The use of 'would' : GMAT Sentence Correction (SC)
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# The use of 'would'

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27 Jun 2010, 03:54
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Difficulty:

65% (hard)

Question Stats:

41% (01:41) correct 59% (00:52) wrong based on 83 sessions

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nusmavrik wrote:

This question is weird - i think tense inconsistency "will" / "could". Can you please weigh in your views?

Subject: Majority

tenaman10 wrote:
A majority of the international journalists surveyed view nuclear power stations as unsafe at present but that they will, or could, be made sufficiently safe in the future.

(A) that they will, or could,
(B) that they would, or could,
(C) they will be or could
(D) think that they will be or could
(E) think the power stations would or could

SC Tip:Always check the outside structure before worrying about the details!

A majority (subject) ['of the journalists surveyed'- prepositional phrase] view (verb) power stations (object) as unsafe now, BUT...

Your job at this point is to figure what the 'but' was supposed to contrast.

Journalists view the power stations as unsafe NOW, but 'think' something different regarding the future.

The contrast is between 'view' and 'think', so we should look only at D and E. And you now have to choose between 'will' and 'would':

'Will' indicates what can/will happen in the future.
Ex. "I will go swimming tomorrow." (A real future event.)

'Would' indicates what cannot happen now nor in the future.
Ex. "I would go swimming now/tomorrow, but I have too much work to do."

The intended meaning of the sentence is to say that journalists think it is really possible that power stations will be made safe in the future.

SC Tip #2: When in doubt, add 'that'!
The GMAT SC almost always prefers, "She thinks that she can fly," to "She thinks she can fly."

Best,
Sarai

(For more on modals, check out SC Lesson 6 at gmaxonline!)
[Reveal] Spoiler: OA

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Re: The use of 'would' [#permalink]

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27 Jun 2010, 04:04
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so, is the answer (d) ?
i dont think d is correct as in (D), they can either refer to power stations or to the jounalists.

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Re: The use of 'would' [#permalink]

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27 Jun 2010, 04:07
sumedhamahajan wrote:
so, is the answer (d) ?
i dont think d is correct as in (D), they can either refer to power stations or to the jounalists.

Journalists are not something that can be made safe. Pronoun ambiguity arises when there is more than one logical referent for a pronoun, causing the sentence to have two different possible, logical meanings.

-Sarai
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Re: The use of 'would' [#permalink]

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27 Jun 2010, 05:05
Thanks
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Re: The use of 'would' [#permalink]

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27 Jun 2010, 16:07
SaraiGMAXonline wrote:
Journalists are not something that can be made safe. Pronoun ambiguity arises when there is more than one logical referent for a pronoun, causing the sentence to have two different possible, logical meanings.
-Sarai

I would normally agree with that, but sometimes I feel unsure if that rule above can be generalized....

consider the following SC from OG12 (spoiler alert here...):

A proposal has been made to trim the horns from rhinoceroses ...; the question is whether tourists will continue to visit game parks to see rhinoceroses after THEIR horns are trimed.

obviously journalists are not something that can be made safe, but isn't it quite obvious that humans don't have horns!??! so under your rule above, the THEIR should correctly and unambigously refer to rhinos? But OG12 says that THEIR could refer to the tourists as well.

the question is where I draw the line of possibile logical referent?

ack.
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Re: The use of 'would' [#permalink]

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27 Jun 2010, 23:25
SaraiGMAXonline wrote:
Journalists are not something that can be made safe. Pronoun ambiguity arises when there is more than one logical referent for a pronoun, causing the sentence to have two different possible, logical meanings.
-Sarai

I would normally agree with that, but sometimes I feel unsure if that rule above can be generalized....

consider the following SC from OG12 (spoiler alert here...):

A proposal has been made to trim the horns from rhinoceroses ...; the question is whether tourists will continue to visit game parks to see rhinoceroses after THEIR horns are trimed.

obviously journalists are not something that can be made safe, but isn't it quite obvious that humans don't have horns!??! so under your rule above, the THEIR should correctly and unambigously refer to rhinos? But OG12 says that THEIR could refer to the tourists as well.

the question is where I draw the line of possibile logical referent?

ack.

A proposal has been made to trim the horns from rhinoceroses to discourage poachers; the question is whether tourists will continue to visit game parks and see rhinoceroses after their horns are trimmed.
(A) whether tourists will continue to visit game parks and see rhinoceroses after their horns are
(B) whether tourists will continue to visit game parks to see one once their horns are
(C) whether tourists will continue to visit game parks to see rhinoceroses once the animals’ horns have been
(D) if tourists will continue to visit game parks and see rhinoceroses once the animals’ horns are
(E) if tourists will continue to visit game parks to see one after the animals’ horns have been

I don't have the OG12 in front of me at the moment, so I don't know what they wrote in the explanation, but while the problem is here, let's break it down.

You are absolutely right that there is no way to confuse people as the referent for "their". However, when an SC problem bothers to replace a pronoun with the actual noun, the result is a clearer sentence and there'll be preference for such an answer choice. Even when a pronoun is not ambiguous, the reader does have to do the work of finding the referent, and so a sentence is always a bit clearer when the noun is used instead of the pronoun.

There are three other major issues here though:

1) Tenses: We want to indicate that the trimming precedes the visiting; this is why 'has been' is needed-- the past has to be involved in the verb.

2) If vs. Whether: IF THE SENTENCE IS NOT A CONDITIONAL, DO NOT USE 'IF'.

3) Ellipses: In B, the word 'one' means 'one rhinoceros'. But the word 'rhinoceros' does not appear in the sentence. Only the plural, 'rhinoceroses', appears, and you cannot imply a word that never shows up!

Best,
Sarai

More on conditionals in SC Lesson 8 and practice with ellipses in SC Lesson 9 at gmaxonline!
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Re: The use of 'would' [#permalink]

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28 Jun 2010, 08:13
Thank you Sarai,

I got the right answer because of the tense issue (are and not have been) in (B) -- just as you clearly described above. So the take-away is that GMAC will NOT trick you with an answer choice like the following:

(F) whether tourists will continue to visit game parks to see rhinoceroses once their horns have been

But even if (F) was present, I would still pick (C) since the latter is the more unambiguous of the two choices. I guess that's why they ask you to pick the "best" answer of the choices given, and not necessarily the "absolute correct" choice.
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Re: The use of 'would' [#permalink]

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28 Jun 2010, 22:27
studying modal auxiliary verbs will definitely help here.

can, could
may, might
shall, should
will, would
must, must

where could, might, should, and would are either used as past tense form or conditional form.

must is all 3: present tense (since the word mote is archaic), past tense, and conditional.
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Re: The use of 'would' [#permalink]

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29 Jun 2010, 10:26
One more vote for D + kudos for Sarai
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Re: The use of 'would' [#permalink]

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01 Jan 2011, 08:39
(C)

A. whether tourists will continue to visit game parks and see rhinoceroses after their horns are
B. whether tourists will continue to visit game parks to see one once their horns are
C. whether tourists will continue to visit game parks to see rhinoceroses once the animals horns have been --> RIGHT
D. if tourists will continue to visit game parks and see rhinoceroses once the animals horns are
E. if tourists will continue to visit game parks to see one after the animals horns have been
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Re: The use of 'would' [#permalink]

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19 Apr 2015, 17:36
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Re: The use of 'would' [#permalink]

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10 Aug 2016, 05:09
Hello from the GMAT Club VerbalBot!

Thanks to another GMAT Club member, I have just discovered this valuable topic, yet it had no discussion for over a year. I am now bumping it up - doing my job. I think you may find it valuable (esp those replies with Kudos).

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Re: The use of 'would'   [#permalink] 10 Aug 2016, 05:09
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