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I have a chart which illustrates the unemployment rates of five different countries in 2005, and I need to write a report about this chart. Which one of the following sentences is the correct one ?

  • Poland was the one of those five countries which had the most colossal amount of youth unemployment.

  • Poland was the one of those five countries which has the most colossal amount of youth unemployment.

I could not decide which one of them is correct, but I think that the first one seems more senseful.

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  • They are both right. They mean different things.
    – Lambie
    Apr 4, 2022 at 19:10
  • I'd stay away from colossal here.
    – Lambie
    Apr 19 at 15:22

1 Answer 1

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The present tense "has" implies that Poland has colossal youth unemployment right now. Since you are quoting numbers from 2005, unless you are also making the point that you know it to be still true even now, you should use the past tense "had".

Another hint at the correct answer here is that when using relative clauses ("which", "that", etc) to restrict or qualify a noun, which you are here (because the clause is specifying which specific countries you're talking about), in general, your past/present/future tense should agree with the main verb of your sentence. In this case, you are saying that "Poland was" (past tense), so you should also be saying the "countries which had" (also past tense).

As a side-note, the use of "those" here suggests that you are referring to some previously mentioned thing. If there was a previous sentence where you were already talking about the five countries with high unemployment, then using "those" might make sense (to make the point that you're talking about the same five countries you were just talking about earlier). However, if there isn't, then it's more natural to just say "the five countries which ..." instead of "those five countries which ...".

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