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Before the storm destroyed much of the harbor, this town,

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Before the storm destroyed much of the harbor, this town, [#permalink]

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01 Jan 2011, 12:36
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Before the storm destroyed much of the harbor, this town, with its sandy beaches and multiple opportunities for sports, had been one of the most popular resort destinations on the East Coast.

B)has been
D)was being
E)was
[Reveal] Spoiler: OA

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Re: SC : Storm destroyed much of the harbor [#permalink]

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01 Jan 2011, 12:37
OA is E. Please tell me why it can't be A two different times in the past are discussed in the question.
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Re: SC : Storm destroyed much of the harbor [#permalink]

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01 Jan 2011, 16:09
here we need verb agreement: we have destroyed........that indicate a tense totally gone. finished. it's over

so, E is the right answer. if you ahve doubt on this, maybe a problem with question much more difficult

You must think on this question not more than ten seconds
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Re: SC : Storm destroyed much of the harbor [#permalink]

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01 Jan 2011, 20:26
Interesting question.
What is the source?
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Re: SC : Storm destroyed much of the harbor [#permalink]

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02 Jan 2011, 00:07
carcass wrote:
here we need verb agreement: we have destroyed........that indicate a tense totally gone. finished. it's over

so, E is the right answer. if you ahve doubt on this, maybe a problem with question much more difficult

You must think on this question not more than ten seconds

However, according to GMAT, we must use Past Perfect when we want to state something that is occuring at a different time in the past.

For example, in the following sentence, we use past perfect to distinguish the different time instances in the past.

He had studied English before he moved to New York.

The question posted is similar in construction with the example above. Hence shouldn't A be the right answer ?
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Re: SC : Storm destroyed much of the harbor [#permalink]

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02 Jan 2011, 02:12
In my opinion, (A) is not wrong, but when we compared (A) with (E), (A) is more redundant than (E) because the use of "before" in the sentence has shown the order of different time. That's why (E) is better than (A).
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Re: SC : Storm destroyed much of the harbor [#permalink]

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02 Jan 2011, 04:07
Before the storm destroyed much of the harbor, this town, with its sandy beaches and multiple opportunities for sports, had been one of the most popular resort destinations on the East Coast.

B)has been
D)was being
E)was - concise
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Re: SC : Storm destroyed much of the harbor [#permalink]

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02 Jan 2011, 08:26
carcass wrote:
The question posted is similar in construction with the example above. Hence shouldn't A be the right answer ?

The town was "one of the most popular resort destinations on the East Coast" before the storm hit.
The 'had been' here is probably redudant since we have nothing else to compare with on the time line of the town.

The town 'was' something and nothing is left now.

The 'had been' calls for when we need to differentiate between two events in time, or am I wrong?
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Re: SC : Storm destroyed much of the harbor [#permalink]

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02 Jan 2011, 09:57
I would say it is not a great question. Both "had been" and "was" can be used in the sentence without any ambiguity. Use of past perfect tense is not needed if the meaning is clear when using the simple past tense.

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Re: SC : Storm destroyed much of the harbor [#permalink]

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02 Jan 2011, 10:48
was does sound correct as you all have said . However in similar type of questions with words arranged here and there ,I am finding bit difficult as to when to use was and when to use had been
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Re: SC : Storm destroyed much of the harbor [#permalink]

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02 Jan 2011, 22:53
charleshsu0952 wrote:
In my opinion, (A) is not wrong, but when we compared (A) with (E), (A) is more redundant than (E) because the use of "before" in the sentence has shown the order of different time. That's why (E) is better than (A).

IMO,There will always be a word in the sentence like 'before' , 'after', 'later' etc to specify that the action is done at a different time in the past. What makes this sentence so different from the rest ?
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Re: SC : Storm destroyed much of the harbor [#permalink]

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02 Jan 2011, 23:39
The beginning of the sentence is "Before", so we can understand that the town was one of the most popular resort destinations on the East Coast after the storm destroyed much of the harbor. It shows clearly that the town is not a popular resort any more when we use the past tense in the main clause.
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Re: Before the storm destroyed much of the harbor, this town, [#permalink]

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12 Jul 2015, 07:06
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Before the storm destroyed much of the harbor, this town, [#permalink]

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12 Jul 2015, 16:32
charleshsu0952 wrote:
In my opinion, (A) is not wrong, but when we compared (A) with (E), (A) is more redundant than (E) because the use of "before" in the sentence has shown the order of different time. That's why (E) is better than (A).

I see (A) as being no more redundant than (E). Taken to the extreme, if "before" signals the past, then "was" shouldn't be grammatically allowed out of redundancy either. And, what about the continuous nature implied in "had been", where the town continuously ranked at the top, as opposed to, say, just one period before the storm, in which case "was" is appropriate?

I believe that the justification for (E) is that you cannot infer the town's continuous rank. It doesn't say anywhere else in the sentence the continuous nature of the town's rank, and the town's past status is in fact the portion we're correcting. Therefore, the most we can know is that it was at least once ranked as a top East Coast destination. If, however, the GMAT required readers to take the entire meaning of the original sentence as-is, then (A) must be correct (but the GMAT doesn't, since the original sentence may or may not be correct).
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Re: Before the storm destroyed much of the harbor, this town, [#permalink]

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13 Jul 2015, 09:18
Expert's post
Before the storm destroyed much of the harbor, this town, with its sandy beaches and multiple opportunities for sports, had been one of the most popular resort destinations on the East Coast.

A)had been Since we have the cue "before," the past perfect isn't necessary to indicate which action took place.
E)was
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Before the storm destroyed much of the harbor, this town, [#permalink]

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13 Jul 2015, 11:04
OptimusPrepJanielle wrote:
Before the storm destroyed much of the harbor, this town, with its sandy beaches and multiple opportunities for sports, had been one of the most popular resort destinations on the East Coast.

A)had been Since we have the cue "before," the past perfect isn't necessary to indicate which action took place.
E)was

OptimusPrepJanielle: There's one explanation on this forum that seems to contradict what you say, which is why I'm confused.

"Before the teacher entered the room, John had been cheating on the exam." (First, John was in the act of cheating on the exam. Later, the teacher walked in. Did John stop because the teacher walked in? Or had he already stopped for some other reason before she walked in? We don't know - but the OG prefers to interpret this as: John cheated. Then John stopped. Then the teacher walked into the room.)

According to the above, with the use of "before", (A) and (E) are equivalent. That still leads us to at least three different justifications, 2 for (E) and 1 for (A), depending on what takes priority:

1. Be concise, (E) correct: (A) is grammatically correct, and (E) takes priority only because it's less wordy and slightly less redundant (if at all).

2. Go with what we know, (E) correct: "Was" and "had been" are still different, because in the example above, John "was" cheating before the teacher walked in, may mean he was cheating at one time, say, 1 hour beforehand. Whereas, John "had been" cheating before the teacher walked in means John cheated on the exam for a while or for an unknown duration up until and because the teacher walked in. In which case, (E) changes the meaning of (A), and we accept (E) only because there is no way to know for sure how long something was going on before the storm, since the past duration and even cause is exactly what we're correcting in the sentence. Therefore, (E) is at least true, and (A) is possible but not known 100%.

3. Preserve Meaning, (A) correct: In contrast to (2), if we were to accept the original sentence's meaning, then (A) must be true, and (E) must be false, because there was an unknown duration of X before Y, and the storm directly causes X's duration to stop; it's not simply a one time occurrence of X sometime before the storm with a causal relationship not necessarily existing - only a temporal relationship is established by the word "before". For example, "Before the war, I was a singer, a dancer, and a mathematician." This only means sometime before the war, one was a singer, a dancer, and a mathematician, and not necessarily that the war caused one to cease being a singer, dancer, and mathematician. One could just be recalling a memory from long ago, and the war is just a major life event or reference point to recall a memory.

The real question is, whose question is this? OG? Manhattan? Magoosh? If it's from OG, then whatever the justification, go with their rule. If it's another's example, then it's still confusing. In that case, we'll need a different OG example in the same sort of setup (e.g. had been vs. was, "before" used, "had been"/"was" is underlined for correction) to clarify this matter.
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Re: Before the storm destroyed much of the harbor, this town, [#permalink]

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14 Jul 2015, 04:31
Expert's post
Use of the past perfect or simple past is optional when used with conjunctions. For GMAT optional is often synonymous with redundant. Here's a nice quick explanation in the "special cases" section: http://www.perfectyourenglish.com/gramm ... -tense.htm
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Re: Before the storm destroyed much of the harbor, this town, [#permalink]

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14 Jul 2015, 08:21
OptimusPrepJanielle wrote:
Use of the past perfect or simple past is optional when used with conjunctions. For GMAT optional is often synonymous with redundant. Here's a nice quick explanation in the "special cases" section: http://www.perfectyourenglish.com/gramm ... -tense.htm

Thanks for the link! I'm thinking that "was" is still preferred over "had been", for one past action before another, even in the special case when we want to emphasize the idea of completion. But, why would they call it a special case if it wasn't necessary? That "had been" is still grammatically correct, though "was" takes preference?
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Re: Before the storm destroyed much of the harbor, this town, [#permalink]

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14 Jul 2015, 09:03
E it is. Before - removes any need to use past perfect. Nevertheless, I believe that GMAT will never give such a question.
Re: Before the storm destroyed much of the harbor, this town,   [#permalink] 14 Jul 2015, 09:03
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