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The widely accepted big-bang theory holds that the universe began in

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The widely accepted big-bang theory holds that the universe began in an explosive instant 10 to 20 billion years ago and has been expanding ever since.
A. that the universe began in an explosive instant 10 to 20 billion years ago and has been expanding
B. that the universe had begun in an explosive instant 10 to 20 billion years ago and had been expanding
C. that the beginning of the universe was an explosive instant 10 to 20 billion years ago that has expanded
D. the beginning of the universe to have been an explosive instant 10 to 20 billion years ago that is expanding
E. the universe to have begun in an explosive instant 10 to 20 billion years ago and has been expanding
Please do not respond by just saying the answer is __. Please try to provide a reason why a given choice is correct or incorrect.

3 Answers

MagooshGMAT
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Top Pick from Magoosh

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answered Jun 11, 2017 by Beginner (1 point)
GMATwithCJ
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Top Pick from GMAT with CJ

Solution

Sentence Analysis

The sentence talks about what the big-bang theory says. The theory says two things:

  1. The universe began in an explosion some billion years ago
  2. The universe has been expanding ever since.

There is no grammatical error in the sentence, and the meaning communicated is also logical. Therefore, the sentence is fine as is.

Option Analysis

(A) Correct .

(B) Incorrect . For the following reasons:

  1. The past perfect "had begun" is used only when there is an action in the simple past tense before which this action (depicted in past perfect) occurred. Since there is no such sequence in the option, the use of past perfect is incorrect.
  2. The use of past perfect continuous "had been expanding" is incorrect. We are talking about time till present ("since" stands for time till now). Therefore, we need present perfect tense, not past perfect.

(C) Incorrect . "that has expanded" either modifies "years" or, at a stretch, "instant". Either of these modifications will yield an illogical meaning.

(D) Incorrect . For the following reasons:

  1. "the beginning of the universe to have been_" is an indirect way and hence a confusing way to communicate the same idea expressed clearly in option A.
  2. "that is expanding" doesn?t modify a logical entity.
  3. The present continuous tense in "that is expanding" is incorrect. We need present perfect because of the presence of "since".

(E) Incorrect . For the following reasons:

  1. Error no. 1 of the original sentence
  2. Lack of Parallelism - "has been expanding" and "to have begun" both attach with "the universe" but are not parallel to each other.
answered Jun 11, 2017 by Beginner (1 point)
gmatclubforum
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Top Pick from GMAT Club Forum

I choose A as my answer. We need to know our tenses really well in order to answer this question. We need to know the exact use of the present perfect, past perfect, and even simple past. Also, you need to know that "subject + to be verb + noun or adjective" is the correct usage.
a) correct ---> the universe began in the past, so using the simple past, "began" is perfectly fine. "has been expanding" means that the expanding started in the past and is still expanding today. That is what the present perfect progressive does to the logic of the sentence.
b) wrong ---> to use the past perfect tense correctly, you will need to use it once, but then the second verb must be simple past. You need to do so to show that the verb in past perfect tense started and was completed before the simple past verb. In this option, both the verbs are in past perfect, which is wrong.
c) it suggests that the beggining of the universe was an explosive instant....this is wrong. I'll explain why: All the linking verbs or "to be" verbs should be treated as an equal sign. For example:
1) The pen is a bargain because it is only ten cents ---> this is wrong because it suggests that "pen = ten cents." The corrected sentence would say:
2) The pen is a bragain because it worths only ten cents ---> this is more logical.
Another way to use the "to be" verb is to connect the noun to an adjective or to a noun. For example:
3) Tom is a student or Jessica is beautiful
So that's why opton C is wrong.
d) the big bang theory holds the beginning of the universe? How can only a theory hold such a serious mass as the universe??? Also, "10 to 20 billion years ago that is expanding"??? how can 10 to 20 billion years ago expand?? it's illogical
e) Because we don't have "that" at the beginning of the sentence, it sounds as though the theory is currently holding the universe. I would respond with a "wow" to a statement like that! loool....
So answer A remains as our answer
answered Jun 11, 2017 by Beginner (21 points)
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