The widely accepted big-bang theory holds that the universe : GMAT Sentence Correction (SC)
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# The widely accepted big-bang theory holds that the universe

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The widely accepted big-bang theory holds that the universe [#permalink]

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09 Jun 2009, 10:21
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The widely accepted big-bang theory holds that the universe began in an explosive instant 10 to 20 billion years ago and has been expanding ever since.
A. that the universe began in an explosive instant 10 to 20 billion years ago and has been expanding
B. that the universe had begun in an explosive instant 10 to 20 billion years ago and had been expanding
C. that the beginning of the universe was an explosive instant 10 to 20 billion years ago that has expanded
D. the beginning of the universe to have been an explosive instant 10 to 20 billion years ago that is expanding
E. the universe to have begun in an explosive instant 10 to 20 billion years ago and has been expanding

Please do not respond by just saying the answer is __. Please try to provide a reason why a given choice is correct or incorrect.
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Re: GMATPrep Test1: The widely accepted big-bang theory..... [#permalink]

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09 Jun 2009, 10:54
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nookway wrote:
Source: GMATPrep Test 1
I would recommend not to attempt this if you have not taken the GMAT Prep Test 1 as familiarity with the questions may inflate your score when you actually take the test.

The widely accepted big-bang theory holds that the universe began in an explosive instant 10 to 20 billion years ago and has been expanding ever since.
A. that the universe began in an explosive instant 10 to 20 billion years ago and has been expanding
B. that the universe had begun in an explosive instant 10 to 20 billion years ago and had been expanding
C. that the beginning of the universe was an explosive instant 10 to 20 billion years ago that has expanded
D. the beginning of the universe to have been an explosive instant 10 to 20 billion years ago that is expanding
E. the universe to have begun in an explosive instant 10 to 20 billion years ago and has been expanding

Please do not respond by just saying the answer is __. Please try to provide a reason why a given choice is correct or incorrect.

I choose A as my answer. We need to know our tenses really well in order to answer this question. We need to know the exact use of the present perfect, past perfect, and even simple past. Also, you need to know that "subject + to be verb + noun or adjective" is the correct usage.

a) correct ---> the universe began in the past, so using the simple past, "began" is perfectly fine. "has been expanding" means that the expanding started in the past and is still expanding today. That is what the present perfect progressive does to the logic of the sentence.

b) wrong ---> to use the past perfect tense correctly, you will need to use it once, but then the second verb must be simple past. You need to do so to show that the verb in past perfect tense started and was completed before the simple past verb. In this option, both the verbs are in past perfect, which is wrong.

c) it suggests that the beggining of the universe was an explosive instant....this is wrong. I'll explain why: All the linking verbs or "to be" verbs should be treated as an equal sign. For example:

1) The pen is a bargain because it is only ten cents ---> this is wrong because it suggests that "pen = ten cents." The corrected sentence would say:

2) The pen is a bragain because it worths only ten cents ---> this is more logical.

Another way to use the "to be" verb is to connect the noun to an adjective or to a noun. For example:

3) Tom is a student or Jessica is beautiful

So that's why opton C is wrong.

d) the big bang theory holds the beginning of the universe? How can only a theory hold such a serious mass as the universe??? Also, "10 to 20 billion years ago that is expanding"??? how can 10 to 20 billion years ago expand?? it's illogical

e) Because we don't have "that" at the beginning of the sentence, it sounds as though the theory is currently holding the universe. I would respond with a "wow" to a statement like that! loool....

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Re: GMATPrep Test1: The widely accepted big-bang theory..... [#permalink]

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14 May 2011, 18:52
I agree that A is the right answer. The question remains in my mind is related to usage of the conjunction 'and', which joins two grammatically equal parts. In the question, the first part is in past tense and 2nd is in present perfect, is this acceptable? appreciate any help to clarity my doubt. Thanks.
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Re: GMATPrep Test1: The widely accepted big-bang theory..... [#permalink]

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14 May 2011, 21:28
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vbr365 wrote

I agree that A is the right answer. The question remains in my mind is related to usage of the conjunction 'and', which joins two grammatically equal parts. In the question, the first part is in past tense and 2nd is in present perfect, is this acceptable? appreciate any help to clarity my doubt. Thanks.

Using two different tenses in two different clauses joined by a coordinate conjunction is perfectly grammatical. //ism of tense is decided by the timing of the event rather than by obedience to using the same tense.

For example: The U.S became independent on July 4, 1776 and continues to be so. Here will you use ‘continued to be so’ instead of ‘continues to be so’ to stick to past tense? We use present tense in the second arm because it is a fact even today and not a thing of the past.

A is indeed within norms and acceptable.
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Re: Source: GMATPrep Test 1 I would recommend not to attempt [#permalink]

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07 Mar 2012, 11:56
I agree with the answer A:

A. This answer choice correctly uses the appropriate tenses. Simple past to describe that the universe happened in an explosive instant many years ago and present perfect continuous to describe that the universe was expanding in the past and is continuing to do so.

B. The use of past perfect is illogical here. The purpose of past perfect tense is to relate 2 events that happened in the past - I don't see any reason to use this tense.

C. The subordinate clause starting with "that" suggests that "the beginning" is the subject, but this does not make any sense. If you read the answer choice without the prepositional phrase "of the universe," you can immediately see that this is incorrect.

D. Again, "the beginning" is being used as the subject. This does not make sense with the verbs in the sentence.

E. The tense should be simple past tense, so "began" should be used, not "begun."
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Re: Source: GMATPrep Test 1 I would recommend not to attempt [#permalink]

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07 Mar 2012, 17:48
+1 for A.

Its easier to eliminate choices on this one than to judge the correct answer

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Re: Source: GMATPrep Test 1 I would recommend not to attempt [#permalink]

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10 Jun 2012, 12:49
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nookway wrote:
Source: GMATPrep Test 1
I would recommend not to attempt this if you have not taken the GMAT Prep Test 1 as familiarity with the questions may inflate your score when you actually take the test.

The widely accepted big-bang theory holds that the universe began in an explosive instant 10 to 20 billion years ago and has been expanding ever since.
A. that the universe began in an explosive instant 10 to 20 billion years ago and has been expanding
B. that the universe had begun in an explosive instant 10 to 20 billion years ago and had been expanding
C. that the beginning of the universe was an explosive instant 10 to 20 billion years ago that has expanded
D. the beginning of the universe to have been an explosive instant 10 to 20 billion years ago that is expanding
E. the universe to have begun in an explosive instant 10 to 20 billion years ago and has been expanding

Please do not respond by just saying the answer is __. Please try to provide a reason why a given choice is correct or incorrect.

My confusion stems from the explanation given by OG 13. In C OG says 'that' refers to ' instant' whereas in D OG says 'that' refers to 'beginning'. Can anyone help me sort out this one.
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Re: The widely accepted big-bang theory holds that the universe [#permalink]

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16 Sep 2012, 09:45
nookway wrote:
The widely accepted big-bang theory holds that the universe began in an explosive instant 10 to 20 billion years ago and has been expanding ever since.
A. that the universe began in an explosive instant 10 to 20 billion years ago and has been expanding
B. that the universe had begun in an explosive instant 10 to 20 billion years ago and had been expanding
C. that the beginning of the universe was an explosive instant 10 to 20 billion years ago that has expanded
D. the beginning of the universe to have been an explosive instant 10 to 20 billion years ago that is expanding
E. the universe to have begun in an explosive instant 10 to 20 billion years ago and has been expanding

Please do not respond by just saying the answer is __. Please try to provide a reason why a given choice is correct or incorrect.

Holds That is idiomatically correct expression so d & e are out.
A correctly says an event start in the past and is still continuing by using present perfect tense.
Choice B unnecessarily uses past perfect tense as the process of expansion is still on.
Choice C awkwardly says that the explosive instant has expanded & not the universe (Misplaced Modifier)
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Re: The widely accepted big-bang theory holds that the universe [#permalink]

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09 Jul 2013, 21:03
isn't that A fails parallelism? please suggest
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Re: The widely accepted big-bang theory holds that the universe [#permalink]

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10 Jul 2013, 00:15
Hi Waterflowsup,

No - A is fine for parallelism

The widely accepted big-bang theory holds that the universe began in an explosive instant 10 to 20 billion years ago and has been expanding ever since.

What it is not, is consistent in TENSE. But that is OK, because as others have pointed out above is that the 'explosive instant' was a singluar event in the past, and so can have the simple past, whearas 'expanding' is a continuous process, so you can use 'has been' to suggest this.

Does that make sense, or do you see another issue that we've missed?

James
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Re: The widely accepted big-bang theory holds that the universe [#permalink]

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10 Jul 2013, 02:17
SIr,

Began is past tense
has been expanding is present perfect

is that correct?
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Re: The widely accepted big-bang theory holds that the universe [#permalink]

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10 Jul 2013, 02:23
Hi -

First one correct.

Second one is technically the past perfect progressive (the progressive suggests that it's still going on)

However - GMAT Pill general rule here: You can spend way too much time worrying about all the names of the tenses. First question you need to work out is the meaning of everything. If you can do this then tenses in GMAT start to become a lot easier.
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Re: The widely accepted big-bang theory holds that the universe [#permalink]

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10 Jul 2013, 02:36
Sir,

Could you please rephrase your reply, I got confused. I am still in a learning phase so taking everything over here very seriously.

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Re: The widely accepted big-bang theory holds that the universe [#permalink]

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10 Jul 2013, 07:48
Hi,

Sure I will try again.

Began is past tense Yes correct.

has been expanding is present perfect No Incorrect. It is past perfect progressive. This is because the event is still going on. I.e. the Universe is still expanding.

My key point is my last one though: I would not worry overly about the NAME of different tenses. More important is the meaning of the sentence, if you understand that then the tenses should be way more logical.

This is obviously harder if you are a non-native, but the time invested to get your English to a higher standard so the meaning becomes clear will have big benefit come test day.

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Re: The widely accepted big-bang theory holds that the universe [#permalink]

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10 Jul 2013, 08:46
REgarding E.

I think the sentence:

"for that thing to have begun 10 year ago is impossible"

is correct sentence.

if so, the problem with E is that "hold something to do" is wrong?

do you think as I do? Please, explain.
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Re: The widely accepted big-bang theory holds that the universe [#permalink]

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05 Sep 2013, 21:44
The widely accepted big-bang theory holds that[/s] [u[b]]the universe[/b] began in an explosive instant 10 to 20 billion years ago andhas been expanding[/u]ever since.

I'm finding the subject, and verbs of the sentence.
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Re: The widely accepted big-bang theory holds that the universe [#permalink]

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07 Sep 2013, 03:04
nookway wrote:
The widely accepted big-bang theory holds that the universe began in an explosive instant 10 to 20 billion years ago and has been expanding ever since.
A. that the universe began in an explosive instant 10 to 20 billion years ago and has been expanding
B. that the universe had begun in an explosive instant 10 to 20 billion years ago and had been expanding
C. that the beginning of the universe was an explosive instant 10 to 20 billion years ago that has expanded
D. the beginning of the universe to have been an explosive instant 10 to 20 billion years ago that is expanding
E. the universe to have begun in an explosive instant 10 to 20 billion years ago and has been expanding

Please do not respond by just saying the answer is __. Please try to provide a reason why a given choice is correct or incorrect.

It is possible that "holds the universe to have begin" is correct in E

the problem with E is that "has been " is parrallel with "hold" . This thing is not logic

one again, we see that gmat test us logic not grammar rules. we do not need to remember rarely used rules.
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Re: The widely accepted big-bang theory holds that the universe [#permalink]

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08 Sep 2013, 20:45
Holds that ....

The theory must HOLD an IDEA and not something(Noun)

So theory cannot hold the complex gerund 'the beginning of the Universe' or 'the universe'

So D and E out.

'Holds that' should follow a concrete idea.

'beginning of universe was an' is wordier than the one already present in the original 'universe began'.

C out.

'had begun and had been expanding are present when there is no later (PAST) event'. Note 'accepted theory' here accepted is an adjective and not the verb.

B is out

Hence (A)
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Re: The widely accepted big-bang theory holds that the universe [#permalink]

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04 Jan 2014, 06:02
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nookway wrote:
The widely accepted big-bang theory holds that the universe began in an explosive instant 10 to 20 billion years ago and has been expanding ever since.
A. that the universe began in an explosive instant 10 to 20 billion years ago and has been expanding
B. that the universe had begun in an explosive instant 10 to 20 billion years ago and had been expanding
C. that the beginning of the universe was an explosive instant 10 to 20 billion years ago that has expanded
D. the beginning of the universe to have been an explosive instant 10 to 20 billion years ago that is expanding
E. the universe to have begun in an explosive instant 10 to 20 billion years ago and has been expanding

Please do not respond by just saying the answer is __. Please try to provide a reason why a given choice is correct or incorrect.

Like most of my strategies for RC, I approach this SC question with "what is the intended meaning of the statement?" Clearly, the author is trying to explain what some theory says about something related to the universe. If you take a "meaning" approach, you need to make some assumptions, in this case about the subject at hand: properties of the universe.

A) began properly modifies "the universe" and "AND has been" properly modifies "the universe", if we understand the intended meaning, we know that the author wants to tell us that the universe is, in fact, STILL expanding. Thus, "the universe" is properly modified.

B) An initial assesment cannot rule out that "had begun" correctly modifies "the universe", but as we read further we notice that "AND had been expanding" inproperly modifies the universe such that the meaning now is "whatever happened THEN is not happening NOW". As we are using a "meanings" strategy, and we know that what this option implies is NOT the intended meaning of the sentence, we know that this option is wrong.

C) "beginning of" modifies "the universe" in such a way that it focuses the sentence around the universe's specific point of inception. Have this in mind as you read the rest of the sentence. "that has expanded" wrongly omits AND, thus "that has expanded" modifies "an explosive instant" and NOT "the universe", and clearly this goes against the intended meaning of the sentence. Also, "that has expanded" uses past tense in the wrong way anyway, given the intent of the sentence. All in all, C) specifically focuses on the inception of the universe and explains an explosion that is related to the inception, this is not the intended meaning of the author.

D) The usage of "to have been" makes it seem as if the beginning of the universe actually was an explosive instant.. This is not the intended meaning of the author. The universe began in an explosive instant but the beginning in itself was NOT an explosive instant. Also, the option once again omits "AND", thus "is expanding" modifies instant and not universe.. This is wrong according to the intended meaning of the author.

E) "to have begun" is not the correct way to modify "the universe", since universe is singular and not plural. If we're going to use such an expression, we use "HAD begun". So this answer choice is faulty from a gramatical point of view and not necessarily a "meanings" POV.
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Re: The widely accepted big-bang theory holds that the universe [#permalink]

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31 May 2014, 23:34
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The widely accepted big-bang theory holds that the universe began in an explosive instant 10 to 20 billion years ago and has been expanding ever since.
A. that the universe began in an explosive instant 10 to 20 billion years ago and has been expanding
B. that the universe had begun in an explosive instant 10 to 20 billion years ago and had been expanding
C. that the beginning of the universe was an explosive instant 10 to 20 billion years ago that has expanded
D. the beginning of the universe to have been an explosive instant 10 to 20 billion years ago that is expanding
E. the universe to have begun in an explosive instant 10 to 20 billion years ago and has been expanding

Intended meaning:
Big bang started some time in distance past and universe expansion is still continue...
A. correctly demonstrates the meaning.
B.had been expanding...means expansion is over...Incorrect.
C.has expanded...means expansion is over...Incorrect.
D.illogically suggests that beginning is expanding, not the universe....Incorrect.
E.have begun and has been expanding are not parallel....Incorrect.

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Re: The widely accepted big-bang theory holds that the universe   [#permalink] 31 May 2014, 23:34

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