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# A historian attempting to predict in the 1870's which nation would tak

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A historian attempting to predict in the 1870's which nation would tak  [#permalink]

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Updated on: 17 Jan 2019, 04:59
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75% (hard)

Question Stats:

42% (01:23) correct 58% (01:34) wrong based on 572 sessions

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A historian attempting to predict in the 1870's which nation would take over world leadership from the British probably would have guessed Bismarck's Prussia and been quite wrong.

(A) have guessed Bismarck's Prussia and been

(B) have guessed that it would have been Bismarck's Prussia and he would be

(C) have guessed Bismarck's Prussia and would be

(D) guess Bismarck's Prussia and be

(E) guess that it would be Bismarck's Prussia and would have been

Originally posted by zoltan on 11 Mar 2008, 06:48.
Last edited by Bunuel on 17 Jan 2019, 04:59, edited 1 time in total.
Renamed the topic and edited the question.
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Re: A historian attempting to predict in the 1870's which nation would tak  [#permalink]

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13 Mar 2008, 01:50
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A historian attempting to predict in the 1870's which nation would take over world leadership from the British probably would have guessed Bismarck's Prussia and would have been quite wrong.

We know that a historian would fail to predict correctly if he ever tries. We are also given the exact time the actions took place. This is a conditional sentence (untrue condition in the past) and requires would + have + infinitive without to in order to state this condition.

In a simplified form:
If he had tried to predict he would have guessed... and he would have been wrong. It is very much ok to avoid the second "would have", which is understood from the context.

Hope, this clarifies some
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Re: A historian attempting to predict in the 1870's which nation would tak  [#permalink]

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07 Jul 2010, 06:02
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A historian attempting to predict in the 1870's which nation would take over world leadership from the British probably would have guessed Bismarck's Prussia and been quite wrong.

(A) have guessed Bismarck's Prussia and (would)been ->no need to specify would again.
(B) have guessed that it would have been Bismarck's Prussia and he would be ->tense order should be reversed
(C) have guessed Bismarck's Prussia and would be
->needs would have been->this action is some where after the past(i.e. in the future of the past) but before the present.
(D) guess Bismarck's Prussia and be
(E) guess that it would be Bismarck's Prussia and would have been

IMO 'A'
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Re: A historian attempting to predict in the 1870's which nation would tak  [#permalink]

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24 Jul 2011, 00:41
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1
A historian attempting to predict in the 1870's which nation would take over world leadership from the British probably would have guessed Bismarck's Prussia and been quite wrong.

(A) have guessed Bismarck's Prussia and been
Is correct as written as the 'would' applies to both - would have guessed and would have been wrong.
Why we require present perfect here?he made a prediction and was wrong about it; he still is wrong..recall from mgmat SC that when the effect continues, the present perfect is called for.
(B) have guessed that it would have been Bismarck's Prussia and he would be
unnecessarily wordy; what does 'it' refer to here; 'been wrong' is required here for the sake of parallelism and tense
(C) have guessed Bismarck's Prussia and would be
'and would be' is wrong as 'would have been' is required for parallelism and tense reasons
(D) guess Bismarck's Prussia and be
we are talking about 1870s. had it been about now, we could have used something similar to 'I will guess x and be wrong'
(E) guess that it would be Bismarck's Prussia and would have been
similar reasoning as D. Also its wordy.
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Re: A historian attempting to predict in the 1870's which nation would tak  [#permalink]

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31 Oct 2012, 06:57
The action must take in past hence D and E are out immediately.
Now we have to keep the sequence of events in mind. Both action are hypothetical and must take in past. Moreover, prediction has to be earlier action.
So the sequence is 1) guessing--->2)result whether the prediction is correct or not
since the prediction would have take placed in between present and hypothetical past, the same goes for the result.
Hence would have guessed and would have been quite wrong is correct.
+1 A
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Re: A historian attempting to predict in the 1870's which nation would tak  [#permalink]

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13 Jan 2014, 11:12
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kiransaxena1988 wrote:
A historian attempting to predict in the 1870's which nation would take over world leadership from the British probably would have guessed Bismarck's Prussia and been quite wrong.

(A) have guessed Bismarck's Prussia and been

(B) have guessed that it would have been Bismarck's Prussia and he would be

(C) have guessed Bismarck's Prussia and would be

(D) guess Bismarck's Prussia and be

(E) guess that it would be Bismarck's Prussia and would have been

I'm happy to help.

If we are discussing something hypothetical in the past, we use the constructive "would have" + [past participle]
would have said
would have gone
would have been

This is a form of the subjunctive mood. For more on this, see:
http://magoosh.com/gmat/2012/gmat-gramm ... ive-tense/
Both actions in this question, the "guessing" and the "being wrong," are past hypothetical actions, so they both most have this form.
First of all, choice (D) & (E) have "would guess" instead of "would have guessed," so they are wrong.
Choices (B) & (C) have the correct construction for the first verb, but not for the second: it has "would be" instead of "would have been." The "being wrong" is also a hypothetical past event, so it has to have this same form. Choice (B) & (C) are incorrect. BTW, choice (B) is also a distended monstrosity that never could be correct.

This leaves (A), which correctly has both verbs in the proper form. Choice (A) is the only possible answer.

Does all this make sense?
Mike
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Re: A historian attempting to predict in the 1870's which nation would tak  [#permalink]

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10 Mar 2015, 03:19
A historian attempting to predict in the 1870's which nation would take over world leadership from the British probably would have guessed Bismarck's Prussia and been quite wrong.

(A) have guessed Bismarck's Prussia and been
parrallel in the usage of verb tense: ... would have guessed ... and would have been ...

(B) have guessed that it would have been Bismarck's Prussia and he would be
wordy and awkward

(C) have guessed Bismarck's Prussia and would be
not parrallel in the usage of verb tense

(D) guess Bismarck's Prussia and be
change the intended meaning of the sentence, the author want to express a possibility and an uncertainty about his/her hypothesis

(E) guess that it would be Bismarck's Prussia and would have been
wrong verb tense and not parrallel
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Re: A historian attempting to predict in the 1870's which nation would tak  [#permalink]

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24 Dec 2016, 10:10
Hi mikemcgarry,
A historian attempting to predict in the 1870's which nation would take over world leadership from the British probably would have guessed Bismarck's Prussia and been quite wrong.

Pardon me as I'm not able to catch up with your explanation;I couldn't sense any subjunctive mood in this sentence at all.
IMHO,a historian predicted something in the past;hence the simple "would + v1" should be fine.

Thanks
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Re: A historian attempting to predict in the 1870's which nation would tak  [#permalink]

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24 Dec 2016, 12:00
1
sleepynut wrote:
Hi mikemcgarry,
A historian attempting to predict in the 1870's which nation would take over world leadership from the British probably would have guessed Bismarck's Prussia and been quite wrong.

Pardon me as I'm not able to catch up with your explanation;I couldn't sense any subjunctive mood in this sentence at all.
IMHO,a historian predicted something in the past;hence the simple "would + v1" should be fine.

Thanks

Dear sleepynut

I'm happy to respond.

My friend, here you have to know a little history. You don't have to be an expert historian, but you have to realize that at no time did Germany become a dominant world power on the level that Britain had been for centuries. Bismarck and the Prussians united Germany, but they didn't go on to dominate all of Europe at that moment in history. The two World Wars in the 20th century were quite separate from Bismarck's time, and even in these, Germany twice tried to achieve greater military domination and twice failed. Germany in the present day is emerging as a world leader, not with military domination but with economic domination, and ironically, economic domination turns out to be much more powerful in the long run.

The meaning of the sentence depends on this. In other words, the hypothetical historians in the 1870s would have made this prediction that is contrary to fact. The historian in that time might have speculated that Bismarck & Germany were headed for domination of all of Europe, but that's not how events played out. Even if you don't know all this history, the sentence itself makes it clear that the hypothetical historians would have guessed and their guess would have been wrong.

The fact that they guessed something that ultimately did not take place means they made a guess that turned out to be contrary to fact. A contrary-to-fact past event is one of the principal uses of the subjunctive. Sensing the subjunctive often involves understanding meaning. If you only pay attention to individual verbs and ignore meaning, you will miss the subjunctive--in fact, you will miss 90% of what the GMAT SC is about. The GMAT SC is NOT a test of grammar! The GMAT SC is a test of meaning, and the job of grammar is to serve the meaning.

Does all this make sense?
Mike
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Re: A historian attempting to predict in the 1870's which nation  [#permalink]

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08 Aug 2019, 02:51
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Re: A historian attempting to predict in the 1870's which nation   [#permalink] 08 Aug 2019, 02:51
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