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# Digging in sediments in northern China, evidence has been gathered by

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27 Nov 2013, 03:50
1
ChrisLele wrote:
With this question we can quickly home in on the 2:3 split. Notice the participial phrase beginning 'digging...'. The word that comes directly after the comma must describe who is doing the digging. Clearly it is the archaeologists, not the evidence, that is digging. Thus we can eliminate (A), (B).

Both (D) and (E) are filled with unnecessary verbiage. (D) 'than that which..' and (E) '...than that.' We simply need a phrase that modifies 'emerge.' 'That' is used to describe comparisons between nouns. 'That' is a pronoun that is used to refers to a noun. Therefore (C) is best: 'emerged...than previously thought.'

I am not clear why "that which" in d and e is wrong. let me try

"that in d and e is a kind of emergence." the emergence which is previously thought " has not clear meaning. that is why d and e is wrong.

another reason is that "that" used as pronoun normally needs parallel pattern. though we see "that" in non parallel patterns in oas in some sc problems, this usage is not prefered.

please, comment on the erors in d and e.
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05 Dec 2013, 11:01
bagdbmba wrote:
So what I understand from your reply is 'which' can even refer to something else (NOT noun) before it. And in that case it doesn't need to be preceded by a 'comma'. Please correct me if I'm wrong.

'Which' can only refer to nouns. However, if it has a preposition before it (in phrases such as 'in which'), it should not have a comma before it.

bagdbmba wrote:
In comparison we mostly use 'that' as to indicate the noun replacement - as a pronoun in the second clause I think.
Let's consider this sentence : Temperature in Egypt is much higher than that in Moscow. ----> here 'that' represents 'Temperature' and is a pronoun. Right?

Yes, that is correct. 'That' is a pronoun that refers to 'temperature' in this sentence.

bagdbmba wrote:
And 'that' in option E refers to the emergence of complex life-forms I think and it's not verb. And that's what the scientists had previously thought of...Right? Please clarify.

Yes, 'that' in option E is a pronoun that refers to 'emergence', a meaning that is illogical in the context of this sentence.
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05 Dec 2013, 23:06
Hi egmat,
Thanks for the reply. Got you on other parts.
egmat wrote:
bagdbmba wrote:
And 'that' in option E refers to the emergence of complex life-forms I think and it's not verb. And that's what the scientists had previously thought of...Right? Please clarify.

Yes, 'that' in option E is a pronoun that refers to 'emergence', a meaning that is illogical in the context of this sentence.

But can you please let me know why do you say this as highlighted above ? Please share your analysis.

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09 Dec 2013, 07:39
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11 Dec 2013, 11:31
bagdbmba wrote:
egmat wrote:
Thanks, bagdbmba, for posting your query here as suggested. Also, thanks to Mike for the very comprehensive response!

bagdbmba: to put it simply, when 'which' refers to the noun before it, there should be a comma between 'which' and the noun. Secondly, 'that' is incorrect in option E since it is functioning as a pronoun in this option, whereas the part after 'than' should actually refer to what the scientists had previously thought.

I hope this helps with your doubt!

Regards,
Meghna

So what I understand from your reply is 'which' can even refer to something else (NOT noun) before it. And in that case it doesn't need to be preceded by a 'comma'. Please correct me if I'm wrong.

In comparison we mostly use 'that' as to indicate the noun replacement - as a pronoun in the second clause I think.
Let's consider this sentence : Temperature in Egypt is much higher than that in Moscow. ----> here 'that' represents 'Temperature' and is a pronoun. Right?

And 'that' in option E refers to the emergence of complex life-forms I think and it's not verb. And that's what the scientists had previously thought of...Right? Please clarify.

Yes, 'that' in option E is is incorrect since it should refer to what scientists had previously thought.

Regarding 'which', it should only refer to nouns. But there are cases where it is used in phrases such as "in which" or "for which", where there should not be a comma before it.

Regards,
Meghna
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29 Mar 2014, 20:54
ChrisLele wrote:
With this question we can quickly home in on the 2:3 split. Notice the participial phrase beginning 'digging...'. The word that comes directly after the comma must describe who is doing the digging. Clearly it is the archaeologists, not the evidence, that is digging. Thus we can eliminate (A), (B).

Both (D) and (E) are filled with unnecessary verbiage. (D) 'than that which..' and (E) '...than that.' We simply need a phrase that modifies 'emerge.' 'That' is used to describe comparisons between nouns. 'That' is a pronoun that is used to refers to a noun. Therefore (C) is best: 'emerged...than previously thought.'

E is wrong only because it is wordier than C and maybe a bit awkward too. I couldnt find any grammatical error E since "that" is correctly referring to "the emergence of complex life-forms".
Am I right in my thought process? many thanks.
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31 Mar 2014, 09:45
divineacclivity wrote:
ChrisLele wrote:
With this question we can quickly home in on the 2:3 split. Notice the participial phrase beginning 'digging...'. The word that comes directly after the comma must describe who is doing the digging. Clearly it is the archaeologists, not the evidence, that is digging. Thus we can eliminate (A), (B).

Both (D) and (E) are filled with unnecessary verbiage. (D) 'than that which..' and (E) '...than that.' We simply need a phrase that modifies 'emerge.' 'That' is used to describe comparisons between nouns. 'That' is a pronoun that is used to refers to a noun. Therefore (C) is best: 'emerged...than previously thought.'

E is wrong only because it is wordier than C and maybe a bit awkward too. I couldn't find any grammatical error E since "that" is correctly referring to "the emergence of complex life-forms".
Am I right in my thought process? many thanks.

Dear divineacclivity,
I'm Chris' friend and colleague, and I am happy to respond.

The brilliant thing about this official question is that there are almost no grammatical mistakes. Choice (A) certainly questionable with the odd verb tense, but the other four answer choices are free of grammatical errors. Naive GMAT takers thing the GMAT SC is simply about grammar. It's not. Grammar is only one of many things tested on the GMAT SC. This particular question is testing one of the most tested areas, something called Rhetorical Construction. For a description of this, see:
http://magoosh.com/gmat/2013/rhetorical ... orrection/
Logic and Rhetorical Construction are each as important as, if not more important than, grammar on the GMAT SC.

So, yes, choice (E) is 100% grammatically correct and rhetorically, it is an absolute trainwreck. It is far too wordy, and using "emergence" rather than the verb form, "emerge", makes it indirect and awkward.

Does all this make sense?
Mike
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05 May 2014, 19:30
Hi,

Can someone help me clarify why A/B are wrong b/c of the word "evidence" right after the comma and not "scientists"? Since Digging is a verb modifier, it doesn't need to touch anything it modifies, so theoretically, can't it modify "scientists" in A/B?
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06 May 2014, 12:47
russ9 wrote:
Hi,
Can someone help me clarify why A/B are wrong b/c of the word "evidence" right after the comma and not "scientists"? Since Digging is a verb modifier, it doesn't need to touch anything it modifies, so theoretically, can't it modify "scientists" in A/B?

Dear russ9
I'm happy to help.

Here's the question again:
Digging in sediments in northern China, evidence has been gathered by scientists suggesting that complex life-forms emerged much earlier than they had previously thought.
(A) evidence has been gathered by scientists suggesting that complex life-forms emerged much earlier than they had
(B) evidence gathered by scientists suggests a much earlier emergence of complex life-forms than had been
(C) scientists have gathered evidence suggesting that complex life-forms emerged much earlier than
(D) scientists have gathered evidence that suggests a much earlier emergence of complex life-forms than that which was
(E) scientists have gathered evidence which suggests a much earlier emergence of complex life-forms than that

The participial phrase "digging in sediments in northern China" is, here, a noun modifier. It's true, participles and participial phrases can modifier either a noun, or a verb, or an entire clause. It's very subtle to interpret which a given participle modifies. Here, "digging" is a very concrete action. If the participle denotes a concrete action, and the action is clearly attributable to a particular noun in the sentence, then the participle is a noun modifier. Here, the "digging" had to be done by the "scientists," without a doubt. Therefore, the phrase is a noun modifier modifier "scientists" and therefore needs to touch that word. That's precisely why (A) & (B) make the misplaced modifier mistake. See:
http://magoosh.com/gmat/2013/modifiers- ... orrection/

Participle modifiers are not easy. You have to ask yourself: is this a concrete action performed by someone in the sentence? Then that's a noun-modifier. Participial phrases modify verbs and clauses when they explain a further consequence of some action, or something caused not by the subject but by the action of the independent clause.
Stocks felt sharply yesterday, sending the bond market into a panic.
What "[sent] the bond market into a panic"? Not the noun "stocks" but the entire action, the fact that stocks fell.
The governor signed the new crime bill, sending a strong message to his harshest critics.
The concrete action is the one in the main clauses, "signing." The participle communicated a less concrete, more far-reaching effect of the action in the main clause.

Does all this make sense?
Mike
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29 Oct 2014, 04:57
I have some thoughts about the correct sentece. If I am wrong, please correct me.

I remember a worng example in the MGMAT GUIDE: I see the man clenning the steps yeasterday. since the "cleaning" and "see" don't happen at the same time, it is wrong.

In the correct sentence: Digging in sediments in northern China, scientists have gathered evidence suggesting that complex life-formsemerged much earlier than previously thought.
In my views, "suggesting" and “gathered" also do not happened at the same time, but "suggest" is diffrent from the verb "clean" which happens instantly. "Suggest" is a constant action which happens all the time. Thus, that's why "suggesting" is correct here. Am I right?
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16 Feb 2015, 06:15
Hi, is it right to use past perfect in choice A&B?
I think it's better to use past tense since there is "previously" in this sentence, am I right?
If not, please correct me. Thanks!
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17 Feb 2015, 10:08
Ptting wrote:
Hi, is it right to use past perfect in choice A&B?
I think it's better to use past tense since there is "previously" in this sentence, am I right?
If not, please correct me. Thanks!

Dear Ptting,
I'm happy to respond.

Here's a blog on the perfect tenses:
https://magoosh.com/gmat/2012/gmat-verb ... ct-tenses/

In (A) & (B), the sentence would end " . . . much earlier than they had previously thought." Yes, using the past perfect with "previously" is a wee bit redundant, a wee bit awkward. Here's the important thing to understand, though: it's not deal-breaker wrong. In other words, sometimes, the OA on an official SC question is a bit awkward, a bit less than ideal --- it's just better than all the other answers. This kind of small picayune mistake could be part of an OA on the GMAT. It's not trainwreck wrong. It's less than ideal, but in a pinch, could be passable.

All of mathematics has that very clear right vs. wrong distinction. Grammar has that on a few things, such as SVA, but for the most part, it is a lot of shades of gray. Using "previously" with the past perfect is not pure white, but it's not jet black either: it's light gray.

Does all this make sense?
Mike
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19 Jan 2016, 14:37
Hi mikemcgarry / daagh / chetan2u,

If we have options like-

(C) scientists have gathered evidence suggesting that complex life-forms emerged much earlier than
(D) scientists have gathered evidence that suggests complex life-forms emerged much earlier than

Is there any difference between two OR both are exactly same..??

Thanks and Regrds
Prakhar
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20 Jan 2016, 01:56
mikemcgarry wrote:
RAHKARP27071989 wrote:
If we have options like-

(C) scientists have gathered evidence suggesting that complex life-forms emerged much earlier than
(D) scientists have gathered evidence that suggests complex life-forms emerged much earlier than

Is there any difference between two OR both are exactly same..??

Thanks and Regrds
Prakhar

Dear Prakhar,
I'm happy to respond.

First of all, I will point out a grammar mistake in your question. It's not
If we have options like-
It should be:
If we have options such as-

The GMAT is usually fussy about having a "that" to begin a "that" clause, such as the one beginning with "complex life-forms . . ." The verb "to suggest" is a verb that takes "that"-clauses, and if this verb is followed by a clause, the GMAT usually wants the word "that" to appear.

(C) scientists have gathered evidence suggesting that complex life-forms emerged much earlier than . . . = perfect

(D1) scientists have gathered evidence that suggests complex life-forms emerged much earlier than . . . = missing the "that," probably not acceptable by GMAT standards

(D1) scientists have gathered evidence that suggests that complex life-forms emerged much earlier than . . . = technically correct, but awkward and redundant-sounding, so not ideal.

The best of the three is option (C).

Does all this make sense?
Mike

Hi mikemcgarry,

Thanks alot for such a debrief.
I agree that in the above-mentioned examples, C is best.

But what I am more concerned about is that.

Is NOUN + THAT + VERB = NOUN + VERB-ing OR it depends on context..??
If depends on context, then can you please provide few examples so that I can comprehend this concept at my best.

Thanks and Regards,
Prakhar
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20 Jan 2016, 05:49
Hi mikemcgarry,

I come across question on same concept:

In 1850 Lucretia Mott published her Discourse on Women, arguing in a treatise for
women to have equal political and legal rights
and for changes in the married women’s
property laws.

A. arguing in a treatise for women to have equal political and legal rights
B. arguing in a treatise for equal political and legal rights for women
C. a treatise that advocates women’s equal political and legal rights
D. a treatise advocating women’s equal political and legal rights
E. a treatise that argued for equal political and legal rights for women

OA- E

I agree that we need parallelism after legal rights ( For women and for changes)
But, if we leave this aside..
Is there any difference between C and D..??

Thanks and Regards,
Prakhar
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06 Sep 2016, 07:22
alokspa wrote:
Digging in sediments in northern China, evidence has been gathered by scientists suggesting that complex life-forms emerged much earlier than they had previously thought.

(A) evidence has been gathered by scientists suggesting that complex life-forms emerged much earlier than they had

(B) evidence gathered by scientists suggests a much earlier emergence of complex life-forms than had been

(C) scientists have gathered evidence suggesting that complex life-forms emerged much earlier than

(D) scientists have gathered evidence that suggests a much earlier emergence of complex life-forms than that which was

(E) scientists have gathered evidence which suggests a much earlier emergence of complex life-forms than that

Digging in sediments in northern China,..................must modify something which comes here ( After the comma )

(D) and (E) are verbose , hence correct answer will be (C)

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26 Oct 2016, 03:19
hi experts,
I genuinely want your help to distinct A and C, although I totally got that evidence as the subject of sentence is incorrect,
I am confused for the OE for A and C, because I want to make it clear why "suggesting" in A is ambiguous.
OE for A wrote:
Furthermore, the dependent clause starting with suggesting may be construed with either the evidence or the scientists,

C, which is correct, use "suggesting" as well,
why suggesting in C is correct , while suggesting in A is ambiguous.

one more question,
OE for D wrote:
D In this context it would be preferable to use a verb (emerged),

my understand is that suggest introduce a THAT clause include action and doer, or introduce a noun/noun phrase that won't include both doer and action,
am I right?

have a nice day
>_~
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26 Oct 2016, 10:11
zoezhuyan wrote:
hi experts,
I genuinely want your help to distinct A and C, although I totally got that evidence as the subject of sentence is incorrect,
I am confused for the OE for A and C, because I want to make it clear why "suggesting" in A is ambiguous.

OE for A: Furthermore, the dependent clause starting with suggesting may be construed with either the evidence or the scientists,

C, which is correct, use "suggesting" as well,
why suggesting in C is correct , while suggesting in A is ambiguous.

one more question,
OE for D: D In this context it would be preferable to use a verb (emerged),
my understand is that suggest introduce a THAT clause include action and doer, or introduce a noun/noun phrase that won't include both doer and action,
am I right?

have a nice day
>_~

Dear zoezhuyan,
I'm happy to respond, my friend.

If I may make a suggestion: please don't use the quote function for ordinary quotes from books or from the problem. The quote function is typically used, as above, to indicate the quote of another speaker on GMAT Club. Using it for each quote from a book makes your post chunkier and harder to follow. See how I used colors and quote marks in what I quoted above.

The problem with (A) is NOT the word "suggesting." The problem is the misplaced modifier. Consider (A) in the context of the whole underlined sentence:
Digging in sediments in northern China, evidence has been gathered by scientists . . .
Who was "digging in sediments in northern China"? That's a noun-modifier, and according to the Modifier Touch Rule, it should be touching the noun that it modifies. Well, we know that "evidence" was NOT doing the "digging." This is a classic misplaced modifier mistake. It's tricky because we can't look at the underlined part alone and figure this out: we have to look at how the choice "plugs in" to the sentence around it. Choice (A) is a train wreck when read with the non-underlined part that precedes it.

That's the problem with (A). Also, (A) has a weird passive construction that comes across as lily-livered. It has multiple problems. Nevertheless, the word "suggesting" in (A) is 100% perfectly fine, as it is in (C).

Now, let's talk about (D). (D) is 100% grammatically correct. In terms of grammar, it is completely flawless. Despite this, it is an abysmally wrong answer choice. It passes in terms of grammar but it spectacularly fails in terms of rhetoric. You are 100% right: grammatically, the word "suggest" can be followed by a "that" clause or by a noun. That's correct but besides the point.

Consider (C) & (D) side by side:
(C) scientists have gathered evidence suggesting that complex life-forms emerged much earlier than
(D) scientists have gathered evidence that suggests a much earlier emergence of complex life-forms than that which was
These two have the same meaning, and both are 100% grammatically correct. Version (C) is like a lean Olympic athletic, sleek, efficient, direct, powerful. By contrast, (D) is the longest answer--rarely is the longest answer the correct one! Here, (D) is bloated, weak, indirect, flabby---it seems to be trying to win a contest for saying what it has to say in the most words possible. Any answer choice trying to win that contest is automatically wrong on the GMAT.

I realize it can be hard for a non-native speaker to sense the rhetorical construction. One important clue is when a single word switches between noun vs. verb among the answer choices. As a very general guideline, we usually get a more powerful and more direct sentence when use the verb form, the action form, rather than a noun.
"...suggesting that complex life-forms emerged..." = That's an action! That's direct & powerful!
"...that suggests a much earlier emergence of ..." = Yawn! Boring!

My friend, here's what I'll say. Look at advertising slogans. The grammar is often atrocious, but ads are packed with direct and powerful language, including lots of commands. Play a game with these: try restating the slogans using nouns rather than verbs and using more indirect language.
Original: Our product changes people's lives!
Changed: A change in peoples lives takes place because of our product.
The business that had the second version as its advertising slogan would go out of business very quickly! Have fun changing advertising slogans, making them as indirect and weak as possible. Once you appreciate the pattern of changing direct language to indirect language, it will give you more appreciate for how the test writer changes the direct language of an OA, such as (C), and creates an obviously wrong answer, such as (D).

Does all this make sense?

Have a good day, my friend!
Mike
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26 Oct 2016, 23:37
mikemcgarry wrote:
If I may make a suggestion: please don't use the quote function for ordinary quotes from books or from the problem. The quote function is typically used, as above, to indicate the quote of another speaker on GMAT Club. Using it for each quote from a book makes your post chunkier and harder to follow. See how I used colors and quote marks in what I quoted above.

thanks Mike,
I will pay attention

mikemcgarry wrote:
Nevertheless, the word "suggesting" in (A) is 100% perfectly fine, as it is in (C).
Now, let's talk about (D). (D) is 100% grammatically correct.

I am reviewing the OG16SC again,

I figured out that it will save time if I can break the effective approach or catch the test points
different approach costs different time.

I focus more on OE this time, because OE mentions the test points of each SC,
unfortunately, I realized that OE confused me, and I would suspect whether I missed something or misunderstand something.
such as "suggesting" in this case, I review it correct while OE says it is ambiguous.

I feel better after getting your explanation
thanks again Mike.

I genuinely want your suggestion of my focus on OE

mikemcgarry wrote:

I realize it can be hard for a non-native speaker to sense the rhetorical construction.
Mike

Yes, not easy for me
what I get now is if no ambiguous, more concise , more better.
sometimes, ambiguous is not easy either.
I always fail the ambiguity such as
plants are efficient at acquiring carbon than fungi. (incorrect SC of OG16, #41)

it is common, but.. I always realize afterwards. I hope I could catch the ambiguity at first glance.

have a nice day
>_~
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27 Oct 2016, 15:17
zoezhuyan wrote:

I am reviewing the OG16SC again,

I figured out that it will save time if I can break the effective approach or catch the test points
different approach costs different time.

I focus more on OE this time, because OE mentions the test points of each SC,
unfortunately, I realized that OE confused me, and I would suspect whether I missed something or misunderstand something.
such as "suggesting" in this case, I review it correct while OE says it is ambiguous.

I feel better after getting your explanation
thanks again Mike.

I genuinely want your suggestion of my focus on OE

mikemcgarry wrote:

I realize it can be hard for a non-native speaker to sense the rhetorical construction.
Mike

Yes, not easy for me
what I get now is if no ambiguous, more concise , more better.
sometimes, ambiguous is not easy either.
I always fail the ambiguity such as
plants are efficient at acquiring carbon than fungi. (incorrect SC of OG16, #41)

it is common, but.. I always realize afterwards. I hope I could catch the ambiguity at first glance.

have a nice day
>_~

Dear zoezhuyan,
I'm happy to respond, my friend.

Keep in mind that, in the GMAT, there's a BIG difference between the quality of the questions and the quality of the explanations. The questions are among the finest standardized test questions on the planet. These questions are released questions from the real GMAT: each one had to have a mountain of data behind it to get onto the test, and then it acquired another mountain of data while it was on the GMAT. These are some of the best measured, best documented questions ever created. By contrast, the explanations were written only when the OG was prepared, probably by some starving grad student. Maybe it was proofread once or twice, but essentially no statistical quality-control procedure was implemented on the explanations. Some are excellent, some are OK, and some are lacking. They are not consistent at all. I write questions & explanations for a living: some of my very best questions, < 1%, possibly may approach the level of the questions in the OG, but almost every explanation I write is better than the one given in the OG. You see, it's tricky, because it's all in the same book, in the same font: it makes a naive student believe that it's all of the same quality, but it's not.

The moral is: spend time studying the OG questions, but don't expect the OE in the book to be very illuminating. Sometimes it will help, but not always. Instead, come here to GMAT Club. The GC experts such as souvik101990 or sayantanc2k or I can give much better explanations than you find in the OG. Always search for an official question before posting it again, but you definitely will find much better explanations here than you will find in the OG. Later this year, Magoosh will be issuing a "companion to the OG" app that will have solutions to all the OG SC questions.

As for spotting ambiguity, one trick is to recognize the typical patterns. The one you cite (OG16, SC #41) has a very typical pattern, one a call a "subjective comparison" vs. an "objective comparison." Consider the ambiguous sentence:
Mike likes opera more than Chris.
That's ambiguous, because it could be either a "subjective comparison" (i.e. a comparison to the subject of the sentence) or an "objective comparison" (a comparison to the direct object of the sentence).
unambiguous subjective comparison: Mike likes opera more than Chris does.
unambiguous objective comparison: Mike likes opera more than he likes Chris.
In real life, I am quite fond of my friend Chris despite the fact that he doesn't like opera and I do, so the subjective comparison is the true statement.

That's an example of a formulaic ambiguity. Not all ambiguities on the GMAT follow a pattern like this, but some do, and the more patterns you can spot, the quicker you will be.

Does all this make sense?

Have a wonderful day, my friend.
Mike
_________________
Mike McGarry
Magoosh Test Prep

Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire. — William Butler Yeats (1865 – 1939)
Re: Digging in sediments in northern China, evidence has been gathered by   [#permalink] 27 Oct 2016, 15:17

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