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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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08 Nov 2009, 04:05
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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

Particularly interested in the difference between "would take" and "take"
If you have any questions
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08 Nov 2009, 04:15
yangsta8 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

Particularly interested in the difference between "would take" and "take"

"would take" is past participle of "will take" whereas the event has already occurred (In 1860) so simple past tense "took" will suffice. Between B and E, B is right answer.
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09 Nov 2009, 01:23
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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

Here are my reasons -

Here I am logically assuming that the birth of the dictionary signifies the launch of the project and this took place before the the entire project was completed. Since these events are taking place at different times, we need to have perfect past tense rather than simple past. Therefore ELIMINATE B
Eliminate C ('Being)
Eliminate E (about to be completed is incorrect as event has finished in the past)
Eliminate A (wrong usage of tenses)

Now look at D

D correctly uses "would take" to signify that the completion event took place after the birth. Although "had been" here would have sounded better (for perfect tenses), "would take" is a classical case of 'future in past tense' (according to the frame of time reference identified by the non-underlined portion) hence we have to use 'would' rather than 'will'. Normally we cannot use 'would' to express facts but here the events have completed in the past.

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09 Nov 2009, 01:41
OA is D.

zaarathelab you are spot on nice explanation. +1.
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29 Apr 2010, 10:40
my pick was (B).

good explanation by zaarathelab.
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08 Jul 2010, 21:15
Hmmm....i didn't get the explanation. I picked B. Could you pls explain once more?
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08 Jul 2010, 21:41
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I picked D.

We need "will take" to signal a "future" tense from this 1860 date, but since the sentence was already drafted using simple past (launched), we need the past tense of "will," (i.e., simply "would").

Remember, "would" can be in the form of:

1) past tense of will
2) conditional form (i.e., the hypothetical form... an event NOT expected to happen)

Lastly, the final verb, "was" is preferred over "had been" since we don't need to distinquish the "born" event was prior to the "launching." In fact, the "born" event occurred AFTER anyways...
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09 Jul 2010, 07:02
my pick was (B).

good explanation by zaarathelab.
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09 Jul 2010, 08:40
Chose B. Thanks for the explanation! Ruled the choice out because of the 'would'.
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29 Jul 2010, 23:48
Went for B ........mistake realized only after I rad the explanations.....I thought that Author was generally describing it...
Re: Oxford Dictionary   [#permalink] 29 Jul 2010, 23:48
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