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To develop more accurate population forecasts, demographers

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Joined: 25 Aug 2011
Posts: 195
Location: India
GMAT 1: 730 Q49 V40
WE: Operations (Insurance)
Followers: 1

Kudos [?]: 85 [0], given: 11

To develop more accurate population forecasts, demographers [#permalink] New post 09 Feb 2012, 11:51
00:00
A
B
C
D
E

Difficulty:

  35% (medium)

Question Stats:

56% (01:41) correct 44% (00:58) wrong based on 16 sessions
To develop more accurate population forecasts, demographers have to know a great deal more than now about the social and economic determinants of fertility.

A. have to know a great deal more than now about the social and economic
B. have to know a great deal more than they do now about the social and economical
C. would have to know a great deal more than they do now about the social and economical
D. would have to know a great deal more than they do now about the social and economic
E. would have to know a great deal more than now about the social and economical

Had a query.. Am not sure how this compares to the following
- He believed it would work
- He believes it will work

Am i right in saying that since the second statement is in present tense the will work is not conditional.. if yes..why is "would have" in the question posted above right? if B was not ruled out because of "economical" could it be considered as a proper statement?
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Location: Paris, FRANCE
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Kudos [?]: 30 [0], given: 3

Re: present + conditional? [#permalink] New post 13 Feb 2012, 09:38
devinawilliam83 wrote:
To develop more accurate population forecasts, demographers have to know a great deal more than now about the social and economic determinants of fertility.

A. have to know a great deal more than now about the social and economic
B. have to know a great deal more than they do now about the social and economical
C. would have to know a great deal more than they do now about the social and economical
D. would have to know a great deal more than they do now about the social and economic
E. would have to know a great deal more than now about the social and economical

Had a query.. Am not sure how this compares to the following
- He believed it would work
- He believes it will work

Am i right in saying that since the second statement is in present tense the will work is not conditional.. if yes..why is "would have" in the question posted above right? if B was not ruled out because of "economical" could it be considered as a proper statement?


Ooh... now we're getting deep! :)

In the "pure" Anglo-Saxon system, the "conditional mood" does not exist because there is no inflected conditional mood. Idem for "future tense." What we call "future tense" and "conditional mood" are actually composed tenses from, respectively, the present and past forms of modal verbs.

However, neither of the two statements you proposed is actually a "conditional" statement. The second simply expresses factual belief about the future ("it will work"); the second refers to a future that is posterior to his belief but may well be anterior to the present moment; this is why we use the past tense form of "will" ("it would work"), also known as past posterior. The expression of his belief does not hinge on any condition.

In the case of this problem, however, we are dealing with a conditional statement, since the development of more accurate forecasts DOES depend on a condition (whether demographers can gather more information).

Whether the "if [present] then [present/future]" qualifies as a hypothetical conditional depends on the perspective and semantics. In this case it is clearly a conditional. The use of the present in the then-clause would make no sense, because while present tense can imply futurity in some cases, here we contrast this futurity to what they know now, so we would need another word (the "will") to "kick" it into the future.

Therefore, in answer to your question, it would not be correct to write: "To develop more accurate population forecasts, demographers have to know a great deal more than they do now about the social and economic determinants of fertility." It would be correct to write, "To develop more accurate population forecasts, demographers will have to know a great deal more than they do now about the social and economic determinants of fertility."

This does, of course, imply a slightly different angle than does the correct answer D. D suggests that this is idle, parlour game hypothesizing, whereas the sentence I just wrote reads as an instruction or a prescription.
_________________

Nicholas MOSES

GMAT/Academic Manager
c/o MBA Center Paris

Re: present + conditional?   [#permalink] 13 Feb 2012, 09:38
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