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Verb tense agreement

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17 Nov 2013, 13:11
I was reviewing Official Guide and came across this question. Do not the two verbs in a compound sentence have to agree in tense(Parallelism)?

Rivaling the pyramids of Egypt or even the ancient cities of the Maya as an achievement, the armv of terra-cotta warriors created to protect Qin Shi Huang. China's first emperor, in his afterlife is more than 2.000 years old and took 700.000 artisans more than 36 years to complete.
(A) the army of terra-cotta warriors created to protect Qin Shi Huang, China's first emperor, in his afterlife is more than 2,000 years old and took 700,000 artisans more than 36 years to complete
(B) Qin Shi Huang, China's first emperor, was protected in his afterlife by an army of terra cotta warriors that was created more than 2,000 years ago by 700,000 artisans who took more than 36 years to complete it
(C) it took 700,000 artisans more than 36 years to create an army of terra-cotta warriors, more than 2,000 years ago that would protect Qin Shi Huang, China's first emperor, in his afterlife
(D) more than 2,000 years ago, 700,000 artisans worked more than 36 years to create an army of terra-cotta warriors to protect Qin Shi Huang, China's first emperor, in his afterlife
(E) more than 36 years were needed to complete the army of terra-cotta warriors that 700,000 artisans created 2,000 years ago to protect Qin Shi Huang, China's first emperor, in his afterlife
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17 Nov 2013, 13:36
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ayousefi wrote:
I was reviewing Official Guide and came across this question. Do not the two verbs in a compound sentence have to agree in tense(Parallelism)?

Rivaling the pyramids of Egypt or even the ancient cities of the Maya as an achievement, the army of terra-cotta warriors created to protect Qin Shi Huang, China's first emperor, in his afterlife is more than 2.000 years old and took 700.000 artisans more than 36 years to complete.

Let's strip away everything from the sentence so we can better understand what's going on here.

"..., the army of terra-cotta warriors ... is more than 2,000 years old and took 700,000 artisans more than 36 years to complete."

Now we have the basics here. We can see that we have two verbs: "is" and "took." Now, it's great that you are thinking about parallelism here, but actually these two parts are parallel. Parallelism applies to the structure of the sentence, the order of the words, not the tenses. Since we are talking about two different events in time, we need to use two different verb tenses. The first verb is in present tense because the author is stating a fact about the army. The second verb is about something that was done in the past and ended in the past. So we only need a simple past tense verb to convey this idea.

I hope that you find this explanation helpful.
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Kevin Rocci
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17 Nov 2013, 13:53
Thank you so much for the explanation.
Re: Verb tense agreement   [#permalink] 17 Nov 2013, 13:53
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