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# unmatched verb tense

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20 Jul 2009, 03:48
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Hi,

I got the below question wrong in one of the official GMAT practice tests but can't work out why.

Question 2 -- correct answer is C.

Researchers agreed that the study treatments for heart attack patients was extremely important but more research was needed to determine that baloon angioplasty preceded with ultrasound was or was not any better for heart attack patients than the balloon procedure by itself.

a. Same as above
b. more research was needed for determining whether or not balloon angioplasty preceded by ultrasound is any better for heart attack patients than is
c. that more research was needed to determine whether balloon angioplasty preceded by ultrasound is any better for heart attack patiens than
d. that more research was needed to determine that balloon angioplasty preceded with ultrasound was any better for heart attack pathents than
e. that more research was needed for determining that balloon angioplasty preceded by ultrasound is or is not any better for heart attack patients than is

I can see the answer I picked (D) is no the best, but in C, last verb 'is' does not match the verb tense in the first part of the sentence, which is past tense.
I always seem to narrow the answer down to two, and then pick the wrong one in the end.

Anyone can help me with this one?
Thx heaps.
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07 Aug 2009, 02:53
I have 2 reasons . First , "whether" in C is better than "that" in D .It is a objective clause ,means determines sth.
second "preceded by" is more agreement with the "the balloon procedure by itself" than "preceded with".

so as to the tense ,I think the whole setense means " more research was needed to determine in the past ",but the ths. needed to determine must not be the past.

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08 Aug 2009, 07:57
Thx buddy. I didn't even notice the 'by' and 'with' even thogh I went through the entire question so many times..good spot.

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11 Mar 2013, 06:55
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By all means, C is the best choice, except for the pin - prick of the un-matching verb tenses.
But now, let’s look at these sentences:
Galileo concluded that earth was oval and not flat
Galileo concluded that earth is oval and not flat
Which one of the two is correct? Obviously, is oval and not was oval. Because, this is a scientific and eternal truth, that was in the past, is in the present and will be in the future. So the use of present tense is acceptable, though it looks as if it is an apparent shift of tense.
On the same logic, whether or not Balloon Angioplasty is good enough alone or only along with other measures, is a scientific fact, and can be expressed in present tense. So C.
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11 Mar 2013, 08:34
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Expert's post
daagh wrote:
By all means, C is the best choice, except for the pin - prick of the un-matching verb tenses.
But now, let’s look at these sentences:
Galileo concluded that earth was oval and not flat
Galileo concluded that earth is oval and not flat
Which one of the two is correct? Obviously, is oval and not was oval. Because, this is a scientific and eternal truth, that was in the past, is in the present and will be in the future. So the use of present tense is acceptable, though it looks as if it is an apparent shift of tense.
On the same logic, whether or not Balloon Angioplasty is good enough alone or only along with other measures, is a scientific fact, and can be expressed in present tense. So C.

I wholeheartedly agree with daagh's comment above, and will even take it one step further. When dealing with a universal truth (as indicated, true in the past, the present and the future unless something changes), not only is the present acceptable, it is required. The logic of the sentence mandates that the verb tense be in the present, because the use of the past would indicate that something may have changed in the interim. It is important to look at the logical meaning of the sentence as well as the rules of grammar.

Similar example:
XYZ concluded that the Earth is oval and not flat --) still the case, present required
XYZ concluded that the Earth's surface was comprised of one super continent, Pangea --) no longer the case, past required

This is something that can mess students up, so it's good to be aware of it. In sentence correction, the verb tenses should match up. However, if they don't, look for logical reasons why the timeline doesn't match expectations. Logic is a bigger part of sentence correction than most students realize.

Hope this helps!
-Ron
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11 Mar 2013, 09:07
perfectly said Ron, You couldn't have made it more clear kudo to you
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05 Jan 2016, 02:08
daagh wrote:
perfectly said Ron, You couldn't have made it more clear kudo to you

What if we have 'is' replaced by 'would be' in another option?
I believe that it is just an expectation of the people and the outcome is uncertain and hence 'would' is more preferable compared to 'is' and that 'would' choice wins over 'is' choice.
Please correct me if I am wrong.
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Re: unmatched verb tense   [#permalink] 05 Jan 2016, 02:08
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