1000 SC

Default Asked on February 2, 2013 in Sentence Correction.
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4 Answer(s)

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


Can someone please explain. I chose E because I thought ‘had’ perfectly fits in to explain the period before enlightenment. Moreover I can see something wrong in all the answer choices – ‘did’ in B,D , ‘it’ in A,B,C,E . 
I know, in some GMAT questions, we may sometimes find something wrong in all answer choices and we have to still pick the best one. I am not sure if this is one of those questions ?  In such questions I always fall into trap once I actually eliminate the right answer choice at the 1st read and do not come back to it again and thus end up picking a wrong answer choice confidently 🙁
Default Answered on February 2, 2013.
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I am going to choice “D” and here is my reasoning:

A,B and E has “it” and we dont know what is “it” refering to, is it society or state
C is nonsensical since it has both “had” and “executing”
D – says that Enlightenment did something…. but it happened 200 years ago
Any inputs, well appreciated
Beginner Answered on February 3, 2013.
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Ashwin, your reason to eliminate options A, B and E is perfectly right: the “it” is unnecessary in these choices. C also incorrectly uses the -ing form of ‘execute’ – if anything, it should have been “execution”.

But above all that, the use of “had” is incorrect here. There is no need for a past perfect tense. Try flipping the sentence to understand this better:

“Society did not seriously question the right of the state to execute its citizens until the Enlightenment 200 years ago.”

So D is the right answer.

Intermediate Answered on February 4, 2013.
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Flipping the sentence has made it clear …  Thank you ! 

Default Answered on February 4, 2013.
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