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# In 1860, the Philological Society launched its effort to

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In 1860, the Philological Society launched its effort to [#permalink]

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22 Apr 2013, 08:22
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In 1860, the Philological Society launched its effort to create a dictionary more comprehensive than the world had ever seen; although the project would take more than 60 years to complete, the Oxford English Dictionary had been born.

A) would take more than 60 years to complete, the Oxford English Dictionary had been

B) took more than 60 years to complete, the Oxford English Dictionary was

C) would take more than 60 years to complete, the Oxford English Dictionary was being

D) would take more than 60 years to complete, the Oxford English Dictionary was

E) took more than 60 years to complete, the Oxford English Dictionary was about to be
[Reveal] Spoiler: OA

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23 Apr 2013, 06:02
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Hi Friends,

I chose B as well during exam.

However I did some research and wanted to share it with you all.
Whenever something is in present tense, we use simple future tense.

Ex - He is saying that he will.......xyz
Simple Present + Simple Future

If something is said in past, use a conditional tense and not simple future
Ex - He said that he would........xyz
Simple past + Conditional future

Now in this question -

In 1860, the Philological Society launched its effort to create a dictionary more comprehensive than the world had ever seen; although the project would take more than 60 years to complete, the Oxford English Dictionary had been born.

The first part before semi colon is perfect -
In 1860, the Philological Society launched its effort to create a dictionary more comprehensive than the world had ever seen;
when one event happens before the other in past - we use 'had'.

The send part of the sentence -
although the project would take more than 60 years to complete, the Oxford English Dictionary had been born.
So the birth happens before it's completion. and we are talking about past+future.
We have to use conditional here.
D) would take more than 60 years to complete, the Oxford English Dictionary was

Hope this helps.
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23 Apr 2013, 17:47
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Hi mun23,

Believe me when I got this one, I did not understand the question and got it wrong.
However, I invested about 1 hour to understand this question and I hope I'll never make this kind of a mistake again.
Let us look at the choices one by one -

A) would take more than 60 years to complete, the Oxford English Dictionary had been

Look at these words- would and had been. Now for 'had' there must be 2 events in the past and one must have happened before the other. But 'would' is a form of conditional future tense. Hence wrong.

B) took more than 60 years to complete, the Oxford English Dictionary was

Look at these words - took and was. Both are in simple past. Now one event has surely occurred before the other. First the birth and then it was completed. So we cannot use both simple past terms here.

C) would take more than 60 years to complete, the Oxford English Dictionary was being

Look at these 2 - would and was being. Was being is past progressive and would is conditional future. It makes no sense together.

D) would take more than 60 years to complete, the Oxford English Dictionary was
As explained earlier, whenever a past tense and future tense need to be used together, one has to use conditional future and not simple future. He said that he would buy a car and not He said that he will buy a car.

E) took more than 60 years to complete, the Oxford English Dictionary was about to be
Took and was are both simple past. But one event happens after another and we cannot use simple past here
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25 Apr 2013, 21:55
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As it looks to me, this is more of a problem of conjugating a modifier with its modified noun. The participial modifier- replacing - or - being replaced - are simply dangling without a connection to what it can modify. Immediately after the modifier phrase, what it ever it intends to modify must be present.

A. Machines replacing human labor, there was wide anticipation that

E. Human labor being replaced by machines, there was wide anticipation that

For this reason, we can reject A and E.

The next best thing will be to conjugate the two independent things by a sub-coordinating conjunction obviating the need for the modified noun to appear after the introductory clause.

Now analyzing each the choices of B, C and D,

B. When machines replaced human labor, there was wide anticipation ---- When denotes a happening at a particular point, while the text is more about generalization; meaning gets distorted and narrowed down

C. As machines replaced human labor, it was widely anticipated that ---- The best among the lot; As denotes a general happening and also denotes sort of an on-going tinge.

D. Insofar as machines replaced human labor, it was widely anticipated – - insofar as - means up to the point; as long as -; this conjunction also limits the scope of the intended generalization

C eventually
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25 Apr 2013, 08:57
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Hi Friends,

I came across another question, similar to the one posted before.

Machines replacing human labor, there was wide anticipation that the workweek would continue to become shorter.

(A) Machines replacing human labor, there was wide anticipation that
(B) When machines replaced human labor, there was wide anticipation
(C) As machines replaced human labor, it was widely anticipated that
(D) Insofar as machines replaced human labor, it was widely anticipated
(E) Human labor being replaced by machines, there was wide anticipation that

Cheers!
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22 Apr 2013, 21:14
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Came down to B and D for me. Guessed B. Although I don't know the rule here for why it's wrong. Great question. I'll definitely learn something new on this bad boy.
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23 Apr 2013, 07:36
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Thanks a lot rakeshd347.

I will surely 'do so' (All of us preparing for GMAT know that 'do so' is preferred to 'do it')

LOL

Cheers !!
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23 Apr 2013, 14:30
CharuKapoor wrote:
In 1860, the Philological Society launched its effort to create a dictionary more comprehensive than the world had ever seen; although the project would take more than 60 years to complete, the Oxford English Dictionary had been born.

A) would take more than 60 years to complete, the Oxford English Dictionary had been

B) took more than 60 years to complete, the Oxford English Dictionary was

C) would take more than 60 years to complete, the Oxford English Dictionary was being

D) would take more than 60 years to complete, the Oxford English Dictionary was

E) took more than 60 years to complete, the Oxford English Dictionary was about to be

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Re: In 1860, the Philological Society launched its effort to [#permalink]

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18 Jun 2013, 18:55
@daagh and CharuKapoor
I had initially opted 'B' as the answer, but when i saw the reasoning of daagh some how i couldnt digest it. How did you figure out that the sentence was a generalization and not referring to a specific time frame.

Yeah, "When" does refer to a particular time frame but in this case how did you come to a conclusion that it is a generalization and not to a particular time frame
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Re: In 1860, the Philological Society launched its effort to [#permalink]

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17 Jul 2014, 07:42
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Re: In 1860, the Philological Society launched its effort to [#permalink]

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17 Jul 2014, 08:10
daagh wrote:
As it looks to me, this is more of a problem of conjugating a modifier with its modified noun. The participial modifier- replacing - or - being replaced - are simply dangling without a connection to what it can modify. Immediately after the modifier phrase, what it ever it intends to modify must be present.

A. Machines replacing human labor, there was wide anticipation that

E. Human labor being replaced by machines, there was wide anticipation that

For this reason, we can reject A and E.

The next best thing will be to conjugate the two independent things by a sub-coordinating conjunction obviating the need for the modified noun to appear after the introductory clause.

Now analyzing each the choices of B, C and D,

B. When machines replaced human labor, there was wide anticipation ---- When denotes a happening at a particular point, while the text is more about generalization; meaning gets distorted and narrowed down

C. As machines replaced human labor, it was widely anticipated that ---- The best among the lot; As denotes a general happening and also denotes sort of an on-going tinge.

D. Insofar as machines replaced human labor, it was widely anticipated – - insofar as - means up to the point; as long as -; this conjunction also limits the scope of the intended generalization

C eventually

Man that's as good an analysis as I have ever come across on this forum. Pity that you're not seen very often these days!
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Re: In 1860, the Philological Society launched its effort to [#permalink]

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29 Jul 2015, 21:49
Hello from the GMAT Club VerbalBot!

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Re: In 1860, the Philological Society launched its effort to [#permalink]

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30 Jul 2015, 02:37
CharuKapoor wrote:
In 1860, the Philological Society launched its effort to create a dictionary more comprehensive than the world had ever seen; although the project would take more than 60 years to complete, the Oxford English Dictionary had been born.

A) would take more than 60 years to complete, the Oxford English Dictionary had been

B) took more than 60 years to complete, the Oxford English Dictionary was

C) would take more than 60 years to complete, the Oxford English Dictionary was being

D) would take more than 60 years to complete, the Oxford English Dictionary was

E) took more than 60 years to complete, the Oxford English Dictionary was about to be

This again seems to be weird question. The explanations provided so far depend on the perception of the word "born".

Considering option B, I believe that it is grammatically correct and means that the oxford dictionary was born in 1920, after it took the philological society 60 years to complete it.

On the other hand, D seems to say that the oxford dictionary was born in 1860 though it was completed in 1920 (60 years after it was born).

In my opinion, both the options are grammatically correct. The only was is to choose between these two choices is to pick what the author of the sentence probably means.

What can be done when the choices are so vague? The greater cause for worry is that the source is GMAT Prep. This scares me.

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Re: In 1860, the Philological Society launched its effort to [#permalink]

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30 Jul 2015, 08:33
One can note the passage starts with an insightful prepositional phrase namely ' 'in 1860'.

To fathom the full depth of this meaning based question, one should travel back to 1860 and perceive this question form that timeline in history. Certainly it had not taken 60 years in 1860 to complete, as the idea was just born then. That is the reason that in 1860, the Dictionary took 60 years to complete, is grammatically right yet meaning- wise wrong. That the project would take more than 60 years to complete from 1860 i.e., in 1920 is the implied meaning and therefore, is required to be expressed in the future modal ‘would’.
It must be noted that all meaning based questions will exhibit at least two grammatically correct forms syntactically but differ semantically.
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In 1860, the Philological Society launched its effort to [#permalink]

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03 Aug 2015, 05:02
daagh wrote:
One can note the passage starts with an insightful prepositional phrase namely ' 'in 1860'.

To fathom the full depth of this meaning based question, one should travel back to 1860 and perceive this question form that timeline in history. Certainly it had not taken 60 years in 1860 to complete, as the idea was just born then. That is the reason that in 1860, the Dictionary took 60 years to complete, is grammatically right yet meaning- wise wrong. That the project would take more than 60 years to complete from 1860 i.e., in 1920 is the implied meaning and therefore, is required to be expressed in the future modal ‘would’.
It must be noted that all meaning based questions will exhibit at least two grammatically correct forms syntactically but differ semantically.

Hi daagh, can't we consider the first part of the sentence talking in 1860, and the second part of the sentence talking in 1920.

or can't we consider the whole sentence talking in 1920?
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Re: In 1860, the Philological Society launched its effort to [#permalink]

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03 Aug 2015, 06:17
Then why is the phrase "in 1860" included at all in the passage?

In 1860, modifies the entire clause rather than part by part; The phrase in 1920, is not even mentioned. So best to go by normal logic
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Re: In 1860, the Philological Society launched its effort to [#permalink]

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03 Aug 2015, 09:14
daagh wrote:
Then why is the phrase "in 1860" included at all in the passage?

In 1860, modifies the entire clause rather than part by part; The phrase in 1920, is not even mentioned. So best to go by normal logic

i do agree that the phrase "in 1860" modifies the entire clause. i seriously don't know why it is included. Imho, i think its not wrong to say something that happened in the past with a year reference as additional info. my only doubt is regarding this sentence in ur earlier reply "one should travel back to 1860 and perceive this question form that timeline in history."

why do we need to perceive it from that point in time. In that case any year > 1860 would be futuristic. so D will be correct. However, if we consider it from the present point in time, the tense should be past tense and D will not make sense.

sorry for troubling you daagh, but i have found that i am below avg in verb tenses and making mistakes in this area. i am trying to understand your line of thought.
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Re: In 1860, the Philological Society launched its effort to [#permalink]

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03 Aug 2015, 21:44
B) took more than 60 years to complete, the Oxford English Dictionary was

In 1860, the idea was just mooted; It had not taken 60 years to complete then; The mooting of an idea cannot be the same as the completion of the idea, because a lead time is involved for delivery. Both cannot happen in the same year, in such a mammoth job like the making of the dictionary. In B, the use simple past tense to mark both the events is grammatically wrong. The earlier event of mooting the idea should be in past perfect, and the completion, which was more than 60 years later, in simple past.

Hence D is appropriate for using the correct tenses.
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Re: In 1860, the Philological Society launched its effort to   [#permalink] 03 Aug 2015, 21:44
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