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Miss Mae
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« on: June 17, 2013, 03:18:53 PM »

Could you please explain why the dependent clause in the sentence below requires the past form of continue?

As strong winds and torrential rains __________ to threaten lives on the Vietnam mainland, the government advised the residents to evacuate immediately.
 
        (A) continued
        (B) continuing
        (C) continuously
        (D) continues

My answer: D
Correct answer: A

Note: The sentence was from TOEIC Practice Test #1 - Incomplete Sentences
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Joe Carillo
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« Reply #1 on: June 18, 2013, 07:25:05 AM »

Based on its construction, the sentence in question needs a verb to make sense. Answer Choice “(B) continuing” couldn’t be the correct answer because the progressive form of the verb is grammatically faulty here. Answer Choice “(C) continuously” is an adverb and doesn’t fit into the sentence construction. This leaves only Answer Choice “(A) continued” and Answer Choice “(D) continues” as the only possible answers.

On inspection, we find that the subject of the dependent clause is the compound subject “strong winds and torrential rains.” This subject is plural, so Answer Choice “(D) continues” will result in a subject-verb disagreement; of course, it could have been a correct answer if it were in the present-tense plural form “continue.” This being the case, Answer Choice “(A) continued,” with the verb in the past tense, is the only possible correct answer. Recall that in English grammar, the past tense form of the verb is the same regardless of whether the subject is singular or plural.
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Miss Mae
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« Reply #2 on: June 18, 2013, 03:02:19 PM »

So if the answer listed in D is "continue," it would be right?
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Joe Carillo
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« Reply #3 on: June 18, 2013, 05:25:16 PM »

Yes, absolutely. In English-testing parlance, such an answer choice is called a distractor--an answer that can be correct in an altered context. It is meant to test grammatical proficiency and sensitivity to the nuances of the language.
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Miss Mae
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« Reply #4 on: June 19, 2013, 01:03:50 PM »

Oh, thank you. I'll just try again.
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