I am practicing an exercise for conditional adverbial clause, there is a hard exercise that makes me confused with all these four options.

The official soon realized that, ( ), things would get worse.

A. unless dealt with properly

B. if not properly dealing with it

C. unless properly dealt with

D. if dealt not properly with

My question is why C is correct, and there is only a difference of the order of the adverb 'properly' between A and C , as does not matter I think. But why not opt the other except B?

In addition I have known why B is incorrect because the subject of this clause is not 'the official' but 'things'.

  • 1
    Are you sure this is not a question with more than one correct answer? Could you double-check the instructions please?
    – PPH
    May 8, 2022 at 8:26
  • @PPH Yea, my teacher said that is the only answer, I'm also confused with these now. May 8, 2022 at 8:42
  • Version A (the "correct" one) features "deletion" of "predictably repeated" subject & verb: ...things would get worse, unless [things were] dealt with properly. May 8, 2022 at 11:33

2 Answers 2


Both A and C are correct and I don't think one is preferable to the other. C seems to be more common though.

Comparing the number of Google search results:
"unless dealt with properly": 749
"unless properly dealt with": 2020

Comparing the number of Google Books search results:
"unless dealt with properly": 8 pages
"unless properly dealt with": 17 pages

And see this Ngram:

enter image description here


B is wrong due to the continous tense of "dealing", while the question poses a past tense form - "realized" "would"

A and C should be fine, but C may be slightly better and is used more often.

E.g. of "properly dealt with" being used in this website

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