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In 1860, the Philological Society launched its effort to

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In 1860, the Philological Society launched its effort to [#permalink] New post 12 Oct 2010, 16:28
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In 1860, the Philological Society launched its effort to create a dictionary more comprehensive than the world had ever seen; although the project would take more than 60 years to complete, the Oxford English Dictionary had been born.

-would take more than 60 years to complete, the Oxford English Dictionary had been
-took more than 60 years to complete, the Oxford English Dictionary was
-would take more than 60 years to complete, the Oxford English Dictionary was being
-would take more than 60 years to complete, the Oxford English Dictionary was
-took more than 60 years to complete, the Oxford English Dictionary was about to be

In what situations do we use WOULD? I rarely came across such constructs. This is from MGMAT.
I liked this question. +1 if you like it too.

Thank you.
[Reveal] Spoiler: expln
The past perfect ("had been born") is used when there are two past actions and we want to indicate which one happened first. In the underlined portion of the sentence, however, the other verb, "would take," is not in the past tense, so we need to use the simple past "was born." (Remember that we always use the most simple tenses allowed; the perfect tenses, and other complicated tenses, are used only when required by the sentence structure.) The second half of the sentence stands in contrast to the first half, in which the simple past "launched" is correctly paired with the past perfect "had seen."

(A) This choice is incorrect as it repeats the original sentence.

(B) This choice changes both the first and second verbs to simple past ("took" and "was born," respectively). In this circumstance, we have two events that took place at different times in the past, which requires use of the past perfect to indicate which event happened first. The dictionary's "birth" obviously happens before its completion, so correct usage would be that the "Dictionary had been born."

(C) The present participle "being" is used with the progressive tense to indicate a continuing or ongoing action. Logically, however, the Dictionary's start must have been at a single point in time, rather than over the course of the book's development.

(D) CORRECT. This choice correctly uses the simple past "was born." A more complicated past tense is not required because the other verb "would take," is not in the past tense.

(E) This choice incorrectly adopts the construction "was about to be born," which conflicts with the non-underlined portion of the sentence. The first half of the sentence indicates that the project was "launched" in 1860 in the past tense, making any reference to the book being "about to be born" at some future point in time incorrect.
[Reveal] Spoiler: OA
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Re: Dictionary was born - 700+ [#permalink] New post 12 Oct 2010, 17:20
could anyone explain why OA is D
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Re: Dictionary was born - 700+ [#permalink] New post 12 Oct 2010, 18:24
Raju, click the explanation spoiler on the question. I pasted the explanation along with the question.
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Re: Dictionary was born - 700+ [#permalink] New post 13 Oct 2010, 08:06
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An event happened in 1860 and all other things happened later. The latter events can not be in PP. So kick out A.

B. Did it take 60 years in 1860? Nay. It is an Illogical predication – out

C. the Oxford English Dictionary was being born? Wrong use of being in a progressive form. Drop it

D. (At that point in 1860,) the project would take 60 years. That is the right expression and hence the right answer.

E. was about to be born. A weird expression- drop it.

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Re: Dictionary was born - 700+ [#permalink] New post 13 Oct 2010, 09:22
I cant get the explanation regarding "would" and "Was"

Isnt it comparing future to past - WOULD take more than 60 years to complete, the Oxford English Dictionary WAS

Shouldnt it be "B" ? TOOK and WAS both past...

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Re: Dictionary was born - 700+ [#permalink] New post 13 Oct 2010, 20:00
what is the source of this question
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Re: Dictionary was born - 700+ [#permalink] New post 14 Oct 2010, 06:55
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@ phoenixrulzz: You will use would in the following instances.

When the main verb of the sentence is in past tense, and whey you want to express something that will be happening thereafter in the future, you will use the past tense of will i.e. would

E.g. I knew well even before the test that I would not make the grade.

Tom realized much later that going to the pub with Dick and Harry would cost him a fortune

But would also can be used to mark some polite plea such as

Would you mind getting me a glass of water!
Would you please give me a loan on my house!

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Re: Dictionary was born - 700+ [#permalink] New post 14 Oct 2010, 16:11
mrinal2100 wrote:
what is the source of this question

source is right on tags! Manhattan.
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Re: Dictionary was born - 700+ [#permalink] New post 15 Oct 2010, 05:12
Bah was between B and D.... went D :cry:
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Re: Dictionary was born - 700+ [#permalink] New post 15 Oct 2010, 10:22
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@daagh, That's a great explanation! We use "would" to describe the future from a past tense point of view, which is the situation we have in this question. This usage isn't super common, but it's definitely good to know and is fair game for testing on the GMAT.

Another situation in which you'd see the "would" construction is with abstract hypothetical situations:

If the two companies merged, the resulting corporation would be unstoppable.
If I were rich, I would buy a house in the Bahamas.

In these types of conditional statements, the condition (or "if" statement) will be in the past tense and the result will have "would + verb root".
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Re: Dictionary was born - 700+ [#permalink] New post 03 Jan 2011, 12:23
imania wrote:
I went for B, a bit hard :/


I chose B.Got it wrong but still not able to interpret why it is wrong..
Re: Dictionary was born - 700+   [#permalink] 03 Jan 2011, 12:23
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