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# By 1999, astronomers had discovered 17 nearby stars that are orbited

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Manager
Joined: 28 Jun 2018
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By 1999, astronomers had discovered 17 nearby stars that are orbited  [#permalink]

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13 Oct 2018, 07:23
Usage of "BY" vs "AT"-

I will just tweak the sentence a little for better understanding.

By the end of 1999, astronomers had discovered XYZ.

Here we see a sequence of events. First we see that the discovery happened and then 1999 ended.
What was the earlier part or first event? The astronomers discovered XYZ.
What was the later part or next event? 1999 ended.

So for the EARLIER part we use PAST PERFECT TENSE.

Now what if we had "AT" in the sentence?

At the end of 1999, astronomers discovered XYZ.

Here we have no sequence of events. The sentence says it is happening at a particular time by using "AT".
So we use SIMPLE PAST TENSE.

Hope it helps.
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Re: By 1999, astronomers had discovered 17 nearby stars that are orbited  [#permalink]

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17 Nov 2018, 01:52
(C) By 1999, astronomers had discovered 17 nearby stars with planets orbiting them that were..."them that" is wrong.
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Re: By 1999, astronomers had discovered 17 nearby stars that are orbited  [#permalink]

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24 Nov 2018, 02:59
The question is pretty straight forward.

By 1999, astronomers had discovered 17 nearby stars that are orbited by planets about the size of Jupiter

(A) had discovered 17 nearby stars that are orbited by planets

(B) had discovered 17 nearby stars with planets orbiting them that were

(C) had discovered that there were 17 nearby stars that were orbited by planets

(D) have discovered 17 nearby stars with planets orbiting them that are

(E) have discovered that 17 nearby stars are orbited by planets

By 1999 - indicates something which has already finished by 1999, so there is an absolute necessity for "had" and not have.

This idea renders D, E useless. So the split is A,B,C and D,E. D,E are useless now. Among A,B, and C - all other sentences change the meaning except for A.
Sentence B suggests "that were the size of the jupiter", meaning now it is not the size of the jupiter.
Sentence C suggests "were orbited", meaning now it is not orbiting.
Hence Option A rightly wins the race.
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Re: By 1999, astronomers had discovered 17 nearby stars that are orbited  [#permalink]

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16 Apr 2019, 13:19
Hello Everyone!

While we answered this one for you a while ago, let's go back and rework this using the EMPOWERgmat method! First, let's take a quick glance over the options and highlight any major differences we can find in orange:

By 1999, astronomers had discovered 17 nearby stars that are orbited by planets about the size of Jupiter.

(A) had discovered 17 nearby stars that are orbited by planets
(B) had discovered 17 nearby stars with planets orbiting them that were
(C) had discovered that there were 17 nearby stars that were orbited by planets
(D) have discovered 17 nearby stars with planets orbiting them that are
(E) have discovered that 17 nearby stars are orbited by planets

After a quick glance over the options, we found 2 places we can focus on:

1. had discovered / have discovered (Verb Tense)
2. How each option ends (Modifiers / Verb Tense / Meaning)

Let's start with #1 on our list because it will eliminate 2-3 options right away. This is a pretty easy one because it has to do with verb tenses! If we look at the entire sentence for clues, we can figure out which verb tense we need:

By 1999, astronomers had discovered 17 nearby stars that are orbited by planets about the size of Jupiter.

Since all of the discoveries were started AND FINISHED in the past, it makes the most sense to use the past perfect tense! If we were talking about discoveries that were started in the past, but were still being made today, it would make sense to use present perfect tense. Let's see how our options stack up:

(A) had discovered 17 nearby stars that are orbited by planets
(B) had discovered 17 nearby stars with planets orbiting them that were
(C) had discovered that there were 17 nearby stars that were orbited by planets
(D) have discovered 17 nearby stars with planets orbiting them that are
(E) have discovered that 17 nearby stars are orbited by planets

We can easily eliminate options D & E because they use the present perfect instead of the past perfect verb tense.

Now that we have things narrowed down, let's tackle #2 on our list: how each option ends. We need to make sure that any modifiers we find work (hint: they'll start with the word "that"), and make sure any verbs we find make sense:

(A) had discovered 17 nearby stars that are orbited by planets

This is CORRECT! It makes more sense to say that the stars are currently orbited by planets. The planets were discovered orbiting stars in 1999, but it's safe to say they're still doing so today.

(B) had discovered 17 nearby stars with planets orbiting them that were

This is INCORRECT because the use of the past tense "were" doesn't work here. The planets are STILL the size of Jupiter - that didn't change after 1999. Since we're talking about a phenomenon that was discovered in the past, but still goes on today, it makes more sense to use present tense verbs here.

(C) had discovered that there were 17 nearby stars that were orbited by planets

Again, this is INCORRECT because the use of past tense here doesn't convey the correct meaning. The discoveries were made in the past, but the planets and stars are still behaving the same way today!

There you have it - option A was the correct choice all along! If we focus on the either/or differences between options, it's easy to eliminate wrong ones quickly!

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Re: By 1999, astronomers had discovered 17 nearby stars that are orbited  [#permalink]

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15 May 2019, 03:51
For this question. I am still confuse with answer option C. how its changing the meaning.
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Re: By 1999, astronomers had discovered 17 nearby stars that are orbited  [#permalink]

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15 May 2019, 14:14
BijayKru wrote:
For this question. I am still confuse with answer option C. how its changing the meaning.

Hello BijayKru!

Thanks for your question! Let's take a look at option C and figure out where the problem lies:

(C) By 1999, astronomers had discovered that there were 17 nearby stars that were orbited by planets about the size of Jupiter.

The problem with the verb "were orbited" is that it changes the intended meaning. We know that astronomers discovered the stars and planets in 1999, which was 20 years ago. This sentence also indicates that the planets were orbiting the stars IN THE PAST only, and that they are no longer doing that. That's not the intended meaning we're looking for - we want the reader to know that while astronomers found these stars and planets 20 years ago, they're still doing the same things today. It's not like the planets just suddenly stopped orbiting their stars because we found them - that would be pretty wild!

I hope this helps!
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By 1999, astronomers had discovered 17 nearby stars that are orbited  [#permalink]

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18 Feb 2020, 03:33
Are vs Were dilemma.

I went for the 'were' bait in option C. Past perfect is usually followed by simple past.

Another reason I disregarded 'are' was (is can be used here?)that while I understood that 'were' may imply that the event was happening at that particular time period, but at the same times were also doesn't comment on the present condition of the event. I also felt that we can not be sure if the event is happening at present. (Remember Pluto? its no longer a planet). If the example pertains to Pluto should we use are or were?
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By 1999, astronomers had discovered 17 nearby stars that are orbited  [#permalink]

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20 Feb 2020, 04:06
By 1999, astronomers had discovered 17 nearby stars that are orbited by planets about the size of Jupiter

(A) had discovered 17 nearby stars that are orbited by planets

(B) had discovered 17 nearby stars with planets orbiting them that were

(C) had discovered that there were 17 nearby stars that were orbited by planets

(D) have discovered 17 nearby stars with planets orbiting them that are

(E) have discovered that 17 nearby stars are orbited by planets

the rule of tense is simple. if the main clause is in the past, the tenses in the dependent clauses is normally in the past but can be in any tense, depending on meaning.

to remember easily, say " if the main clause is in the past, the dependent clauses can be in present

to make the rule more easy to apply.

"in the past context, a present tense can be used".

this is helpful to non natives, who need to make effort to read, and who can not realize the role of tense quickly.

choice A illustrate the above sentence.
read an original choice, realize the grammatical role of phrases and tenses. we , non native, normally do not actively look for grammatical roles of tenses, and, so, we find tense problem hard.
"are orbited" and "were orbited" is a split.

.
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Re: By 1999, astronomers had discovered 17 nearby stars that are orbited  [#permalink]

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22 Apr 2020, 00:31
Action started in past but its impact continues in present. So it should be in present tense. Plz help me out.

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Re: By 1999, astronomers had discovered 17 nearby stars that are orbited   [#permalink] 22 Apr 2020, 00:31

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