Today I had my English finals, 12th grade high-school. I live in a third-world country, and so the quality of the questions/answers is not always guaranteed. One of the questions was:

Which of the following is formal speech?
A. [something which was obviously wrong]
B. [Another obviously wrong option]
C. It is said he has a map
D. It is hoped that the corona virus would disappear soon

I chose "C". However, just now our Ministry of Education has published the correct answer key on their social media account, and there, option "D" is said to be the correct one. Now, I think this option is wrong because "would" shouldn't be used here; it should be "will", which would make option "D" look exactly like this: "It is hoped that the corona virus will disappear soon"

Please help me. If option D is incorrect, then what I need to do is to get some evidence and backing that it is the case after all, and I plan on contacting both the Ministry as well as the Minister himself (these technical mistakes happen a lot, and in many cases they will just give everyone the 2 marks that the correct option is supposed to provide).

  • I agree with your conclusion. Since I don't have any evidence at hand, I'll just say it in a comment. If D were "It WAS hoped that the virus would disappear soon.", the tenses would match. As it is, "is hoped" and "will disappear" are a better match. Commented Jul 28, 2020 at 12:29
  • I completely agree. If it was "was....would disappear soon". Could you or someone please add an answer to this question, so that I can at least show it to an influential teacher? An answer, by virtue of this website's design, will make a better case for me.
    – doubleOrt
    Commented Jul 28, 2020 at 12:35
  • Your stackexchange profile says "Juneau, AK, United States" It might need updating. By the way, Minsters normally have very little to do with preparing tests for school students. I don't think the Minister is going to be very interested.
    – James K
    Commented Jul 28, 2020 at 23:19
  • @JamesK unfortunately I do not live in Juneau Alaska. I know that ministers have nothing to do with preparing tests, but where I live it's a bit different. The tests for 12th graders are seen as very very important, and so the minister does watch them very closely, and often when the teachers of a certain subject form consensus and claim that a question is wrong, the minister intervenes. Plus, the ministry is I imagine a bit more authoritarian, what the minister wishes, the minister commands.
    – doubleOrt
    Commented Jul 29, 2020 at 4:03

2 Answers 2


I think it's the "that" as a subordinating conjunction, and not the tense at all

D has a "that" which subordinates the dependent clause about hope. C does not have one to subordinates the clause about the map, which makes it less formally correct.

  • I agree with what you say about formality. I still think there's a problem with D, though, as I point out in my answer. Commented Jul 28, 2020 at 16:07

If answer D were
It WAS hoped that the virus would disappear soon."
then the tenses would match.
Since "is hoped" is a present tense expression about a possible future event, it should be used with "will disappear".

The words "would disappear" could be used if there were a conditional in the sentence:
I think [that] the virus would disappear if people used masks.
But there is no conditional in the given sentence.

I also agree with the other answer in respect of formality. According to this book
Google Books Student's Intro to Grammar subordinators
"Elsewhere, that is in general optional, as we see in [iii] . It is more likely to be omitted in informal than in formal style,"

To be quite formal, answer C should be
It is said that he has a map.

So, I think they've given you a bad set of choices in the exam.

  • I also agree that c would look more formal if it had a "that", but that still wouldn't make "d" the correct answer though :/ fruatrating.
    – doubleOrt
    Commented Jul 28, 2020 at 16:21

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