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Sentence Correction: Subject Verb Agreement - X of Y Subject

As early as 1831, soldiers of fortune were enlisted in the Foreign Legion to assist France in the expansion of its colonies and in guarding its borders, forming an elite unit comprised mainly of foreigners.

Incorrect.

Although this answer choice is grammatically correct, it is incorrect for two reasons: firstly, it changes the original meaning; secondly, it is illogical. The word Since tells us the enlisting was a continuous process whereas this answer choice states there was only one soldier of fortune enlisted.

This answer choice, though grammatically correct, changes the meaning of the sentence as a result of splitting the term soldiers of fortune. Soldiers of fortune are mercenaries, and this is not embodied in the term soldiers used in this answer choice. Likewise, Fortunately expresses a different meaning from the one expressed by the word fortune in the original sentence.

Incorrect.

This answer choice is grammatically incorrect. The Foreign Legion's soldiers of fortune is an X of Y subject. In such cases, the verb should agree with X (soldiers), which is plural. However, the verb was is singular.

[[snippet]]

Incorrect.

Although grammatically correct, this answer choice does not fit into the original sentence. One does not enlist in a country, in this case France; one might enlist in an army or in a group of activists.

In addition, the corrected sentence changes the meaning of the original sentence by describing the soldiers of fortune as already belonging to the Foreign Legion, whereas the original sentence describes the process of their becoming part of the Legion.

Excellent!

This answer choice correctly matches the plural verb were with the plural subject soldiers of fortune.

[[snippet]]
As early as 1831, soldiers of fortune were enlisted in the Foreign Legion to assist
Since 1831, a soldier of fortune was enlisted in the Foreign Legion to assist
Fortunately, soldiers were enlisted in the Foreign Legion as early as 1831 to assist
As early as 1831, the Foreign Legion's soldiers of fortune was assisting
As early as 1831, the Foreign Legion's soldiers of fortune were enlisted in