Nothing could be done to save the patient and he ____ fast.
(A) died (B) die (C) was dying (D) was dead
The answer is option C. Why is option A incorrect?
I think A is the only correct answer!
Who told you the correct answer was (C)?
I think (A) is the right answer for your sentence as the sentence talks about something that took place in the past.
A Dictionary of Answers to Common Questions in English, page 364, by Zhao Zhencai, a Chinese teacher of English.
Not a teacher opinion.
I find that type of questions very difficult to answer, as a student.
It's becouse I don't know the context of the sentence that the person who created the multiple choice test had in mind.
Let me create* a context to the answer C
Nothing could be done to save the patient and he was dying fast. His days were over by October.
If A is chosen then it's just a statement of fact;
* Is create an appropriate word ?
Last edited by Jaskin; 24-Oct-2008 at 11:02.
And your suggested scenario is spot on. As you have seen, it's not really a question of one answer being 'better' than the other. If the patient was already dead at the time of the narrative, A is the only possible answer - not just better. If the patient was still alive at the time of the narrative, C is the only possible answer - not just better.
So the writer wasn't wrong. He just didn't realize that the question was unfair (because it didn't make the full context clear); and in his mind he 'knew' the patient was still alive (in his story - which he didn't tell).
Other people who have posted are doing the same in reverse; but in their minds the patient is already dead.
Incidentally, when I saw the thread's title I thought you were thinking of a different meaning of "fast": a "dye" (colouring for material) is "fast" if it doesn't run when it gets wet.