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# Under a provision of the Constitution that was never applied, Congress

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Re: Under a provision of the Constitution that was never applied, Congress [#permalink]
GMATNinja wrote:
This is another one that we covered in our recent YouTube webinar on verb tenses, so if you prefer your SC explanations in video form, feel free to head over there.

And if you’re still reading this: the key principle here is that whenever the GMAT uses different verb tenses in a sentence, the actions need to occur at different times. In other words: the key to GMAT verb tenses is making sure that the verb tenses logically match the sequence of events. Sounds easy, but sometimes the execution can get tricky.

Quote:
(A) was never applied, Congress has been required to call a convention for considering possible amendments to the document when formally asked to do it

OK, so the phrase “was never applied” is in the simple past tense, which suggests that the action is completely over. In this case, the phrase “under a provision that was never applied” would then imply that the provision of the Constitution can no longer be applied – presumably because the Constitution or the provision itself no longer exist.

And even if you know nothing about the U.S. political system (our Constitution is still here… perhaps barely, depending on your political views), you know that the past tense is inappropriate from the sentence itself. Why? “Congress has been required…” – and that’s present perfect tense, which can only be used for an action that starts in the past and continues into the present.

In other words: the sentence is telling us that Congress is still currently required to call a convention… but under a provision that no longer exists, because it “was never applied” in the past tense. That makes no sense.

For bonus points: the “it” does not have a proper referent here. “It” is trying to refer back to the entire phrase “call a convention”, but that’s a verb phrase, not a singular noun.

Either way, (A) is out.

Quote:
(B) was never applied, there has been a requirement that Congress call a convention for consideration of possible amendments to the document when asked to do it formally

(B) has all of the same problems as (A): the verb tenses make no sense, and “it” is trying to refer back to “call a convention”, so the singular pronoun “it” is incorrect. (B) is gone, too.

Quote:
(C) was never applied, whereby Congress is required to call a convention for considering possible amendments to the document when asked to do it formally

The “it” is still a problem here, and so is the verb tense.

Plus, this thing isn’t a legitimate sentence: “under a provision that was never applied” is just a modifier, and the rest of the sentence “whereby… blah blah” is a dependent clause. We need an independent clause somewhere in this sentence for it to be correct, and we simply don’t have one.

So we can eliminate (C).

Quote:
(D) has never been applied, whereby Congress is required to call a convention to consider possible amendments to the document when formally asked to do so

Oh goody, the verb tense finally looks OK. Congress is – in the present – still required to call a convention, but the provision “has never been applied.” The use of present perfect tense correctly suggests that the provision could still be applied someday.

Also, the “it” from (A), (B), and (C) has been replaced with “so.” That’s great: “so” can basically replace a verb phrase – I think to think of it as a pronoun, but a pronoun that applies only to verbs and verb phrases. In this case: “Congress is required to call a convention… when formally asked to [call a convention].” That works just fine.

Trouble is, this thing still isn’t a sentence, for the same reasons as in (C). So (D) is gone.

Crap, I hope we like (E).

Quote:
(E) has never been applied, Congress is required to call a convention to consider possible amendments to the document when formally asked to do so

Yup, this works. It’s basically the same as (D), except that the “whereby” has been removed, giving us a full, independent clause after the comma. So this one is a legit sentence, without any pronoun or verb tense issues.

So (E) is our winner.

I used tenses to eliminate A B and C, D had whereby issues.

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Re: Under a provision of the Constitution that was never applied, Congress [#permalink]
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goalsnr wrote:
Under a provision of the Constitution that was never applied, Congress has been required to call a convention for considering possible amendments to the document when formally asked to do it by the legislatures of two-thirds of the states.

(A) was never applied, Congress has been required to call a convention for considering possible amendments to the document when formally asked to do it

(B) was never applied, there has been a requirement that Congress call a convention for consideration of possible amendments to the document when asked to do it formally

(C) was never applied, whereby Congress is required to call a convention for considering possible amendments to the document when asked to do it formally

(D) has never been applied, whereby Congress is required to call a convention to consider possible amendments to the document when formally asked to do so

(E) has never been applied, Congress is required to call a convention to consider possible amendments to the document when formally asked to do so

"Was never applied" is a completely gone event. That is it's indicating passive of past indefinite tense. But from the latter part of the sentence, we understand that congress is still required to consider the act. So, the correct verb will be Present perfect tense. A, B, and C are eliminated. These options also have pronoun ambiguity "it".

D used "whereby" which indicates a place but there is not place immediately before whereby. D is eliminated

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Re: Under a provision of the Constitution that was never applied, Congress [#permalink]
goalsnr wrote:
Under a provision of the Constitution that was never applied, Congress has been required to call a convention for considering possible amendments to the document when formally asked to do it by the legislatures of two-thirds of the states.

(A) was never applied, Congress has been required to call a convention for considering possible amendments to the document when formally asked to do it

(B) was never applied, there has been a requirement that Congress call a convention for consideration of possible amendments to the document when asked to do it formally

(C) was never applied, whereby Congress is required to call a convention for considering possible amendments to the document when asked to do it formally

(D) has never been applied, whereby Congress is required to call a convention to consider possible amendments to the document when formally asked to do so

(E) has never been applied, Congress is required to call a convention to consider possible amendments to the document when formally asked to do so

Verbal Question of The Day: Day 133: Sentence Correction

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Hi AndrewN
I am working on tenses currently and in this question If we had option E with "was" instead of "has been", would that make it wrong? Because if has never been applied is used, then it was never applied must be correct too. So, the question is does the use of "has never been applied" is superior to "was never applied " in E?
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Under a provision of the Constitution that was never applied, Congress [#permalink]
Eliminate A, B, and C
- pronoun "it" has not referrenace
- was is past tense, has is present tense
- Option C - Wrong usage of "whereby", this word is defined as in agreement with which, by which or through which
- Option B, phrase "there has been a requirement" -(wordy)
- the legislatures of two-thirds of the states formally asked Congress - is correct

Original Sentence A:
Under a provision of the Constitution that was never applied,
Congress has been required to call a convention for considering possible amendments to the document
when formally asked to do it
by the legislatures of two-thirds of the states.

(B) was never applied,
there has been a requirement that -(wordy)
Congress call a convention for consideration of possible amendments to the document
when asked to do it formally

(C) was never applied,
whereby Congress is required to call a convention for considering possible amendments to the document
when asked to do it formally

(D) has never been applied,
whereby - Error
Congress is required to call a convention to consider possible amendments to the document
when formally asked to do so

(E) has never been applied,
Congress is required to call a convention to consider possible amendments to the document
when formally asked to do so
- Correct
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Under a provision of the Constitution that was never applied, Congress [#permalink]
egmat
i have a question reqarding the tense in the correct answer option-
(E) has never been applied, Congress is required to call a convention to consider possible amendments to the document when formally asked to do so

How can Congress be required to do something in the present , when the provision is not even applied [since has never applied means- effect is still is in the present ]

I ask this because we used the same reasoning to eliminate option A by saying that when something was never applied , so how can congress be required to something in the present.
Basically in the correct option , the provision is still not applied right?

Will really appreciate the help on this! thanks in advance
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Re: Under a provision of the Constitution that was never applied, Congress [#permalink]
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Re: Under a provision of the Constitution that was never applied, Congress [#permalink]
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