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Interest rates

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Interest rates [#permalink] New post 21 Jul 2011, 15:38
Interest rates on mortgages have declined steadily during the first six months of this year but virtually remained unchanged during the next three months.

(A) have declined steadily during the first six months of this year but virtually remained unchanged

(B) declined steadily during the first six months of this year but virtually remain unchanged

(C) steadily declined during the first six months of this year but remain virtually unchanged

(D) declined steadily during the first six months of this but have remained virtually unchanging'

(E) declined steadily during the first six months of this year but have remained virtually unchanged

answer with explanation
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Re: Interest rates [#permalink] New post 21 Jul 2011, 18:19
Option E

verb sequencing.
1 option is both can be in simple past, considering that both events are over. but you do not have any choice supporting that.

2nd option is more preferable because sentence reads 'this year'... to have '1st six months' part in simple past and 'next 3 months' part in present perfect.

1st event should be in simple past - 'interest rate declined steadily during the first six months of this year' and
2nd event should be in present perfect - 'interest rate have remained unchanged during the next 3 months'
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Re: Interest rates [#permalink] New post 23 Jul 2011, 08:12
Expert's post
TomB wrote:
Interest rates on mortgages have declined steadily during the first six months of this year but virtually remained unchanged during the next three months.

(A) have declined steadily during the first six months of this year but virtually remained unchanged

(B) declined steadily during the first six months of this year but virtually remain unchanged

(C) steadily declined during the first six months of this year but remain virtually unchanged

(D) declined steadily during the first six months of this but have remained virtually unchanging'

(E) declined steadily during the first six months of this year but have remained virtually unchanged

answer with explanation



OA is E. Very interesting question. Here's how I'm thinking through it:

Step 1) I read "Interest rates on mortgages have declined steadily during the first six months of this year"

So far looks ok. I take a quick look at the answer choices and see that they are testing me on "have declined" Vs "declined steadily" VS "steadily declined"

Well, (A) shows "have declined during the first six months"--this implies that this declining started in the beginning of the year (in the past) and continues to the present--which presumably would be now in month #6.

So looks ok so far.

Step 2) Then we keep reading: "but virtually remained unchanged during the next three months."

"During the next three months" ???---wait a minute. It's using a past tense "remained unchanged" when referencing something that happens for the next three months. Since we assumed the present was now in month #6, then the next three months would be month #7-9.

But they used past tense "remained unchanged" when referencing something that was really in the future (relative to month #6).

Something must be wrong!

If they're going to word it like this--you're going to need to get rid of the "have" in "have declined"--because this is conflicting with other clues in the sentence.

Step 3) "declined steadily" VS "steadily declined"
Well, one's not that much better than the other..so let's keep looking for other clues. We know we are now operating in the past tense since all remaining answer choices are in the past tense.

Step 4) "remain virtually unchanged" Vs "have remained virtually unchanged" when referencing the "next 3 months"

Since we know we are in the past tense--we cannot use "remain virtually unchanged"--this is actually present tense. The "-ed" in the word "unchanged" might lead some to believe that it's past tense--but actually "unchanged" is used as an adjective---not a verb.

So we need to eliminate "remain virtually unchanged" as well as "virtually remain unchanged" in (B) and (C).

Step 5) Now it's between (D) and (E).

"remained virtually unchanging" or "remained virtually unchanged"

This is an easy one. Clearly (D) doesn't make sense--only (E) makes sense.

So choose (E) as your final answer and move on!

Hope that helps!
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Re: Interest rates [#permalink] New post 25 Jul 2011, 07:56
Hai Gmatpill

Can you explain the step 4 in detail:

"remain virtually unchanged" Vs "have remained virtually unchanged" when referencing the "next 3 months".

we are in the past tense and focusing on the next 3 months (future). whats wrong with using " Remain virtually unchanged". you said that we need to use "have remained virtually unchanged" (present perfect-an action which began in the past ans still continued". But here we are focusing on the next 3 months.

Please explain
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Re: Interest rates [#permalink] New post 30 Jul 2011, 00:14
TomB wrote:
Hai Gmatpill

Can you explain the step 4 in detail:

"remain virtually unchanged" Vs "have remained virtually unchanged" when referencing the "next 3 months".

we are in the past tense and focusing on the next 3 months (future). whats wrong with using " Remain virtually unchanged". you said that we need to use "have remained virtually unchanged" (present perfect-an action which began in the past ans still continued". But here we are focusing on the next 3 months.

Please explain



This Next 3 months is in reference to first 6 months of that year, not to today.
Re: Interest rates   [#permalink] 30 Jul 2011, 00:14
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