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got problems with a grammar question

wangtoucbkwangtoucbk Posts: 17Registered User New Member
edited November 2012 in SAT Preparation
this is the original and uncorrected sentence.

The newspaper *reported* that *having* the increase in the minimum wage, *many people* are still having trouble *making* ends meet. *NO ERROR*

I understand why *having* is grammatically wrong. But I also believe that *reported* is incorrect, too, because it is inconsistant with the "are".

Can someone please explain this to me?
Post edited by wangtoucbk on

Replies to: got problems with a grammar question

  • rspencerspence Posts: 2,118Registered User Senior Member
    I'm no grammar expert, but just because a sentence contains two verbs of different tenses doesn't automatically make it incorrect. For example,

    Even though I had prepared for today's lecture, I am still struggling in the course.
  • wangtoucbkwangtoucbk Posts: 17Registered User New Member
    Well, I do understand how it works for a sentence to contain verbs of different tenses. But, this is clearly not the case.

    A more appropriate example is that
    "I SAID I WANTED a cup of tea instead of a muffin."

    Any verb put behind "said" should be past tense unless it is an unchangeable fact which the original sentence of the question presented is not.
  • fogcityfogcity Posts: 2,686Registered User Senior Member
    You may want to review the concept of clauses and phrases in English.

    Sentences are made up of clauses and phrases. In general clauses stand alone in that they require a subject and a verb. There is "no" general grammar rule that requires that each of the clauses (dependent or independent) that make up a sentence be of the same tense or number. Logic may dictate that, or parallel construction may dictate that, but not basic grammar.

    In the example the corrected sentence is:

    The newspaper reported that because of the increase in the minimum wage many people are still having trouble making ends meet.

    The two clauses are "the newspaper reported" and "because of the increase ...". The word "that" serves as a subordinating conjunction. It introduces the dependent clause that starts with "because ...".

    As an exercise replace the clause starting with "because" with your own choice. I expect that you can construct an example for any tense.
  • PreplyPreply Posts: 260Registered User Junior Member
    All the above posters are correct, esp. Fogcity. I would challenge you with a counter-example to your argument.

    If tenses agree all the time, then every time we talked about something we saw, we would be confined to the past tense...

    e.g.
    "OMG. Sally just wrote on Facebook that she and Mark were dating."
    "I saw on the news that President Obama visited Birmingham next week."
    "The fortune teller predicted that I scored really well on next month's SAT, but I'm still nervous."

    Granted, these are blatantly obvious examples of poor grammar, but I encourage my students to think critically on their feet, and come up with reasons for themselves why something may or may not be wrong.
  • wangtoucbkwangtoucbk Posts: 17Registered User New Member
    I guess I just feel a little bit baffled when it comes to handling SAT grammar which is strictly following an official patterm and totally different from the grammar used in daily speaking. But the bright side is that the question must have an apparent error which at most time is not so baffling.
  • fogcityfogcity Posts: 2,686Registered User Senior Member
    Wangtoucbk, to conclude that there is an English language based on "SAT grammar" and "official rules" and another language based on different rules is badly misguided. For most part literate spoken English follows the same rules as literate written English.

    The sentence that you questioned, and for which you proposed a verb change, would be just as wrong in spoken English as in written English.
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