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# in an attempt to' is idiom

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Senior Manager
Joined: 28 Jun 2009
Posts: 440

Kudos [?]: 193 [0], given: 46

Location: United States (MA)
in an attempt to' is idiom [#permalink]

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03 May 2012, 17:05
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78% (00:48) correct 22% (00:01) wrong based on 9 sessions

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'in an attempt to' is idiom.
[Reveal] Spoiler: OA

Kudos [?]: 193 [0], given: 46

Intern
Joined: 15 Aug 2011
Posts: 20

Kudos [?]: 1 [0], given: 17

Re: Present Perfect Vs. Simple Past [#permalink]

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03 May 2012, 23:51
It is simple past because of 'In October'.

I eliminated C because 'they' is written. It should be 'it'.

'A' seems good but a little bit awkward. Maybe somebody can explain better why we eliminate 'A' .

Kudos [?]: 1 [0], given: 17

e-GMAT Representative
Joined: 02 Nov 2011
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Kudos [?]: 9032 [0], given: 335

Re: Present Perfect Vs. Simple Past [#permalink]

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04 May 2012, 10:20
sravanth wrote:
OA is D. But why is it in Simple past. Shouldn't this be in Present perfect?

Hi,
In October, the chairman of Tata Sons, Ratan Tata, gifted \$50 million to his alma mater, the Harvard Business School, in an attempt to give back to the school a little bit of what it had given him.

This is the correct answer Choice D which uses the simple past tense. This usage is correct here because the sentence is stating general fact about Ratan Tata that he gifted some money to his alma mater. We use past perfect tense when there are two past events. Past perfect is used for the event that took place earlier.

However, in this sentence, we getting general information about what Ratan Tata did. All the general facts must be written in simple tense (past/present/future depending upon the context of the sentence).

Also notice the use of past perfect tense “had given” towards the end of the sentence. This verb is written in the past perfect tense because Harvard had given, say the knowledge or education to Tata, way before October when Tata gifted the money. If we write both the verbs in the past perfect tense then this suggested time gap between the two verbs will become obscure.

hfiratozturk wrote:
'A' seems good but a little bit awkward. Maybe somebody can explain better why we eliminate 'A' .

Choice A: In October, the chairman of Tata Sons, Ratan Tata, gifted \$50 million for his alma mater, the Harvard Business School to give back to the school a little bit of what it:

This sentence uses the wrong idiom “gifted for”. The correct idiom is “gifted to”. The incorrect idiom makes the sentence incorrect. Also, in the correct choice, the phrase "in attempt to" clarifies the purpose of the gift furthermore. This is missing in Choice A. The to + verb (to give back) is denoting the purpose of the gift but the additional phrase certainly enhances the meaning of the sentence.

Hope this helps.

Thanks.
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Retired Moderator
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Re: Present Perfect Vs. Simple Past [#permalink]

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04 May 2012, 11:17
The gift was a one-time affair that started and ended in the past. Obviously, Tata did not give anymore donation from the first time he gave. Such things that were started in the past and have clearly ended in the past are normally expressed in simple past.

On the contrary, a present perfect is used to denote something that was started in the past and is either continuing now of describing it or has just ended. This element of currency differentiates the present perfect from the simple past.
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Kudos [?]: 7887 [0], given: 363

Retired Moderator
Status: worked for Kaplan's associates, but now on my own, free and flying
Joined: 19 Feb 2007
Posts: 4287

Kudos [?]: 7887 [0], given: 363

Location: India
WE: Education (Education)
Re: Present Perfect Vs. Simple Past [#permalink]

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04 May 2012, 11:26
I have a grouse against the OA D. it says ‘in an attempt to”; i feel that this is an unnecessary verbiage. Whe you purpose is to give we should simply say ‘to give’ By saying that it is only an attempt to give (implying that it may not be a case of really giving). To that extent we are distorting the meaning unintentionally
If we want to call something a spade, we must call it a spade and not attempt to call it a spade.
_________________

“Better than a thousand days of diligent study is one day with a great teacher” – a Japanese proverb.
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Kudos [?]: 7887 [0], given: 363

Re: Present Perfect Vs. Simple Past   [#permalink] 04 May 2012, 11:26
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