Larry was entertained and enlightened by the scintillating presentation.

A) was entertained and enlightened
B) entertained and was enlightened
C) entertained and enlightened
D) was entertaining and enlightened
E) will entertain and enlighten


Larry was entertained and enlightened by the scintillating presentation.


Grammar issue presented: Voice (active vs. passive)

This sentence describes two things that happened to Larry, who is receiving the action. The fixed key word “by” indicates that this is a passive construction, so you need two passive verbs in parallel form: “was entertained and enlightened.”


A) was entertained and enlightened
Correct construction? YES – “was entertained and enlightened” is a passive construction.
Additional errors? NO

B) entertained and was enlightened
Correct construction? NO – “entertained” is not a passive construction.

C) entertained and enlightened
Correct construction? NO – “entertained and enlightened” is not a passive construction; it is an active construction.

D) was entertaining and enlightened
Correct construction? NO – “was entertaining” is not a passive construction; it is an active construction.

E) will entertain and enlighten
Correct construction? NO – “will entertain and enlighten” is not a passive construction; it is an active construction.

(A) is the best answer.

Valerie recalls her college years with such nostalgia that she often lost herself in reminiscence.

A) she often lost herself in reminiscence
B) she often had lost herself in reminiscence
C) she often loses herself in reminiscence
D) she often will be losing herself in reminiscence
E) she often will have lost herself in reminiscence


Valerie recalls her college years with such nostalgia that she often lost herself in reminiscence.


Grammar issue presented: Verb Time Sequences (verb tense)

The simple present tense verb “recalls” sets up a situation in the present. Though Valerie’s college years took place in the past, she remembers them now, and she therefore loses herself in reminiscence (present tense).


A) she often lost herself in reminiscence
Proper tense? NO – (simple past tense)

B) she often had lost herself in reminiscence
Proper tense? NO – (past-perfect tense)

C) she often loses herself in reminiscence
Proper tense? YES – (simple present tense)
Additional errors? NO

D) she often will be losing herself in reminiscence
Proper tense? NO – (future progressive tense)

E) she often will have lost herself in reminiscence
Proper tense? NO – (future perfect)

(C) is the best answer.

Before it will be made available to the public, the painting was sold to a private collector and is currently on hold at the auction house awaiting pick-up.

A) Before it will be made available to the public
B) Before it can be made available to the public
C) Before it could be made available to the public
D) Before it has been made available to the public
E) Before it was made available to the public


Before it will be made available to the public, the painting was sold to a private collector and is currently on hold at the auction house awaiting pick-up.


Grammar issue presented: Verb Time Sequences (verb tense)

The fixed part of the sentence says that the painting was sold, which puts this event in the past. Because the underlined event would also have happened in the past, the future tense cannot be correct. Instead, you need the passive, subjunctive construction: could be made available.


A) Before it will be made available to the public
Proper tense? NO – (future tense)

B) Before it can be made available to the public
Proper tense? NO – (present subjunctive)

C) Before it could be made available to the public
Proper tense? YES – (past subjunctive)
Additional errors? NO

D) Before it has been made available to the public
Proper tense? NO – (past progressive tense)

E) Before it was made available to the public
Proper tense? NO – (simple past)

(C) is the best answer.

In 79 BC, when Vesuvius erupted, the Villa of the Papyri was being covered in 90 feet of volcanic ash and was preserved as the sole library of Antiquity.

A) was being covered in 90 feet of volcanic ash and was preserved
B) was covered in 90 feet of volcanic ash and was preserved
C) was covered in 90 feet of volcanic ash and had been preserved
D) had been covered in 90 feet of volcanic ash and is preserved
E) is covered in 90 feet of volcanic ash and was preserved


In 79 BC, when Vesuvius erupted, the Villa of the Papyri was being covered in 90 feet of volcanic ash and was preserved as the sole library of Antiquity.


Grammar issue presented: Verb Time Sequences (verb tense)

The beginning of the sentence sets up a situation in the past: In 79 BC, when Vesuvius erupted. This means that the rest of the sentence is going to tell us what happened during the time of the eruption. All three events happened in 79 BC, so we need the simple past tense in the passive voice: was covered and was preserved.


A) was being covered in 90 feet of volcanic ash and was preserved
Proper tense? NO – was being covered (past progressive tense)

B) was covered in 90 feet of volcanic ash and was preserved
Proper tense? YES – (simple past tense (passive voice)) Additional errors? NO

C) was covered in 90 feet of volcanic ash and had been preserved
Proper tense? NO – had been preserved (past perfect tense)

D) had been covered in 90 feet of volcanic ash and is preserved
Proper tense? NO – had been covered (past-perfect progressive tense); is preserved (present tense).
Additional errors? YES – is preserved (present)

E) is covered in 90 feet of volcanic ash and was preserved Proper tense? NO – is covered (present tense)

(B) is correct.

In the history of life on Earth, there have been five mass extinctions; the most recent was the K-T extinction, which occurred at the end of the Cretaceous period and wiped out the non-avian dinosaurs, among many other species.

A) the K-T extinction, which occurred at the end of the Cretaceous period and wiped out
B) the K-T extinction, which had occurred at the end of the Cretaceous period and wiped out
C) the K-T extinction, which, occurring at the end of the Cretaceous period, had wiped out
D) the K-T extinction, which began occurring at the end of the Cretaceous period and wiped out
E) the K-T extinction, which occurs at the end of the Cretaceous period and wiped out


In the history of life on Earth, there have been five mass extinctions; the most recent was the K-T extinction, which occurred at the end of the Cretaceous period and wiped out the non-avian dinosaurs, among many other species.


Grammar issue presented: Verb Time Sequences (verb tense)

The beginning of the sentence tells us that there have been five mass extinctions. Because the sentence uses “have been,” the present perfect progressive tense, describing an action that began in the past and continues in the present, we know that mass extinctions are ongoing phenomena. However, the underlined part of the sentence describes a specific extinction event that happened “at the end of the Cretaceous period”. This event occurred in the past and is not ongoing, so we need the simple past tense verbs occurred and wiped out.


A) the K-T extinction, which occurred at the end of the Cretaceous period and wiped out
Proper tense? YES – occurred (simple past tense) : wiped out (simple past tense).

B) the K-T extinction, which had occurred at the end of the Cretaceous period and wiped out
Proper tense? NO – had occurred (past-perfect tense) : wiped out (simple past tense)

C) the K-T extinction, which, occurring at the end of the Cretaceous period, had wiped out
Proper tense? NO – occurring (-ing verb) : had wiped out (past-perfect tense)

D) the K-T extinction, which began occurring at the end of the Cretaceous period and wiped out
Proper tense? NO – began occurring (-ing verb) : wiped out (simple past tense)

E) the K-T extinction, which occurs at the end of the Cretaceous period and wiped out
Proper tense? NO – occurs (present tense) : wiped out (simple past tense)

(A) is the best choice.

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