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# A question about the perfect tense

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Intern
Joined: 25 Sep 2018
Posts: 2

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25 Sep 2018, 07:52
Question: At least some volunteers who said they had acted fairly in choosing the easy task would have said that it was unfair for someone else to do so.

It is actually a CR question choice in the OG No.650. I think the tenses here "said", "had acted", "would have said" are awkward.

It makes sense that we say "who said that they had acted ...", it means the action "act" happened before the action "say" in the past.

But if we add the "would have said", it is totally different. Because, as we all know, "would have" means that something you actually didn't do in the past.

So the meaning of the original sentence is volunteers didn't say that it was unfair for someone else to do so. In fact, as the argument implied, they did so.
Manager
Joined: 23 Nov 2017
Posts: 113
Location: Singapore
Concentration: Strategy, Other

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25 Sep 2018, 20:41
1
a248362791 wrote:
Question: At least some volunteers who said they had acted fairly in choosing the easy task would have said that it was unfair for someone else to do so.

It is actually a CR question choice in the OG No.650. I think the tenses here "said", "had acted", "would have said" are awkward.

It makes sense that we say "who said that they had acted ...", it means the action "act" happened before the action "say" in the past.

But if we add the "would have said", it is totally different. Because, as we all know, "would have" means that something you actually didn't do in the past.

So the meaning of the original sentence is volunteers didn't say that it was unfair for someone else to do so. In fact, as the argument implied, they did so.

IMO, "would have" constructions are hypothectical in nature. Here the prompt says that at least some of the volunteers said that they acted fairly (acting fairly is prior to saying). Now the hypothetical part -If someone had asked them then, they would have responded by saying that it was unfair for someone else to do so. So, yea it doesn't happen really. The prompt says that had this question been raised, this would have been the response. The sentence is grammatically correct.

Please hit kudos if that helped..i kinda really need them.
Intern
Joined: 25 Sep 2018
Posts: 2

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26 Sep 2018, 01:46
Gagoosh wrote:
a248362791 wrote:
Question: At least some volunteers who said they had acted fairly in choosing the easy task would have said that it was unfair for someone else to do so.

It is actually a CR question choice in the OG No.650. I think the tenses here "said", "had acted", "would have said" are awkward.

It makes sense that we say "who said that they had acted ...", it means the action "act" happened before the action "say" in the past.

But if we add the "would have said", it is totally different. Because, as we all know, "would have" means that something you actually didn't do in the past.

So the meaning of the original sentence is volunteers didn't say that it was unfair for someone else to do so. In fact, as the argument implied, they did so.

IMO, "would have" constructions are hypothectical in nature. Here the prompt says that at least some of the volunteers said that they acted fairly (acting fairly is prior to saying). Now the hypothetical part -If someone had asked them then, they would have responded by saying that it was unfair for someone else to do so. So, yea it doesn't happen really. The prompt says that had this question been raised, this would have been the response. The sentence is grammatically correct.

Please hit kudos if that helped..i kinda really need them.

I can totally understand your explanation of the sentence. And it makes sense.

But is it grammatically correct that we omitt the "if" part in a hypothetical sentence?

I am sure that some sentences, such as "I would have told you the story, but you didn't ask me", are right without "if" part. Because "you didn't ask me" substitute the "if" part.
Manager
Joined: 23 Nov 2017
Posts: 113
Location: Singapore
Concentration: Strategy, Other

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26 Sep 2018, 01:55
I usually pull out the meaning of the sentence and act accordingly. Also you might find going through If ..then constructions useful (chapter 12 -MGMAT SC)
Math Expert
Joined: 02 Sep 2009
Posts: 59730

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26 Sep 2018, 02:00
a248362791 wrote:
Question: At least some volunteers who said they had acted fairly in choosing the easy task would have said that it was unfair for someone else to do so.

It is actually a CR question choice in the OG No.650. I think the tenses here "said", "had acted", "would have said" are awkward.

It makes sense that we say "who said that they had acted ...", it means the action "act" happened before the action "say" in the past.

But if we add the "would have said", it is totally different. Because, as we all know, "would have" means that something you actually didn't do in the past.

So the meaning of the original sentence is volunteers didn't say that it was unfair for someone else to do so. In fact, as the argument implied, they did so.

That question is discussed here: https://gmatclub.com/forum/in-an-experi ... 02764.html

Hope it helps.
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Manhattan Prep Instructor
Joined: 04 Dec 2015
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GMAT 1: 790 Q51 V49
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01 Oct 2018, 12:31
2
a248362791 wrote:

I can totally understand your explanation of the sentence. And it makes sense.

But is it grammatically correct that we omitt the "if" part in a hypothetical sentence?

I am sure that some sentences, such as "I would have told you the story, but you didn't ask me", are right without "if" part. Because "you didn't ask me" substitute the "if" part.

It's okay to have a hypothetical sentence without the word 'if'. You're right, usually the word 'if' will be in there, but there's no rule that says it always has to be.

For example, these are hypotheticals that use the subjunctive tense:

I wondered what I would have done in the same situation.
Steve speculated on whether he would have passed the class without extra tutoring.
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Re: A question about the perfect tense   [#permalink] 01 Oct 2018, 12:31
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