1

enter image description here

This is an SAT question. I was unable to choose between answers C and D, so I wonder what is wrong with answer C?

Why can't "which" be used, though it also creates a dependent clause?

  • Should be transferred to ELL. – VTH Jul 29 '18 at 12:56
  • Disagree about the transfer. This is a usage question on verb tense agreement, not someone asking us to help them translate a concept or explain a word to them. – JKreft Jul 29 '18 at 13:14
  • After consideration, I do have to agree. This question is quite a bit more complex than meets the eye, and will surely provide some excellent discussion. The original comment will stay for the sake of continuity. – VTH Jul 29 '18 at 13:26
1

"They wanted X which were placed high" is a tense problem, not a "which" problem. It swaps from "future in the past" (They wanted X) to past "which were placed".

Correct options would be "They wanted X placed high", "They wanted X to be placed high", "They wanted X, which were to be placed high", or "They wanted X, which would be placed high".

Edit: Similarly, A) is wrong because "placing" is present tense and doesn't match "they wanted", which is past tense, and requires the "to place" tense to either be past or "future in the past".

  • Oh I see, so if they wanted something, it cannot be identified to be there already, which is what "which" seems to be implying? – LHC2012 Jul 29 '18 at 14:04
  • Also, looking back on the question, though A) seems to be in the wrong tense, I cannot exactly explain why it is wrong, is it possible that you explain that? Thank you very much! – LHC2012 Jul 29 '18 at 14:08
  • I'm not convinced that there isn't a case for (c) too: 'They wanted a series of statues, which [in those days] were placed high on buttresses so the art could be admired from afar. – S Conroy Jul 29 '18 at 14:45
  • I think your example would work, but the [in those days] (or equivalent) would not be optional. It changes the nature of the clause. – JKreft Jul 29 '18 at 14:47
  • I don't mean writing it, but interpreting the sentence in that way. e.g. They wanted a series of XYZ computers, which were produced in Germany and the US. – S Conroy Jul 29 '18 at 14:58

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.