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Writing question! "X lost 70 % of its subscribs since 1920 and, ..."

potentenumpotentenum Posts: 656Registered User Member
edited August 2009 in SAT Preparation
[Despite] its cultural importance, the Daily Gazette [lost] 70 % of its subscribers since 1920 and, by 1955, [was losing] [as much] as $200,000 a year. [No error]

I selected C "was losing" because i thought it was inconsistent with the "lost" in the beginning, but apparently the answer is B.

Is it because you can't "lose" something since 1920 but have to be "losing" 70% since some time? please explain!

Thank you
Post edited by potentenum on

Replies to: Writing question! "X lost 70 % of its subscribs since 1920 and, ..."

  • potentenumpotentenum Posts: 656Registered User Member
    should it be "had lost" because they had already lost 70%?

    so it is ALWAYS

    "XX HAD LOST 70% of blah blah".... IF it says "since 1920" b/c that means the "losing" subscribers or whatever is already done?
  • potentenumpotentenum Posts: 656Registered User Member
    OH but what if I wanted to say XX was losing 10% of its subscribers EACH YEAR and has been doing that since 1920, can i say

    "XX has been losing 10% of its subscribers each year since 1920" or is it "lost 10% of its subscribers each year since 1920"
  • Bigb14Bigb14 Posts: 2,044Registered User Senior Member
    Is this a CB question? I'll bet money it's not. You could modify the tense of either "B" or "C" and the sentence would be correct.
  • BilguunBilguun Posts: 1,252Registered User Senior Member
    The simplest grammatical explanation is, perhaps, that you always have to use Present Perfect Tense or Past Perfect Tense with "since".

    More explicit explanation would be that you have to use perfect tenses with actions that have either their beginning or ending period stated.
    So, because the action of gazette's subscriber-loosing started in 1920, and is happening ever since, you have to use Present Perfect Tense.
    The sentence should read

    The C or "was losing" is correct because it is implied that the action of loosing 200000$ was repeated several times around the year of 1955.
    You can't have "lost" because it would make it sound as if the company had lost 200000$ only once and you can't have "had lost" because we do not know when the action of losing 200000$ started or ended.

    This one
    "XX has been losing 10% of its subscribers each year since 1920" or is it "lost 10% of its subscribers each year since 1920"
    is tricky. The more I think of it the more confused I get.
  • jamesfordjamesford Posts: 3,447Registered User Senior Member
    I believe this is a CB question, just one of the trickier ones.
  • Bigb14Bigb14 Posts: 2,044Registered User Senior Member
    But then it could also read:

    Despite its cultural importance, the Daily Gazette [lost] 70 % of its subscribers since 1920 and, by 1955, [had lost] as much as $200,000 a year.
  • TheDude2491TheDude2491 Posts: 239Registered User Junior Member
    Hmmm, according to CollegeBoard, the answer should be "has lost" because the sentence started with "since" which shows a duration of time.

    The error in this sentence occurs at (B), where the present perfect tense of the verb (“has lost”) should be used instead of the past tense (“lost”) to indicate an action that is completed in the present (“since 1920”). *from the collegeboard website*
  • BilguunBilguun Posts: 1,252Registered User Senior Member
    I was editing my post and got so lost in it forgot to write the sentence after "The sentence should read"
    It should have read:
    Despite its cultural importance, the Daily Gazette has lost 70 % of its subscribers since 1920 and, by 1955, was losing as much as $200,000 a year. ]
  • potentenumpotentenum Posts: 656Registered User Member
    Ahh I get it. So basically "since" = duration of time = present or past perfect like Biguun said.

    so if its like losing something per year like "losing as much as $200,000 a year", then the sentence could also potentially read:
    Despite its cultural importance, The Daily Gazette has been losing 10% of its subscribers every year since 1920 and, by 1955, was losing as much as $200 k a year.

    So "since" = beginning time = present perfect.

    and then "by 1955" = end time = past perfect?
  • BilguunBilguun Posts: 1,252Registered User Senior Member
    I'm not sure about this sentence:
    "Despite its cultural importance, The Daily Gazette has been losing 10% of its subscribers every year since 1920 and, by 1955, was losing as much as $200 k a year."
    But I think it might be correct.
    But I would say
    "Despite its cultural importance, The Daily Gazette has been losing 10% of its subscribers every year since 1920; by 1955 it was losing as much as $200 k a year."

    In the original sentence, it is implied that the gazette started losing its subscribers in 1920 (beginning time) and its still losing them today. Because the action has a stated beginning in the past and ends in the present we have to use present perfect or "has lost".

    The part after the "and" is not directly connected with the action in the previous part, so the 1955 is not the ending time. This second part of the sentence just gives us additional information that the gazette was losing its subscribers very rapidly around 1955.
  • potentenumpotentenum Posts: 656Registered User Member
    ^ oh okay. when I want to say that the Daily Gazette has been losing 10% every year since 1920 and is still losing 10% this year and prob in future,

    what's the difference between "has been losing" and "has lost"?

    like has lost means that there is an end date? and has been losing means it is still losing 10% each year?

    thanks
  • BilguunBilguun Posts: 1,252Registered User Senior Member
    Yes, I guess so.
    "has been losing" implies that the action has started at a certain time in past and is still happening and that it will also continue to happen in the future.

    "has lost" implies that the action has started at a certain time in past and has ended at the present (or now).

    For a deeper understanding you may compare these tenses with others.
    e.g.
    "had lost" would be used for actions that had a certain beginning and ending in the past.

    "lost" would be used for actions that just happened once and didn't have duration periods.

    "was losing" would be used for actions that began and ended in the past but unlike "has been losing" or "had been losing" does not have a certain time it ended or began.
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