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This is an excerpt from a Cambridge ESOL test, this type's called "open cloze". My question is, which word fits in the gap, "turned" or "turns"?

"Some years ago, I received a letter from a stranger, Joanna King. It seemed at first to be on of those pleasant fan letters that authors are occasionally cheered by, but which ............... out to be something else. Joanna had an aunt, aged ninety-eight, who had kept a diary from the age of thirteen until she was ninety-four. Neither Joanna nor her husband had ever been allowed to read any of these diaries, but because their relative was a woman of strong opinions, they thought the ywould be interesting."

Thanks and cheers,
Joey
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What do you think? Is it writen in the past or present tense?
Hey!

Thanks for your reply!

My answer was "turned", but according to some people this answer's apparently wrong, and the correct answer is "turns".

According to them "which" refers to "one of those pleasant fan letters". In this case "turns" would be the correct answer. I think this doesn't really make sense logically because of the "at first".

And I say that "which" refers to "letter" in "I received a letter from a stranger", in which case "turned" fits in the gap.

I don't know if it makes any difference, but a "then" is missing from the excerpt, I accidentally left it out:

"Some years ago, I received a letter from a stranger, Joanna King. It seemed at first to be one of those pleasant fan letters that authors are occasionally cheered by, but which then ... out to be something else. Joanna had an aunt, aged ninety-eight, who had kept a diary from the age of thirteen until she was ninety-four. Neither Joanna nor her husband had ever been allowed to read any of these diaries, but because their relative was a woman of strong opinions, they thought they would be interesting."

Thanks,
Joey
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Hi,
AnonymousIt seemed at first to be one of those pleasant fan letters that authors are occasionally cheered by, but which .. out to be something else.
I'd have written 'turn', not 'turns' or 'turned'! Emotion: sad
(one of those letters which turn out to be)

Guess I should start doing tests again ... I'm a bit rusty.
I will ask you again which tense is it writtien in? you already know the answer but haven't seen it yrt. I've give you another clue " many years ago"
Hi Dave,
Dave PhillipsI will ask you again which tense is it writtien in? you already know the answer but haven't seen it yrt. I've give you another clue " many years ago"
While it is true that the story is set in the past, a part of the sentence is written in the present, because -- I guess -- it's tense-less, as it refers to something that is always true.

"Some years ago, I received a letter from a stranger, Joanna King. It seemed at first to be one of those pleasant fan letters that authors are occasionally cheered by, but which .. out to be something else. Joanna had an aunt, aged ninety-eight, who had kept a diary from the age of thirteen until she was ninety-four. Neither Joanna nor her husband had ever been allowed to read any of these diaries, but because their relative was a woman of strong opinions, they thought the ywould be interesting."

I still think the present (turn/turns) would work better, as it would parallel "are cheered by" ... My problem (and it's not the first time) is whether the verb should be plural or singular, given that it must agree with "one of those letters that". I'd go for the plural (turn) but I have no opinion on the singular (turns).

I'd have definitely chosen "turned" if "it" had been used instead of "which", as in the following.

It seemed at first to be one of those pleasant fan letters that authors are occasionally cheered by, but it .. out to be something else.

What do you think?
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In my opinion, the sentence would make more sense if it read, per Tanit's suggestion:

"It seemed at first to be one of those pleasant fan letters that authors are occasionally cheered by, but it turned out to be something else."
Hi guys,

I'd say 'turn'.

Clive