'when/ as/ till' they knew it was hopeless

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Senior Member
They kept trying ____ they knew it was hopeless.
A when B unless C as D till

The given answer is A.
I think D works. Maybe so does C.
Am I right, teachers?
Thanks a lot.
  • AlabamaBoy

    Senior Member
    American English
    "till" is informal and is not used much in writing. So I would not choose it if a better choice existed. Otherwise, it would make sense to me. Now if D were "until" I would probably pick it.

    "as" meaning "since" doesn't make sense here, because knowing that it is hopelessis not a reason to keep trying.
    A gives a different meaning from D (and you should use "until," as AlabamaBoy says).

    They kept trying until they knew it was hopeless = They kept trying as long their efforts might work. Once they knew the efforts were useless, they stopped.

    They kept trying when they knew it was hopeless = They realized that their efforts would have no effect, but they kept trying anyway.

    These are very different meanings, and the choice would have to depend on the context.
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