grammatical error [verb forms]

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Senior Member
Japanese and Japan
Correct one grammatical error in the sentence, below, out of the three choices from (1) to (3) in Italics.

One good learner, (1)
interviewed in a survey of good language learners (2)taken in New York, claimed to (3)learn his English from watching television.
(p. 10 of “Random Training Exercises” (Oubunnsha, Tokyo, 2014))

The given answer is:
(3) “learn”should have been “have learned”.

But I think the right answer is:

(2) “taken” should have been something like “done,” for example.

What do you think?
  • Broca

    Senior Member
    I think it's impossible that he claimed (in the past) something that he does in the present. It has to be "he claimed to have learned".
    Taken is correct.


    Senior Member
    You can use "to take a survey" as well as "to conduct/do/make a survey."
    Just "to learn" suggests the time the person "learned English" is the same time as the time the person "claimed."
    I think it's OK, if it was the person's custom to learn English from watching television.


    Senior Member
    Japanese and Japan
    Thank you, Broca and wind-sky-wind.

    I understand "take" a survey might be acceptable, but several collocation dictionaries that I consulted had no "take" a survey example sentences.

    Concerning (3), I think the same as wind-sky-wind does.

    I would like more suggestions from more people, please.
    Last edited:


    Sixties Mod
    English UK Southern Standard English
    As far as (3) goes, it's the tense combination which is strange.

    We don't of course know just from this sentence what the survey question actually asked. But "He claimed to have learned his English from watching television" corresponds to a question which asked: "Where did you learn to speak English"

    If the question had asked "Where are you learning to speak English?" or the respondent wanted to indicate that he was still learning, then a more natural statement would be "He claimed to be learning his English from watching television".

    But I'm afraid I don't think the plain infinitive "He claimed to learn his English from watching television" works in that sentence.
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