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Sentence Correction: Tenses - Reported Speech

In a press conference last year, an ecologist announced that successful conservation depended mainly on whether the public was prepared to make an effort.

In the GMAT, If is used in Conditionals only. If you see if in a sentence and there's no condition, you should replace if with whether.

Think of whether 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)

In the GMAT, the addition of the phrase or not at any point after the word whether is considered redundant.

This answer choice is grammatically incorrect. In Reported Speech, when the reporting verb is in the Past tense (announced), the following conjugated verbs should also be in the Past. However, depends and is are in the Present.

What helps us identify this question as a Reported Speech question as well as identify the mistake is the following Stop Sign:

Reported Speech with a reporting verb in Past tense

This answer choice is grammatically incorrect. In Reported Speech, when the reporting verb is in the Past tense (announced), the following conjugated verbs should also be in the Past. However, will depend is in the Future while is is in the Present.

What helps us identify this question as a Reported Speech question as well as identify the mistake is the following Stop Sign:

Reported Speech with a reporting verb in Past tense

Very good work!

In Reported Speech, when the reporting verb is in the Past tense (announced), the following conjugated verbs should also be in the Past. The original sentence correctly follows this rule with the verbs depended and was.

depended mainly on whether the public was prepared to make an effort
depends mainly on whether the public is prepared to make an effort
will depend mainly on whether the public is prepared to make an effort
mainly depended on if the public was prepared to make an effort
depended mainly on whether the public was prepared to make an effort or not