Thanks for all the responses, and a special congrats to our winner, Umesh! 🙂 Here’s the answer to yesterday’s challenge problem:
The president’s latest television news conferences indicate that the aggression may, or already has, begun in the disputed territory.
c. either may or already has begun there
d. may begin in the disputed territory or already has
e. may begin in the disputed territory or already did
(B) is the credited response.
A key issue here is parallel structure.
Compound verbs in different tenses do not always share the same participle. In this sentence, “may” takes the present participle “begin,” not the past participle “begun.”
(C) is incorrect.
(C) preserves the faulty verb structure and introduces a new error. “There” has no referent when “territory” is removed from the sentence.
(D) and (E) are incorrect.
(D) supplies the necessary “may begin” only to drop the past participle “begun.” Both (D) and (E) lose clarity by interrupting the verb sequence with the prepositional phrase “in that territory.”
Although (E) is not grammatically incorrect, it is not as effective as alternative (B), the best answer.