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  1. #1
    kiranlegend is offline Member
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    Default verb tense confusion

    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.
    would take more than 60 years to complete, the Oxford English Dictionary had been took more than 60 years to complete, the Oxford English Dictionary was would take more than 60 years to complete, the Oxford English Dictionary was being would take more than 60 years to complete, the Oxford English Dictionary was took more than 60 years to complete, the Oxford English Dictionary was about to be





  2. #2
    kiranlegend is offline Member
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    Default Re: verb tense confusion

    I understood why B is wrong because it used two past actions with out any usage of past perfect. I am not at all getting a clue for why D is correct?:o

    would take?? what tense is it? how is it appropriate in this context?

    Thanks:)

  3. #3
    Olympian is offline Member
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    Default Re: verb tense confusion

    Quote Originally Posted by kiranlegend View Post
    I understood why B is wrong because it used two past actions with out any usage of past perfect. I am not at all getting a clue for why D is correct?:o

    would take?? what tense is it? how is it appropriate in this context?

    Thanks:)
    I am not a teacher (and I don't play one on TV).

    It is past tense. Please take a look at the following lines from Intermediate English Grammar by R. Murphy

    Sometimes would/wouldn't is the past of will/won't. Compare:

    present Tom: I'll phone you on Sunday.
    past Tom said he'd phone me on Sunday.

    present Ann: I promise I won't lie.
    past Ann promised that she wouldn't be late.

    present Liz: Damn! The car won't start.
    past Liz was angry because the car wouldn't start.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: verb tense confusion

    I agree with Olympian. Also, the sentence before is in Past Perfect, so everything that happend after that can't be expressed in the same tense, because it wouldn't make sense. Hope it helps.

  5. #5
    kiranlegend is offline Member
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    Default Re: verb tense confusion

    Hmm.. Agreed! but still i have a doubt in the following sentence:

    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 was born


    Is this choice correct in the first place? If so, two past actions are being depicted here, how could it be? Because the dictionary will born only after the its completion. So past perfect should be there right? This sentence was choosen as a correct one.. :o

  6. #6
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    bhaisahab is offline Moderator
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    Default Re: verb tense confusion

    "Was being" is correct because the birth was in progress, it had started and was not yet completed.

  7. #7
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    engee30 is offline Key Member
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    Cool Re: verb tense confusion

    Quote Originally Posted by bhaisahab View Post
    "Was being" is correct because the birth was in progress, it had started and was not yet completed.
    Not at all.

    Quote Originally Posted by kiranlegend View Post
    In 1860, the Philological Society launched its effort to create a dictionary more comprehensive than the world had ever seen; [...]
    There was no such a good dicionary like the Oxford English Dictionary before 1860, which is the initial year of launching the project of creating the dictionary. You use the Past Perfect had ever been to refer to the time before and up to 1860, when the Philological Society launched its effort to create a dictionary.

    Quote Originally Posted by kiranlegend View Post
    [...] although the project would take more than 60 years to complete, the Oxford English Dictionary was born.
    You use the form would take to refer to a hypothetical situation from the past, or to something that was expected to happen; you use the Past Simple was born to refer to the time when the launching of the dictionary started (that is 1860), which means the same as the beginning of the Oxford English Dictionary.


  8. #8
    bhaisahab's Avatar
    bhaisahab is offline Moderator
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    Default Re: verb tense confusion

    Quote Originally Posted by engee30 View Post
    Not at all.



    There was no such a good dicionary like the Oxford English Dictionary before 1860, which is the initial year of launching the project of creating the dictionary. You use the Past Perfect had ever been to refer to the time before and up to 1860, when the Philological Society launched its effort to create a dictionary.



    You use the form would take to refer to a hypothetical situation from the past, or to something that was expected to happen; you use the Past Simple was born to refer to the time when the launching of the dictionary started (that is 1860), which means the same as the beginning of the Oxford English Dictionary.

    Yes, you are right, I made a bit of an error there.

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