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## Right to execute

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GmatKiss GMAT Titan
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Right to execute Thu Feb 16, 2012 6:24 am
Elapsed Time: 00:00
• Lap #[LAPCOUNT] ([LAPTIME])
Not until the Enlightenment, some 200 years ago, had society seriously questioned the right of the state that it could execute its citizens.

(A) had society seriously questioned the right of the state that it could execute
(B) did society seriously questioned the right of the state that it could execute
(C) had society seriously questioned the right of the state for the executing of
(D) did society seriously question the right of the state to execute
(E) had society seriously questioned whether the state had a right that it could execute

OA after some discussion

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sam2304 GMAT Titan
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Thu Feb 16, 2012 7:34 am
A/C/E - No need of past perfect here. 'It' is ambiguous in A and E.
B - 'it' is ambiguous

IMO D as its more concise.

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Thu Feb 16, 2012 8:04 pm
I think had is not exactly tense but its like a conditional. See, the following example.

we can use

Had I known about his condition... where the if is omitted and the subject and auxiliary verb are inverted.

sam2304 GMAT Titan
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Thu Feb 16, 2012 10:55 pm
karthikgmat wrote:
I think had is not exactly tense but its like a conditional. See, the following example.

we can use

Had I known about his condition... where the if is omitted and the subject and auxiliary verb are inverted.
Conditional sentences do have tenses. The above mentioned is an example of third conditional and it uses Past perfect buddy. It doesn't mean that conditional sentences don't have a tense. Please find below the excerpt from MGMAT SC, Page 113.

Quote:
Sentences that use the word if do not always use the Hypothetical Subjunctive. Sentences with an if condition and a then outcome can follow any of several tense/mood patterns.

(5) Case that Never Happened (in the past)
IF Sophie HAD EATEN pizza yesterday, THEN she WOULD HAVE BECOME ill.
IF Past Perfect, THEN Conditional Perfect.

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patanjali.purpose GMAT Destroyer!
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Sat Feb 18, 2012 6:28 am
GmatKiss wrote:
Not until the Enlightenment, some 200 years ago, had society seriously questioned the right of the state that it could execute its citizens.

(A) had society seriously questioned the right of the state that it could execute
(B) did society seriously questioned the right of the state that it could execute
(C) had society seriously questioned the right of the state for the executing of
(D) did society seriously question the right of the state to execute
(E) had society seriously questioned whether the state had a right that it could execute

OA after some discussion
NOT UNTIL 200 yrs signifies we need main verbs in simple past => drop A/C/E
B vs D
B - DID ..QUESTIONED (makes it incorrect)

I also thought IT is ambiguous (as Sam mentioned) in A & B - but looking at 'ITS' in non-underline portion suggests that sentence can accept such ambiguity. Therefore did not drop A/B from pronoun ambiguity perspective.

Another important aspect in D is ITS can refer to either SOCIETY or STATE, BUT in either cases sentence makes sense.

IMO D

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Sun Feb 19, 2012 8:55 am
Hey sam2304 I didn't say that conditional tenses doesn't use past perfect at all.. I just meant had is a conditional above.

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chris@magoosh GMAT Instructor
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Sun Feb 19, 2012 11:31 am
@patanjali -

The presence of a second 'it' (or in this case 'its') does not mean that a sentence can tolerate a certain amount of ambiguity.

Ambiguity on the GMAT should be avoided, and there is definitely some ambiguity between whether 'it' stands for
society or the state.

'its' in the non-underlined part is screaming out for an antecedent - there is no clear one in (A) and (B), so we need
to pick an answer choice that clearly states whether the state or society is the one executing.

Answer (D) provides us this information - the state is the one executing. (C) is too wordy.

Another way to approach this question is via the idiom, "Not until X...did Y."

Hope that helps clarify any ambiguity (literally .

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Tue Feb 21, 2012 5:45 am
OA is D

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