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Dear Friends,

I ran into difficulties answering the following test question: (I guess it's B but not sure)

1. Which clause could not be joined with the second, given clause?

___ , the hospital could have burned down.

A) If the nurse hadn't had a presence of mind

B) But for the nurse's presence of mind

C) Had the nurse not had a presence of mind

D) Hadn't the nurse had a presence of mind

2. Which sentence is incorrect? The boss demanded that the employees_______________ .

a) do overtime b) did do overtime c) should do overtime d) should have done overtime

(my guess it's b)

3. (I guess it's C)

Which sentence is incorrect__________ , I would have got sunburnt.

A) If I hadn't had suntan lotion with me

B) Hadn't I had suntan lotion with me

C) Had it not been for the suntan lotion

D) Had I not had suntan lotion with me

Thank you very much.

Palinkasocsi



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Comments  
As written, #1 is a faulty question with no unique answer. Are you quite sure that it asks which clause can not be joined, and that you have typed all the options correctly? One possibility is that "a presence of mind" is a mistake for "the presence of mind". That would make three options OK and only one wrong.

#2 is a poor question in my opinion. I don't know if the expected answer is (b) or (d). The tense of (d) seems illogical, but (b) is not great English either (though feasible if "did" is emphasised, I suppose).

Your answer for 3 is incorrect.
So Which is the correct answer for 3? And for the first item, if written as 'the presence of mind'?
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You've done the test now, right?

If "a presence" was "the presence" then the answer to #1 would be D.

The answer to #3 is B.
Actually, Google results show some evidence of "have a presence of mind" in this sense (though very much rarer than "the"). When I first read it, it seemed plain wrong, but maybe some people do say it that way.
Thank you very much Mr Wordy.

Palinkasocsi
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Mr Wordy#2 is a poor question in my opinion. I don't know if the expected answer is (b) or (d). The tense of (d) seems illogical, but (b) is not great English either (though feasible if "did" is emphasised, I suppose).

OK, Mr. Wordy, when I was a high school kid in China, we did numerous tests similar to question #2 and the "correct" (at least as we were told back then) answer for #2 is a - you can only use the original form of the verb (no past tense, or singular forms, etc) in the clause that follows verbs such as "demand" or "insist", and you shall not use things like "should" before that verb in its original form. See the following examples I just googled - is this something not obvious to native speakers (I was wondering if we learnt some outdated rules in China or you just overlooked this)?

Sarah Palin demanded that White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel be fired for using the word "retarded".
Apple demanded that Microsoft stop advertising PC price advantage over Mac.
Should I insist that he sit in it?
Answer to your question #2 is A (at least based on the English we were taught backin high schools in China). See my reply to Mr. Wordy.
Mr Wordy
Actually, Google results show some evidence of "have a presence of mind" in this sense (though very much rarer than "the"). When I first read it, it seemed plain wrong, but maybe some people do say it that way.

In fact, just for the record, I'm beginning to doubt my earlier judgement about "a presence of mind" altogether, and I retract my claim that question #1 is faulty.
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