, introducing another relative clause, results in the fragment. Moreover, the relative clause is illogically attached to the preceding pronoun it leading to awkward construction as well as illogical predication.
Option E: correct. This option provides the main (finite) verb required for the sentence.

 


Tenses – The G-matic Implications

The choice of tense depends on the meaning to be conveyed logically by the sentence. To facilitate the discussion that follows, I need to introduce some basic concepts about verbs.


There are three basic forms of the verbs. These are called principal parts of the verb. Look the following examples.


Verb: walk --- the principal parts: walk – walked – walked

Verb: see --- the principal parts: see – saw – seen


The verbs whose second and third forms are formed by addition of –ed are called regular verbs and those verbs whose second and third forms are not formed this way are called irregular verbs.


For our convenience of discussion of tense structure, we are going to call the principal parts of verbs V1, V2 and V3 respectively.

  1. Present
    1. Simple present
      i. Form: V1(s/es) or is/am/are (as a main verb) ; negative: do/does + not + V1; passive: is/are/are + V3

We need to add ‘e/es to the V1 if the subject is any singular subject other than I, we and you.

  • The Secretary wants to solve the problem by negotiations.
  • The demonstrators do not want to dilute their demands.
  • Given the uncertainty of the political scenario, the situation is volatile.

ii. Uses of simple present: we use this tense to express repeated actions and permanent facts, such as general or scientific facts.

Study the following examples in which different forms used in the simple present are illustrated along with the uses of this tense.

  • Ethnic concerns about culture sometimes complicate the efforts to define the term scientifically. (general fact)
  • In a for-profit organization, the management tries to maximize profits by reducing the input costs. (regular action)
  • Dictatorial managements do not understand the simple fact that a modicum of tolerance towards minor insubordination often prevents a major split. (general fact)
  • The meltdown of mortgage market, most of the times, is not the single factor that can trigger a national financial crisis. (general fact)

iii. G-matic implication: the actions and states that are true at present must be expressed in this tense though the ‘surrounding’ verbs are in past tense. The test makers give tricky questions using this principle.

Study the following example and understand explanation that follows.

*Despite the hostility he faced from the Church, Copernicus argued that the earth was not the center of the universe.

In the above example, though the main clause and the subordinate clause are with past tenses, the clause (that the earth was not the center of the universe) is correct even today. Thus, it must be in present tense.

* Despite the hostility he faced from the Church, Copernicus argued that the earth is not the center of the universe.

  1. Present progressive
    i. Form: is/am/are + ing form of the verb. Negative: is/am/are + not+ ing form. Passive: is/am/are + being + V3
  • The global temperatures are increasing at an alarming rate.
  • These days, he is being a bit skeptical.

ii. Use: this tense is generally used to refer to action which is in progress in the present.

Study the following examples in which the forms and uses of present progressive are illustrated.

  • The tourist flights above The Grand Canyon are creating noise pollution, which is disturbing the sensitive biome of the region.
  • Financial risk analysts are increasingly using, in their risk calculations, Parrondo’s paradox, a paradox in game theory which is popularly described as a losing strategy that wins.
  1. Present perfect
    This tense is one of the important testing points in GMAT. Most of the times, the wrong options have this tense incorrectly used. So, understanding the correct use of this tense is extremely important.
    i. Form: have/has + V3. We should use has for the any singular subject other than I, we, or you. Negative: have/has + not + V3. Passive: have/has + been + V3.
  • The Board has postponed the meaning.
  • We have completed some of the work.

ii. Use: this tense is a combination of past and present. We need to use this tense when we talk about the past action with an implication of present effect. Thus, we use present-inclusive time phrases, such as since/for phrases

Study the following illustration and understand how this tense is to be used.

  • I have not eaten anything since last night. (= I am terribly hungry!)
     
    Though the sentence is talking about the past action of not eating anything, its actual purpose is to imply that I am terribly hungry.
  • Most of the governments across the world have drastically limited the levels of pollutants allowed in industrial effluents.

The sentence is talking about the past action of governments. But the purpose of the sentence is to imply that industries can no longer dump high amounts of pollutants in their effluents.

iii. G-matic implication: the moment we use past time phrases, the emphasis is shifted to past action from present effect, thus the use of present perfect is incorrect.

This is how they give many incorrect options in sentence correction questions.

Study the following examples.

*Last night, I have not eaten anything.

* In 1980s, most of the governments across the world have drastically limited the levels of pollutants allowed in industrial effluents.

In the above sentences, the time phrases (last night and in 1980s) indicate past time and are not present inclusive. Thus, the emphasis is on past action, rather than on present effect. Thus, the use of present perfect is incorrect. The following are the corrected versions of the above sentences.

*Last night, I did not eat anything.

* In 1980s, most of the governments across the world dramatically limited the levels of pollutants allowed in industrial effluents.

  1. Present perfect continuous
    i. Form: have/has + been + ing form. We need to use has for singular subject other than I, we, and you.
  • Susan has been searching for a job since her graduation.

ii. Use: we use this tense to refer to an action that started in the past, continued till present and is still continuing now. To give this sense, we need to use present-inclusive time phrases starting with since or for.

Study the following example which illustrates the form and use of this tense.

  • The Solar Dynamic Observatory, a NASA mission to observe the sun for five years, has been sending reports since February last.

In this example, we can understand that the act of sending reports started in February and continued till now and is still continuing now. The sentence correctly uses present perfect continuous tense.

iii. G-matic implication: in spoken English, most of the students tend to use present progressive incorrectly in the place of the needed present perfect continuous tense with present inclusive since or for time phrase. So, test makers give them to create ‘attractive’ wrong options.

Study the following example to understand this infrequent G-matic error.

* She is waiting for you for the last thirty minutes.

* She has been waiting for you for the last thirty minutes.

* Since the Kyoto Protocol, all the industrialized countries are trying to reduce emission of Greenhouse gases.

* Since the Kyoto Protocol, all the industrialized countries have been trying to reduce the emission of greenhouse gases.
 

Example
The higher the percentage of biodiesel in a blend of biodiesel and conventional fossil fuel, the more ecofriendly the blend is, for biodiesel was proved to pollute far less than did 
conventional hydro-carbon based diesel.
A. was proved to pollute far less than did
B. has proved to pollute far less than does
C. has been proved to pollute far less than does
D. polluting far less than
E. being proven to pollute far less than
Solution
Explanation: the use of past simple was proved is not correct as the initial part of the sentence, which is in present tense, is the result of the action present in the underlined part. The correct tense required is present perfect tense. Moreover, the verb after than is in past tense while it is referring to a scientific fact. Thus, both past tenses used in the underlined part are incorrect.
Option A: the sentence wrongly uses past tenses where present tenses are required.
Option B: though the tense problems are corrected, use of active voice is incorrect. It is illogical to say biodiesel has proved to pollute…
Option C: Correct. This option correctly uses present perfect in passive for the past action whose result is found in the present. It correctly uses present simple in the later underlined part to indicate a general fact.
Option D: use of ‘incomplete’ verb makes this a fragment.
Option E: this option presents the fragment error.

 

Tenses
Fill in the blanks with the correct tense from between the two options in brackets.

  1. Although the United Nations --------- (has been/was started), in 1945, with the prime objective of international peace, it ------- (influenced/has been influencing) many other fields, such as human rights and health care, for the last 25 years.
  2. Phylum Mollusca, the largest marine phylum that --------- (constitutes/constituted) 22% of extant marines animals, contains animals that ------- (secrete/secreted) hard shell around their delicate bodies for protection.
  3. Although the Ancient Egyptians ---------------- (had lacked/lacked) the concept of measurement of angle, they had used trigonometry well before Greeks ------------- (have established /established) the subject as ordered science.
  4. Between 710 and 1120 AD, there ---------- (had been/was) a ten-fold increase in the population of Anasazi, an increase which -------- (is/was) primarily attributed not only to the consistent rainfall but also to the possible migration from surrounding areas.
  5. Developmental psychologists, who have studied a lot of experimental data, -------- (are now endorsing/now endorsed) the view that an infant ---------- (prefers/has preferred) stimuli that are relatively novel to those it ---------- (has faced/had faced) previously.

 Keys

  1. Was started, has been influencing. The use of has been (present perfect) to refer to a past action of 1945 is incorrect. Simple past was started is the correct tense. However, the action of influencing has been a present on-going action since the implied past time. This requires present perfect continuous tense.
  2. Constitutes, secrete. The verbs required in both verbs talk about the scientific facts, and thus we need to use simple present for both.
  3. Had lacked, established. The first action happened before the other past action. So we need to use past perfect for the first blank and simple past for the second.
  4. Was, is primarily attributed. The sentence is talking about a past event which is attributed to something by the current wisdom. Thus, we need a simple past for the past event and simple present for the present attribution.
  5. Are endorsing, prefers, has faced. The sentence expresses the current belief basing on the study of experimental data. So use of present is preferable to that of simple past. Thus, are now endorsing is the correct tense for the first blank. The later part talks about a currently held scientific opinion and thus needs to be in simple present. Thus, prefers is the correct verb form. However, the implication of present effect of the past action facing requires present perfect. Thus, present perfect has faced is correct for the third blank.

Past

  1. Simple past
    i. Form: V2. Negative: did not + V1.Passive: was/were + V3
    ii. Use: we use past simple to refer to a past action. Generally, there is a past time phrase or an implication of past time in sentences in which simple past is needed.

Study the following examples that illustrate the form and use of simple past.

  • During early decades of twentieth century, many movements of modern art emerged in Paris.
  • During the French Revolution, French society underwent epic transformation as the religious and aristocratic privileges evaporated under the steady attack of liberal political groups.

iii. G-matic implication: when the sentences emphasizes the occurrence of an action in the past, simple past is correct, while the emphasis is on the present effect of the past action, present perfect is correct. 
This distinction is tested in many of G-matic sentences.

Study the following examples to understand this concept.

*In interbank market, the participating banks, in initial stages, dealt with each other directly only, but they have started dealing with each other electronically rather than directly.

Dealing only directly was a past situation and thus simple past is correctly used in the first part of the sentence, whereas the preference for electronic dealing is prevalent as indicated by the use of present perfect tense in the later part of the sentence.

* Since the Paris- Rouen race, the first ever world car race that was conducted in 1894, there has been improvement both in the conduction of and in performance in car races.

As you can easily observe, the conduction of first car race is a past event and improvement has been during present-inclusive time period.

  1. Past continuous
    i. Form: was/were + ing form. Negative: was/were + not + ing form.
    ii. Use: we use past continuous to refer to action that were in progress at a given or implied past time.

Study the following examples that illustrate the form and the use of this tense.

  • At quarter to seven, I was actually working on the project. (The action was in progress in the given past time.)
  • Most of the Native American people in Brazil were using Tupian language when the Portuguese arrived there. (the action was in progress during the implied past time.)

iii. G-matic implication: we use past continuous tense when the continuity of a past action is to be emphasized while we need to use simple past to emphasize the occurrence of a past action.

Study the following example to understand this concept.

* It is possible that many foreign races were entering India through passes in the Himalayas during Indus Valley Civilization period.

If you closely observe, you can understand that the emphasis is on the occurrence, rather than on the continuity of the action, thus, the use of past continuous is not correct.

*It is possible that many foreign races entered India through passes in the Himalayas during Indus Valley Civilization period.

  1. Past perfect
    i. Form: had + V3. Negative: had not + V3. Passive: had been + V3
    ii. Use: we should use this tense to emphasize the completion of a past action before another past action or a past time. Generally, we emphasize the completion or non-completion of the first past action before the occurrence of the second past action.

Study the following examples that illustrate the form and use of this tense.

  • The company had successfully constructed 20 major projects before it was given this project. (The emphasis is on its completion of 20 major project before the second past action of being given this project.)
  • Leonardo Da Vinci had spent ten years observing, as an apprentice, the creation of artifacts before starting his own studio. (His spending of ten years was before the starting of his own studio, the second past action.)

Among all the tenses, this is the most important tense as far as G-matic sentence is concerned. 
You should keep in mind that if there is only one past action, you need to use simple past unless its completion is emphasized by a given or implied past time.

Study the following sentences to understand the difference in meaning between simple past and past perfect.

  • After she had typed all the letters, she left the office. (= only after typing all the letters, she left the office.)
  • After she typed all the letters, she left the office. (= after typing all the letters, she left the office.)

*An executive branch agency of the United States Government, NASA had started its operations in 1958. (Only one past action is talked about and thus, past perfect is incorrect.)

* An executive branch agency of the United States Government, NASA started its operations in 1958. (Simple past is correctly used in this sense.)


iii. G-matic implication: 
the confusion between simple past and past perfect is a major testing point in GMAT. The thumb rule can be given the following way. Simple past refers to an action which is past to the present while past perfect refers to an action which the past to another past.

Study the following examples that illustrate this point.

* Quite surprisingly, the stock prices had increased drastically, while the analysts expected them to plummet.

The expectation of decrease was before the increase. Thus, this sentence incorrectly uses past perfect for the second past action and simple past for the first past action. The following is the corrected version of this sentence.

*Quite surprisingly, the stock prices increased drastically, while the analysts had expected them to plummet.


We should note that there is difference in meaning when we use simple past and past perfect. Study the following example.

  • The celebration started when the chief guest arrived. (It started after he arrived.)
  • The meeting had started when the chief guest arrived. (It started before his arrival.)
  1. Past perfect continuous:
    i. Form: had + been + ing form. Negative: had not + been + ing form.
     
    ii. Use: This tense is past equivalent of present perfect continuous tense. We use this tense to refer to an action that started at a given past time and continued till another past time and was in progress at the second past time.

The following examples illustrate the form and use of this tense.

  • The dinosaur had been dominating the earth’s biome for almost three million years when it became extinct some 67 million years ago.

Example
The Air Pollution Control act of 1955, the first of the federal laws to aim at controlling the air pollution, declared that air pollution is a threat to public health, but without interfering much with the rights of decision making that was enjoyed previously by the state governments.
A. without interfering much with the rights of decision making that was
B. the act did not interfere much with the rights of decision making that were
C. did not interfere much with the rights of decision making that had been
D. it had not interfered much with the rights of decision making that were
E. had not interfered much with the decision making rights
Solution
Explanation: the act declared something, but did not interfere with the rights of decision making rights previously enjoyed by states. To express this intended meaning, we need to use two parallel main clauses with the conjunction but. In the given option, the prepositional phrase without interfering ... making is not parallel to the main clause present before the conjunction. Moreover, the verb in the relative clause (that was enjoyed...) agrees with the noun decision making implying that it was the decision making that was enjoyed. In fact, the rights were enjoyed. Thus, this results in illogical predication. Moreover, the relative clause must have past perfect to refer to an action which is past to another past action.
Option A: the option does not have the main verb required. It also has illogical predication problem as well as the tense problem.
Option B: the option does not have the conjunction to combine two main clauses, resulting in run-on sentence and repeats the subject (the act), making it wordy. Though the sentence correctly uses the plural verb to agree with rights, the simple past tense (were enjoyed) is incorrectly used in the place of the required past perfect.
Option C: correct. This option corrects all the problems and uses correct tense structure.
Option D: the use of past perfect to the first underlined action is incorrect. This use implies that the action of not interfering was before the declaration.
Option E: the use of past perfect is incorrect as per the reason discussed in the earlier option.

 

Future

  1. simple future
    i. Form: will/shall + V1. Negative: will/shall +not + V1. Passive: will/shall + be+ V3
    ii. Use: we use this tense to refer to a future action

Study the following examples that illustrate the form and use of future simple.

  • The African-American Association will conduct a critical seminar on the works of Toni Morrison next week.

iii. G-matic implication: you should note that not all future actions are expressed by simple future. In many cases, we use present and, even simple past to express a future action. We should use simple present tense to express future actions in conditional (if) clause and time clauses.

Conditional clauses start with if/unless and time clauses start with conjunctions before, after, till, until, as long as, as soon as, when, etc.

* The students can understand the lesson as long as they will remain attentive.

* The students can understand the lesson as long as they remain attentive.

* The team will submit the report as soon as it will be completed.

 

In the above sentences, both the verbs refer to future actions. However, the second action, which is expressed in time clause, should be expressed in present tense. Both of the following sentences are correct.

* The team will submit the report as soon as it is completed.

* The team will submit the report as soon as it has been completed.

  1. Future continuous
    i. Form: will + be + ing form
    ii.
    Use: we use this tense to refer to an action which is in progress in the future.

Study the following example.

  • The Congress will be discussing this matter during next session.
  1. Future perfect
    i. Form: will/shall + have + V3. Negative: will/shall + not + have been + V3.
    iii. Use: we use this tense to emphasize the completion of a future action by a future time or before another future action.

Study the following example that illustrates the use and form of this tense.

  • The board meeting will have taken the decision before the next shareholders’ meeting.
  1. Future perfect continuous
    i. Form: will/shall + have + been + ing form
    ii. Use: we use this tense to refer to an action in progress at a given future time from a time mentioned.

Study the following example.

  • Mr. Roger will have been working here for two decades when the company shifts its operations to a new location next year.

Example
At rock bottom prices, market giants are interested in acquiring the companies that have lost some of their brand luster.
A. At rock bottom prices, market giants are interested in acquiring the companies that have lost some of their brand luster.
B. Market giants are interested in acquiring the companies that had lost some of their brand luster at rock bottom prices.
C. Market giants are interested to acquire, at rock bottom prices, the companies whose brand luster had been lost to some extent.
D. Market giants are interested in acquiring, at rock bottom prices, the companies that have lost some of their brand luster.
E. Market giants interested in acquiring companies at rock bottom prices the companies that have lost their some of brank luster.
Solution
Explanation: the initial prepositional phrase seems to modify are interested, while it should logically modify the verbal acquiring. Except for this error, rest of the sentence is acceptable.
Option A: this option is with misplaced modifier error.
Option B: Even the new position of the prepositional phrase (at rock bottom prices) is problematic. The structure seems to imply that the companies had lost their brand luster at rock bottom prices. The use of past perfect had lost is not justified here. The situation requires present perfect, which shows the present implication of the past action.
Option C: this option is with idiom problem. Interested in doing something is the correct expression. Interested to do something is not accepted idiom. The use of past perfect and passive in the relative clause (whose brand luster had been …) is wordy and unsuitable in the context.
Option D: correct. This option places the prepositional phrase (at rock bottom prices) correctly and uses correct idiom as well as tenses.
Option E: the sentence is a fragment because it uses a non-finite verb (interested) in the place of the required finite verb (are interested). It has misplaced modifier problem with the phrase at rock bottom prices.

 


Tense Combinations in Conditional Clauses

Though we mostly use an if as the conjunction in conditional clauses, the following conjunctions are also used in conditional clauses.


List of conjunctions used in conditional clauses:
 if, if…then, in case, as long as, unless, provided (that), even if

The tense combinations in conditional sentences have specific meanings. The tenses are used basing on our perception about the possibility or improbability of the action rather than on the actual time of the action. These differences will be discussed at relevant locations in the following discussion.

  1. Type 0 conditional
    This type of conditional sentence expresses the idea that one action is automatically followed by another action. we generally use this conditional in scientific and academic contexts.

Structure: if… simple present …, … simple present….

  • If we heat any metal, it expands.
  1. Type I conditional
    The action in this type of conditional clause is possible to occur and the main clause talks about the possible result of the condition.

Structure: if… simple present …, … simple future ….

  • If it rains tomorrow, we will have to cancel our trip.
  • If test takers practice well before the exam, they will face the test confidently.

The simple present we have used in the above examples indicates our belief that the action mentioned in the conditional is likely to happen.

  1. Type II conditional.
    This conditional clause implies improbability of an action. Sometimes, it may even express a theoretical possibility, which is considered improbable.

Structure: if …simple past …, … would/could/might+ V1 ….

  • If the governments reduced the expenditure on welfare activities, they would not have much budget deficit.

The simple past we used in if-clause indicates that we perceive the action to be an improbable action. The tense in main clause of this structure (would/could/might + V1) is called conditional simple tense and this indicates some unreal situation.


Understand the differences between the last two types.

  • If our team loses the match, we will not qualify for semi-finals. (= in the likely event of our losing the match, we will not qualify.)
  • If our team lost the match, we would not qualify for the semi-finals. (=in the unlikely event of our losing the match, we would not qualify.)
  1. Type III conditional
    We use this type of conditional to express an unreal past situation and then the possible consequence of the situation.

Structure: if … past perfect …, …would/could/might + have + V3….

  • If the French Revolution had been a failure, the aristocratic privileges would have continued for at least some more decades. (=in fact, the Revolution was a success and the privileges did not last.)
  1. Inversion of verb in conditional clauses
    Sometimes, we can use should, were, or had with inverted order to express condition without using if. Study the following examples that illustrate this use and structure.
  • Were he to choose someone to assist him, he would never choose me. (=it is unlikely for him to choose someone to assist him.)
  • Should he select someone to assist him, he would choose someone from his friends. (=he is unlikely to choose someone to assist him.)
  • Had he selected someone to assist him, he would have chosen someone from among his friends. (=in fact, he did not choose anyone to assist him.)

In the above examples, the first two sentences are similar to second type of conditional sentences that express improbable situation. The third example is similar to third type of conditional which expresses unreal past.

  1. G-matic implications
    This is not so frequent a testing point as are others. G-matic English gives wrong options by mismatching the tense combinations discussed above. The use of conditional simple tense (would/could/might + V1) implies a contrary-to-reality situation while the use of conditional perfect (would/could/might + have + V3) indicates unreal past. Both of them are sometimes tested in GMAT.

Study the following examples and the corrections.

* If you had been born on Pluto, you would never celebrate your second birthday because one Pluto’s year is equal to 248 earth’s years.

* If you had been born on Pluto, you would never have celebrated your second birthday because one Pluto’s year is equal to 248 earth’s years.

* If the countries of the world ignored the rate of depletion of ozone in atmosphere, many countries would have submerged.

* If the countries of the world ignored the rate of depletion of ozone in atmosphere, many countries would submerge.

In the above examples, the errors are resulted by the mismatching of tenses. Either of the tenses can be corrected. The part underlined decides what is to be corrected.

Example
If the British colonists in North America had accepted the legitimacy of Parliament of Great Britain to govern them even without their representatives in the British Parliament, the American War of Independence would not start.
A. the American War of Independence would not start.
B. it would not have started the American War of Independence.
C. then, the American War of Independence might not start.
D. they would have started the American War of Independence.
E. the American War of Independence would not have started.
Solution
Explanation: the option uses past perfect in if clause, so conditional perfect (would have +third form) is needed in the main clause. The given option is with incorrect use of tense.
Option A: this option uses the wrong tense in the main clause.
Option B: though the tense problem is corrected, the pronoun it has no antecedent. A pronoun it/that/this cannot be used to refer to a general idea in the earlier part of the sentence.
Option C: this option too has the tense problem.
Option D: though correct tense is used, the verb must be a negative one with not in the given context.
Option E: correct. This option maintains tense coherence in the conditional structure.

 





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