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Sentence Correction: Tenses - Past Simple and Progressive

In 1997, the Asian Financial Crisis has begun and analysts were unsure as to whether it would continue into the next millennium.

This answer choice is grammatically incorrect. In 1997 is a specific point in time and indicates that this sentence should be in the Past Simple. However, this answer choice uses the Present Perfect (has begun).

Although this answer choice corrects the original Tenses error by using the Past Simple (began), in the GMAT, the word if is used in Conditionals only; if one thing, ...then something else. Since in this question there is no condition, if should  be replaced by whether.

Whether is used as a choice between two possibilities dealing with the same subject or as a yes/no question.

Example: I do not know whether this will work. (yes or no)

He was not sure whether he wanted banana or chocolate cake. (a choice between 2 possibilities)

Although this answer choice corrects the original Tenses error by using the Past Simple (began), in the GMAT, the addition of the phrase or not at any point after the word whether is considered redundant.

Although this answer choice corrects the original Tenses error by using the Past Simple (began), it is not the most concise of the answer choices.

Good choice!

In 1997
is a specific point in time and indicates that this sentence should be in the Past Simple. This answer choice corrects the original Tenses error by using the Past Simple (began).

has begun and analysts were unsure as to whether it would continue into the next millennium
began and analysts were unsure if it would continue into the next millennium
began and analysts were not entirely sure as to whether it would continue into the next millennium
began and analysts were unsure whether it would continue into the next millennium
began and analysts were unsure whether it would continue into the next millenium or not