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A recent and popular self-help book wryly notes that if adolescence

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A recent and popular self-help book wryly notes that if adolescence [#permalink]

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A recent and popular self-help book wryly notes that if adolescence was not so painful, it would have a droll comedic aspect, at least in retrospect.

(A) was not so painful, it
(B) was not so painful, they
(C) were not so painful, they
(D) were not so painful, it
(E) were not so painful, being one
[Reveal] Spoiler: OA

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Re: A recent and popular self-help book wryly notes that if adolescence [#permalink]

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New post 08 Aug 2009, 16:24
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I think it has to do with the "if" before adolescence.

Adolescence was not so painful

If adolescence were not so painful

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Re: A recent and popular self-help book wryly notes that if adolescence [#permalink]

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New post 08 Aug 2009, 17:03
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sk88 wrote:
A recent and popular self-help book wryly notes that if adolescence was not so painful, it would have a droll comedic aspect, at least in retrospect.

was not so painful, it

was not so painful, they

were not so painful, they

were not so painful, it

were not so painful, being one


The correct choice is D and the answer explanation says that adolescence is singular (so we use 'it'), but why do we use "were" instead of "was" if it's singular?? What is were referring to anyway?


good question... I too went for A at first glance, but realized that option D is correct. the sentece is talking about past unreal condition. some thing like this ..

if she were studying, she would pass the exam ...

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Re: A recent and popular self-help book wryly notes that if adolescence [#permalink]

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New post 08 Aug 2009, 21:34
I think it's one of the main structure of if clause that you use when talking about unreal past event and you expect it to turn out differently..

In such structure you will use "were" instead of "was" even for a singular/uncountable noun

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Re: A recent and popular self-help book wryly notes that if adolescence [#permalink]

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New post 08 Aug 2009, 22:00
thanks everyone! I think they called it the "subjunctive" or something like that. But i makes sense to me now if you say "if she were.."

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A recent and popular self-help book wryly notes that if [#permalink]

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A recent and popular self-help book wryly notes that if adolescence was not so painful, it would have a droll comedic aspect, at least in retrospect.

A. was not so painful, it
B was not so painful, they
C. were not so painful, they
D. were not so painful, it
E. were not so painful, being one

never judge a SC by its size!!!
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Re: little SC [#permalink]

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alchemist009 wrote:
A recent and popular self-help book wryly notes that if adolescence was not so painful, it would have a droll comedic aspect, at least in retrospect.

A. was not so painful, it
B was not so painful, they
C. were not so painful, they
D. were not so painful, it
E. were not so painful, being one

never judge a SC by its size!!!



For subjunctive mood which is indicated by the conditional "if" always use "WERE" not "WAS". Therefore eliminate A,B

Among C,D,E the subject adolescence is singular so we need a singular pronoun --- eliminate C
E is using being one -- wrong.

Answer is D.
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A recent and popular self-help book wryly notes [#permalink]

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A recent and popular self-help book wryly notes that if adolescence was not so painful, it would have a droll comedic aspect, at least in retrospect.
a. was not so painful, it
b. was not so painful, they
c. were not so painful, they
d. were not so painful, it
e. were not so painful, being one

OA after discussion
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Last edited by greatps24 on 05 Mar 2013, 05:32, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: A recent and popular self-help book wryly notes [#permalink]

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New post 05 Mar 2013, 00:28
A past conditional subjunctive case, where the normal idiomatic usage is simple past in the if clause (if I were, If it were etc,) and a modal future perfect tense in the main clause. Answer choice D is the correct one. Adolescence is the subject of the sub-clause, hence its pronoun is –it-. Choice D is the best answer.
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Re: A recent and popular self-help book wryly notes [#permalink]

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The meaning of this sentence speaks about a hypothetical scenario. Hence the structure is "If I were ..., I would ...".

a. was not so painful, it
b. was not so painful, they adolescence is singular
c. were not so painful, they adolescence is singular
d. were not so painful, it
e. were not so painful, being one
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Re: A recent and popular self-help book wryly notes [#permalink]

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New post 06 Jun 2013, 19:24
greatps24 wrote:
A recent and popular self-help book wryly notes that if adolescence was not so painful, it would have a droll comedic aspect, at least in retrospect.
a. was not so painful, it
b. was not so painful, they
c. were not so painful, they
d. were not so painful, it
e. were not so painful, being one

OA after discussion


Hypothetical subjunctive 'were' is required. adolescence is singular. Hence C

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Re: A recent and popular self-help book wryly notes [#permalink]

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New post 07 Jun 2013, 04:28
Bluelagoon wrote:
greatps24 wrote:
A recent and popular self-help book wryly notes that if adolescence was not so painful, it would have a droll comedic aspect, at least in retrospect.
a. was not so painful, it
b. was not so painful, they
c. were not so painful, they
d. were not so painful, it
e. were not so painful, being one

OA after discussion


Hypothetical subjunctive 'were' is required. adolescence is singular. Hence C

I believe you meant D and incorrectly wrote C :)
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Re: A recent and popular self-help book wryly notes that if adolescence [#permalink]

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ugimba wrote:
sk88 wrote:
A recent and popular self-help book wryly notes that if adolescence was not so painful, it would have a droll comedic aspect, at least in retrospect.

was not so painful, it

was not so painful, they

were not so painful, they

were not so painful, it

were not so painful, being one


The correct choice is D and the answer explanation says that adolescence is singular (so we use 'it'), but why do we use "were" instead of "was" if it's singular?? What is were referring to anyway?


good question... I too went for A at first glance, but realized that option D is correct. the sentece is talking about past unreal condition. some thing like this ..

if she were studying, she would pass the exam ...




Here is another explanation:

subjunctive mood (indicating a hypothetical state or a state contrary to reality, such as a wish, a desire, or an imaginary situation). It is harder to explain the subjunctive. Five hundred years ago, English had a highly developed subjunctive mood. However, after the fourteenth century, speakers of English used the subjunctive less frequently. Today, the mood has practically vanished; modern speakers tend to use the conditional forms of "could" and "would" to indicate statements contrary to reality. The subjunctive only survives in a few, fossilized examples, so they can be confusing. Here are the most common uses:

1. By far the most common use of the subjunctive is the use of the subjunctive after "if" clauses that state or describe a hypothetical situation.

Subjunctive: "If I were a butterfly, I would have wings."

Note that in the indicative, we normally write, "I was." For instance, "When I was a young boy, I liked to swim." However, to indicate the subjunctive, we write "I were." The subjunctive indicates a statement contrary to fact. In the butterfly example above, I am not really a butterfly, but I am describing a hypothetical situation that might occur if I were one.

Indicative: "When I was a butterfly in a former life, I had wings."

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Re: A recent and popular self-help book wryly notes that if adolescence [#permalink]

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sk88 wrote:
A recent and popular self-help book wryly notes that if adolescence was not so painful, it would have a droll comedic aspect, at least in retrospect.

A) was not so painful, it
B) was not so painful, they
C) were not so painful, they
D) were not so painful, it
E) were not so painful, being one



The question is about subjunctive 'would' . Hence in (A) we need a 'were' instead of 'was'

In (B) and (C), 'they' does not have an antecedent. In (E), being one is incorrect / wordy

D = Correct
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Re: A recent and popular self-help book wryly notes that if adolescence [#permalink]

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New post 22 Jun 2016, 12:58
rahoooli wrote:
ugimba wrote:
sk88 wrote:
A recent and popular self-help book wryly notes that if adolescence was not so painful, it would have a droll comedic aspect, at least in retrospect.

was not so painful, it

was not so painful, they

were not so painful, they

were not so painful, it

were not so painful, being one


The correct choice is D and the answer explanation says that adolescence is singular (so we use 'it'), but why do we use "were" instead of "was" if it's singular?? What is were referring to anyway?


good question... I too went for A at first glance, but realized that option D is correct. the sentece is talking about past unreal condition. some thing like this ..

if she were studying, she would pass the exam ...




Here is another explanation:

subjunctive mood (indicating a hypothetical state or a state contrary to reality, such as a wish, a desire, or an imaginary situation). It is harder to explain the subjunctive. Five hundred years ago, English had a highly developed subjunctive mood. However, after the fourteenth century, speakers of English used the subjunctive less frequently. Today, the mood has practically vanished; modern speakers tend to use the conditional forms of "could" and "would" to indicate statements contrary to reality. The subjunctive only survives in a few, fossilized examples, so they can be confusing. Here are the most common uses:

1. By far the most common use of the subjunctive is the use of the subjunctive after "if" clauses that state or describe a hypothetical situation.

Subjunctive: "If I were a butterfly, I would have wings."

Note that in the indicative, we normally write, "I was." For instance, "When I was a young boy, I liked to swim." However, to indicate the subjunctive, we write "I were." The subjunctive indicates a statement contrary to fact. In the butterfly example above, I am not really a butterfly, but I am describing a hypothetical situation that might occur if I were one.

Indicative: "When I was a butterfly in a former life, I had wings."


Thank you so much for that explanation. At first glance even I fell in to the trap of marking A but realized that there was something wrong with this sentence. Although, not sure about the exact reason it felt like "were" is a better option to go for considering it was a 700+ question :-p. After reading your explanation, now I have a firm reason as to why is this the answer.

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Re: A recent and popular self-help book wryly notes that if [#permalink]

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New post 07 Aug 2016, 05:12
This problem is tied to hypothetical subjunctive + S-V Agreement.
Split 1 : was vs were. "were" is the correct usage for hypothetical subjunctive. That knocks out A and B.
Split 2 : it vs they. adolesence is clearly singular : that knocks out C.

E has a awkward phrase "being one". "being one" would have made some sense with "adolescent",though it
would still be suspect.
D is the winner.

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Re: A recent and popular self-help book wryly notes that if [#permalink]

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New post 18 Oct 2016, 02:16
Hypothetical scenario - were over was

adolescence is singular and hence it

Ans:d

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Re: A recent and popular self-help book wryly notes that if adolescence [#permalink]

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New post 07 Aug 2017, 22:20
In option D, shouldn't pronoun 'it' by the virtue of grammatical construction, refer back to book?

How does it correctly refer back to adolescence?

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Re: A recent and popular self-help book wryly notes that if adolescence [#permalink]

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New post 08 Aug 2017, 10:52
sk88 wrote:
A recent and popular self-help book wryly notes that if adolescence was not so painful, it would have a droll comedic aspect, at least in retrospect.

(A) was not so painful, it
(B) was not so painful, they
(C) were not so painful, they
(D) were not so painful, it
(E) were not so painful, being one


The sentence is in Subjunctive.
If desire ,wish and hypothetical conditions are there then we have to use were .
The answer is D for correct subjunctive
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Re: A recent and popular self-help book wryly notes that if adolescence [#permalink]

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New post 10 Aug 2017, 00:19
Merged topics. Please, search before posting questions!
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Re: A recent and popular self-help book wryly notes that if adolescence   [#permalink] 10 Aug 2017, 00:19

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