English

A gale-force solar storm that hit the Earth on March 13, 1989, sent electrons arcing across power lines, railroad tracks, and expanses of iron-bearing rock in eastern Canada, where alarmed engineers tried but failed to keep the Hydro-Quebec power grid operating.

(A) tried but failed to keep
(B) tried but failed in their keeping
(C) had tried but were failing in keeping
(D) were trying but having failed to keep
(E) were trying but they had failed in keeping
  1. Correct Answer: A

    Explanation:

    Skill: Managing word choice and grammatical relationships between words

    Explanation for Correct Answer A :

    Choice (A) is correct. Its simple past tense verbs (“tried,” “failed”) are consistent with the tense of the rest of the sentence.

    Explanation for Incorrect Answer B :

    Choice (B) involves improper phrasing. Nothing in the sentence requires the use of the noun phrase “their keeping” instead of the infinitive verb “to keep.”

    Explanation for Incorrect Answer C :

    Choice (C) involves improper verb tense. Nothing in the sentence calls for the use of the past perfect verb tense (“had tried”) or for a shift from past perfect to past progressive tense (“were failing”).

    Explanation for Incorrect Answer D :

    Choice (D) involves improper verb tense. Nothing in the sentence calls for the use of the past progressive tense (“were trying”) or a shift from past progressive to present perfect tense (“having failed”).

    Explanation for Incorrect Answer E :

    Choice (E) involves improper coordination. Two independent clauses (“A gale-force solar storm…were trying” and “they had failed…grid operating”) are connected by only a conjunction (“but”), without a comma preceding it to signal a new independent clause.

Test ID: 1417
Source: SAT Practice Test