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
In 1860, the Philological Society launched its effort to create a dictionary that would be more comprehensive than any other dictionary the world had ever seen. So how did it launch the effort? It launched the effort by starting its work on the Oxford English Dictionary. Even if this dictionary was born in 1860, it would take 60 years to be completed.Error Analysis:
We must keep in mind here that the sentence is talking about all the events that took place in 1860. That’s the time period for this sentence.
This sentence correctly uses the conditional word “would take” because, the dictionary was just born in 1860. It was not completed then. So we are talking about a future event in past. Hence “would take” is absolutely correct. Use of “had been born” is incorrect because past perfect tense is used to denote the earlier of the two events that took place in the past. Past perfect establishes sequence between the two past actions. Here, we don’t have two past actions for 1860. Only the dictionary was born then. It is a general information, which should be written in simple past tense.POE:
A would take more than 60 years to complete, the Oxford English Dictionary had been: Incorrect
for the reason discussed above.
B took more than 60 years to complete, the Oxford English Dictionary was: Incorrect.
The context of this sentence is set in 1860. The OED was not completed then. Hence, “took” is not the correct verb tense.
C would take more than 60 years to complete, the Oxford English Dictionary was being: Incorrect.
The verb “was being born” suggests that this action was ongoing. This is not correct because the OED was born. The action of taking birth was completed already.
D would take more than 60 years to complete, the Oxford English Dictionary was: Correct.
E took more than 60 years to complete, the Oxford English Dictionary was about to be: Incorrect.
i. This choice repeats the same verb tense error of Choice B.
ii. Verb “about to be born” suggests that the OED was not born yet. This is not the intended meaning. The OED was born.
Hope this helps.
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