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Sentence Correction: Tenses - Reported Speech

A spokesperson for NASA announced that scientists were unsure whether the information that was gathered during the recent exploration venture was collected in a completely accurate manner that would assist them to further understand the atmosphere of Mars.

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. Look for a more concise answer choice.

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

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), all the following conjugated verbs should also be in the Past. However, are 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

Terrific!

This answer choice correctly uses the Past tense after the appearance of a Past Tense reporting verb (announced). It also follows the rules for the use of the word whether.

were unsure whether the information that was gathered during the recent exploration venture was collected in a completely accurate manner that would
were unsure if the information that was gathered during the recent exploration venture was collected in a completely accurate manner that would
were unsure whether the information that was gathered during the recent exploration venture was collected in a completely accurate manner that will
are unsure whether the information that was gathered during the recent exploration venture was collected in a completely accurate manner that would
were unsure whether or not the information that was gathered during the recent exploration venture was collected in a completely accurate manner that would