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Sentence Correction: Tenses - Past Perfect

It is anticipated that in coming years employers will provide greater incentives than never before for employees to commute to work on public transport as car owners are likely to be spending an average of 20 minutes more per day in traffic than they were in the last decades.

Incorrect.

This answer choice is grammatically incorrect. The correct idiom is greater...than ever before, not greater than never before.

Incorrect.

While this answer choice corrects the idiom mistake in the original question by changing never before to ever before, it is stylistically flawed. The corrected sentence's use of the passive construction will be provided is stylistically inferior than employers will provide.

Incorrect.

This answer choice is grammatically incorrect because of the incorrect use of the Past Perfect tense (had [spent]).

[[snippet]]

By changing the conjugated verb in the second part of the sentence from were to had, this sentence changes the tense of the last verb in the sentence from Past Progressive were [spending] to Past Perfect had [spent]. However, the use of the Past Perfect tense is incorrect here, because it should only be used to describe an action that occurred before another action in the past.

And yes, before you ask, the Past Simple 'did' would have worked here as well, as would any other verb in Past Simple/Progressive - just not Past Perfect.

Incorrect.

This answer choice is grammatically incorrect because of the incorrect use of the Past Perfect tense (had spent).

[[snippet]]

By changing the conjugated verb in the second part of the sentence from were to had spent, this sentence changes the tense of the last verb in the sentence from Past Progressive were [spending] to Past Perfect had spent. However, the use of the Past Perfect tense is incorrect here, because it should only be used to describe an action that occurred before another action in the past.

And yes, before you ask, the Past Simple 'did' would have worked here as well, as would any other verb in Past Simple/Progressive - just not Past Perfect.

Excellent.

This answer choice corrects the non-idiomatic expression than never before to than ever before, and it makes no unnecessary changes to the parallel verbs used to support the logical comparative construction of the original question.

[[snippet]]
in coming years employers will provide greater incentives than never before for employees to commute to work on public transport as car owners are likely to be spending an average of 20 minutes more per day in traffic than they were
greater incentives than ever before will be provided in coming years for employees to commute to work on public transport as car owners are likely to be spending an average of 20 minutes more daily in traffic than they were
employers will provide greater incentives than before in coming years to employees who commute to work on public transport as car owners are likely to be spending an average of 20 minutes more daily in traffic than they had
in coming years employers will provide greater incentives than ever before for employees to commute to work on public transport as car owners are likely to be spending an average of 20 minutes more per day in traffic than they were
in comparison with previous years, in coming years employers will provide greater incentives for employees to commute to work on public transport as car owners are likely to spend an average of 20 minutes more daily in traffic than they had spent