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# Emily Dickinson's letters to Susan Huntington Dickinson were

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Emily Dickinson's letters to Susan Huntington Dickinson were [#permalink]

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23 Sep 2004, 15:54
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Emily Dickinson’s letters to Susan Huntington Dickinson were written over a period beginning a few years before Susan’s marriage to Emily’s brother and ending shortly before Emily’s death in 1886, outnumbering her letters to anyone else.

(A) Dickinson were written over a period beginning a few years before Susan’s marriage to Emily’s brother and ending shortly before Emily’s death in 1886, outnumbering

(B) Dickinson were written over a period that begins a few years before Susan’s marriage to Emily’s brother and ended shortly before Emily’s death in 1886, outnumber

(C) Dickinson, written over a period beginning a few years before Susan’s marriage to Emily’s brother and that ends shortly before Emily’s death in 1886 and outnumbering

(D) Dickinson, which were written over a period beginning a few years before Susan’s marriage to Emily’s brother, ending shortly before Emily’s death in 1886, and outnumbering

(E) Dickinson, which were written over a period beginning a few years before Susan’s marriage to Emily’s brother and ending shortly before Emily’s death in 1886, outnumber
[Reveal] Spoiler: OA

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Re: Emily Dickinson's letters to Susan Huntington Dickinson were [#permalink]

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11 Nov 2004, 10:36
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twixt wrote:
Actually I was between A & E. Chose E as gerund in A was not so clear while outnumber in E makes sense when you erase all the relative clause.
Anyway what is the killer trick here ?

the kingpin is that, "outnumber" is used as verb in choice "E". the correct sentence is this : BLUE PART

Emily Dickinsonâ€™s letters to Susan Huntington Dickinson, which were written over a period beginning a few years before Susanâ€™s marriage to Emilyâ€™s brother and ending shortly before Emilyâ€™s death in 1886, outnumber her letters to anyone else

no other choice construct grammatically correct sentence.

hope this will help
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Re: Emily Dickinson's letters to Susan Huntington Dickinson were [#permalink]

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10 Mar 2005, 23:08
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A. Dickinson were written over a period beginning a few years before Susanâ€™s marriage to Emilyâ€™s brother and ending shortly before Emilyâ€™s death in 1886, outnumbering
- participle 'ountnumbering' is wrong. It suggests that the letters are still being written.

B. Dickinson were written over a period that begins a few years before Susanâ€™s marriage to Emilyâ€™s brother and ended shortly before Emilyâ€™s death in 1886, outnumber
- 'begins' is the wrong tense here.

C. Dickinson, written over a period beginning a few years before Susanâ€™s marriage to Emilyâ€™s brother and that ends shortly before Emilyâ€™s death in 1886and outnumbering
- 'that ends shortly' is wrong

D. Dickinson, which were written over a period beginning a few years before Susanâ€™s marriage to Emilyâ€™s brother, ending shortly before Emilyâ€™s death in 1886, and outnumbering
- 'outnumbering is out'

E. Dickinson, which were written over a period beginning a few years before Susanâ€™s marriage to Emilyâ€™s brother and ending shortly before Emilyâ€™s death in 1886, outnumber
- This is my chioce. 'which' to introduce the modifier (modify letters), and outnumber to state that the letters are no longer written but they outnumber any other letters she has wrote

E it is.

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Re: Emily Dickinson's letters to Susan Huntington Dickinson were [#permalink]

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10 Mar 2005, 23:25
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nocilis wrote:
I go with A
In E "which" is pointing to the closest noun Susan Huntington Dickinson and that would be wrong!

From the OG itself:

From the bark of the paper birch tree the Menomini crafted a canoe about twenty feet long and two feet wide, with small ribs and rails of cedar, which could carry four persons or eight hundred pounds of baggage yet was so light that a person could easily portage it around impeding rapids.

"which" here obviously doesn't refer to cedar, rather, it refers to "canoe". The noun that the nonrestrictive clause modifies doesn't necessarily need to be immediately proceed the comma. The OG concept is that it cannot refer to a vague idea that is expressed in the entire sentence, and that it must point to a noun (again, not necessarily immediately before the comma). For example, you can't say:
"The earth is not flat, which had puzzled many people in the old days."

Just my two cents.

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Re: Emily Dickinson's letters to Susan Huntington Dickinson were [#permalink]

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11 Mar 2005, 11:10
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Ah ... I know where I made the mistake. I was correct when saying that "which" should point to the closest subject and it does, but wrong in identifying the subject.

"Emily Dickinsonâ€™s letters to Susan Huntington Dickinson, which were ..."

"to Susan Huntington Dickinson" is a prepositional phrase and not the subject. Emily Dickinson's letters is the subject and 'which' is correctly pointing to it.

HongHu, in your sentence from OG,

From the bark of the paper birch tree the Menomini crafted a canoe about twenty feet long and two feet wide, with small ribs and rails of cedar, which could carry four persons or eight hundred pounds of baggage yet was so light that a person could easily portage it around impeding rapids

about twenty feet long and two feet wide is a prepostional phrase and with small ribs and rails of cedar is a parenthetical element/additional info. The subject is "canoe", so 'which' appropriately points to it.

Thanks Honghu for pointing me my error.
A thorough analysis helps me remember.

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Re: Emily Dickinson's letters to Susan Huntington Dickinson were [#permalink]

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09 Mar 2006, 21:44
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E)Dickinson, which were written over a period beginning a few years before Susanâ€™s marriage to Emilyâ€™s brother and ending shortly before Emilyâ€™s death in 1886, outnumber

choose E

--> "which" clealrly refers to the letters
--> parallel - beginning ..ending
--> the part without the nonrestrictive clause makes sense

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Re: Emily Dickinson's letters to Susan Huntington Dickinson were [#permalink]

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06 Oct 2007, 23:17
'A' does show //ism with 'beginning' and 'ending' and it also uses a participle as modifier.

But,

I was wondering about the construction of E:

Emily Dickinson’s letters to Susan Huntington Dickinson........ outnumber her letters to anyone else.
Which letters are being talked about - those ".....which were written over a period beginning a few years before Susan’s marriage to Emily’s brother and ending shortly before Emily’s death in 1886....."

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Re: Emily Dickinson's letters to Susan Huntington Dickinson were [#permalink]

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07 Oct 2007, 07:12
pmenon wrote:
Yeah, I picked E as well ... I still dont see whats wrong with it.
"Which" must refer back to letters ... so I dont see any confusion there.

This is the exact confusion why I posted this question. For the record I picked A.

Here is an example from the OG11 diagnostic test: "As an actress and, more importantly, as a teacher of acting, Stella Adler was one of the most influential artists in the American theater, who trained several generations of actors including Marlon Brando and Robert de Niro. "

OG11 explanation says this sentence is wrong. It says, "The original sentence contains a number of modifiers, but not all of them are correctly expressed. The clause who trained... describes Stella Adler, yet a relative clause such as this must be placed immediately after the noun or pronoun it modifies, and this clause follows theater rather than Adler."

Quote:
D. Dickinson, which were written over a period beginning a few years before Susan’s marriage to Emily’s brother, ending shortly before Emily’s death in 1886, and outnumbering
E. Dickinson, which were written over a period beginning a few years before Susan’s marriage to Emily’s brother and ending shortly before Emily’s death in 1886, outnumber

We all agree that the clause which were written... death in 1886 modifies letters NOT Susan Huntington Dickinson, right? According to the OG11 the relative clause which were written... death in 1886 MUST be placed IMMEDIATELY after letters. This is the reason why I think D and E are wrong. Do you guys agree?

BTW what is exactly wrong with A anyways? A and E are in the same voice whether it is passive or active the difference being A eliminates the erroneous placement of which.

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Re: Emily Dickinson's letters to Susan Huntington Dickinson were [#permalink]

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07 Oct 2007, 09:02
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gluon wrote:
Emily Dickinson’s letters to Susan Huntington Dickinson were written over a period beginning a few years before Susan’s marriage to Emily’s brother and ending shortly before Emily’s death in 1886, outnumbering her letters to anyone else.

A. Emily Dickinson’s letters to Susan HuntingtonDickinson were written over a period beginning a few years before Susan’s marriage to Emily’s brother and ending shortly before Emily’s death in 1886, outnumbering

E. Emily Dickinson’s letters to Susan HuntingtonDickinson, which were written over a period beginning a few years before Susan’s marriage to Emily’s brother and ending shortly before Emily’s death in 1886, outnumber

Quote:
BTW what is exactly wrong with A anyways? A and E are in the same voice whether it is passive or active the difference being A eliminates the erroneous placement of which.

Very interesting discussion going on here and that too on a topic that I confess is very dear to me!

Let's deal with this beast in two parts -

The problem with A is the participle OUTNUMBERING. As written in A, it clearly modifies period which is definitely not right. It must refer to letters.

In E on the other hand, it's quite clear what outnumber is referring to - letters.

However, of course, E seems to have a problem with the placement of which. We all know this fact cold that GMAT doesn't like the placement of which to be fiddled with in any way - and it must without fail appear immediately after the noun it's supposed to displace.

Thus - The Community hall in the townsquare which we all like is already booked for another marriage.

We know that which must refer to the community hall - but here it's appearing immediately after townsquare causing a GENUINE confusion in the reader's mind as to which of the two do WE ALL LIKE? Community Hall or Townsquare?

Compare this with another scenario -

All my requests to George which were to make him aware of his mistakes went unheeded by him.

Here IMO - the object of the preposition TO, George can't be modified by which; hence by logical extension, which modifies requests.

I don't want to contradict what we have all learnt about the usage of which and the restriction that it should be as close as possible to the noun it's intended to modify; all I am saying is, if a prepositional phrase intervenes between the which and the proable subject - so long as which can unambigously refer to the earlier subject and NOT the object of the preposition (as in the case of George above and UNLIKE the case of the townsquare earlier) we are OK.

In our example in this question - the scenario is simlar - it talks about Letters to Dickinson which --- again, the prepositional TO DICKINSON does not affect the relationship between which and Letters. Also, Dickinson can't be qualified by which anyway. You need WHO in the relative clause for an animate object like dickinson.

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Re: Emily Dickinson's letters to Susan Huntington Dickinson were [#permalink]

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07 Oct 2007, 09:42
I got this from an old thread explaining some of the concepts I had touched upon earlier. This explanation is from Hong Hu - one of the old timers - God bless him...a truly terrific personality whom I admire a lot personally.

From the OG itself:

From the bark of the paper birch tree the Menomini crafted a canoe about twenty feet long and two feet wide, with small ribs and rails of cedar, which could carry four persons or eight hundred pounds of baggage yet was so light that a person could easily portage it around impeding rapids.

"which" here obviously doesn't refer to cedar, rather, it refers to "canoe". The noun that the nonrestrictive clause modifies doesn't necessarily need to be immediately proceed the comma. The OG concept is that it cannot refer to a vague idea that is expressed in the entire sentence, and that it must point to a noun (again, not necessarily immediately before the comma). For example, you can't say:
"The earth is not flat, which had puzzled many people in the old days."

Just my two cents.

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Re: Emily Dickinson's letters to Susan Huntington Dickinson were [#permalink]

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07 Oct 2007, 12:05
Very, very good information Dwivedy's. I have always been perplexed by a relative clause not appearing immediately after the noun it modifies. The observation about the prepositional phrase not affecting relative clauses seems right on money.

Here is another example from the OG which seems to solidify this concept:

Despite the increasing number of women graduating from law school and passing bar examinations, the proportion of judges and partners at major law firms who are women has not risen comparably.

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Re: Emily Dickinson's letters to Susan Huntington Dickinson were [#permalink]

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02 Jun 2009, 10:25
IMO E.

Emily Dickinson’s letters to Susan Huntington Dickinson were written over a period beginning a few years
before Susan’s marriage to Emily’s brother and ending shortly before Emily’s death in 1886, outnumbering

her letters to anyone else.

A.Dickinson were written over a period beginning a few years before Susan’s marriage to Emily’s brother and
ending shortly before Emily’s death in 1886, outnumbering
The parallel structure is not correct and therefore " outnumbering " sounds correct , which is not.
B.Dickinson were written over a period that begins a few years before Susan’s marriage to Emily’s brother
and ended shortly before Emily’s death in 1886, outnumber
written over a period that begins ......and ended shortly - not parallel
C.Dickinson, written over a period beginning a few years before Susan’s marriage to Emily’s brother and that
ends shortly before Emily’s death in 1886and outnumbering
written over a period beginning ......and that ends- not parallel
D.Dickinson, which were written over a period beginning a few years before Susan’s marriage to Emily’s
brother, ending shortly before Emily’s death in 1886, and outnumbering
Since "and" is ommitted , "ending shortly before Emily’s death in 1886" modifies "Emily’s
brother" which is absurd

E.Dickinson, which were written over a period beginning a few years before Susan’s marriage to Emily’s
brother and ending shortly before Emily’s death in 1886, outnumber
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Re: Emily Dickinson's letters to Susan Huntington Dickinson were [#permalink]

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11 Jun 2009, 17:23
vaivish1723 wrote:
24. Emily Dickinson's letters to Susan Huntington Dickinson were written over a period beginning a few years before Susan's marriage to Emily's brother and ending shortly before Emily's death in 1886, outnumbering her letters to anyone else.
A. Dickinson were written over a period beginning a few years before Susan's marriage to Emily's brother and ending shortly before Emily's death in 1886, outnumbering
B. Dickinson were written over a period that begins a few years before Susan's marriage to Emily's brother and ended shortly before Emily's death in 1886, outnumber
C. Dickinson, written over a period beginning a few years before Susan's marriage to Emily's brother and that ends shortly before Emily's death in 1886and outnumbering
D. Dickinson, which were written over a period beginning a few years before Susan's marriage to Emily's brother, ending shortly before Emily's death in 1886, and outnumbering
E. Dickinson, which were written over a period beginning a few years before Susan's marriage to Emily's brother and ending shortly before Emily's death in 1886, outnumber

B - "....that begins...." has to be began as it is past tense
C - "...that ends..." has to be ended.
D - "beginning....ending....outnumbering" are all parallel and mentioned in the clause, leaving the main sentence incomplete.

A and E are very close.
I chose E over A because in A, outnumbering is a modifier that needs to modify the subject "letters" and is placed very far from it.

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Re: Emily Dickinson's letters to Susan Huntington Dickinson were [#permalink]

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14 Jun 2009, 04:48
perfectstranger wrote:
trainspotting wrote:
D and E are having pronoun reference error...B and C are having parallelism error...So A is the correct answer...
I totally disagree with E..."which" is having a reference error in E....

I totaly agree which modifies Dickinson so wrong.

I'm assuming you disagree with E, because "which" doesn't refer to "letters" but it refers to "dickinson".

Think about it this way - If the sentence were like this:

Emily Dickinson's letters, which were written over a period beginning a few years before Susan's marriage to Emily's brother and ending shortly before Emily's death in 1886, to Susan Huntington Dickinson outnumber her letters to anyone else.

that would change the meaning of the sentence altogether. In such case, "which" refers to all the letters written by Emily.

I think in answer E, "which" correctly refers to "letters written to dickinson" and not any other letters.

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Re: Emily Dickinson's letters to Susan Huntington Dickinson were [#permalink]

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27 Jun 2010, 04:04
Neochronic wrote:
E has the famous Which problem..

Which doesnt refer to the letters..

I would go with A..becoz when compared to others.. it luks better..

Actually it does.
Which refers to the previous noun, which is Letters to SHD.

Another example:

The car of my brother, which is blue, has only 2 doors.

In the sentence above which refers to the car, not to my brother.

That helped?
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Re: Emily Dickinson's letters to Susan Huntington Dickinson were [#permalink]

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09 Jul 2010, 22:33
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Yes even i chose A because of the 'WHICH' in E though E looked better.

For those of you who are still confused with this question, heres something i gathered from manhattan:

First of all, 'WHICH' refers to previous noun no doubt but in sentences as clear as these, 'which' can in no way refer to Dickinson, who is a person. So it should refer to subject of the first part that is 'letters written'.

"
occasionally, when it is completely unambiguous, "which" can refer to a whole NOUN PHRASE that immediately precedes the comma.
in this case, this noun phrase is "X's letters to Y". (note that this noun phrase, as a unit, does immediately precede the comma.)

also, note the complete lack of grammatical ambiguity: "which" can't refer to dickinson, who is a person, and it's also followed by a plural verb. both of these pieces of evidence point to the noun phrase "X's letters to Y".

--

here's the basic summary:
if you have "X of Y, which..."
then:
* if Y works as the antecedent of "which", then "which" should stand for Y.
* if Y doesn't work as the antecedent, but "X of Y" DOES work, then "which" can stand for "X of Y"....."

Also, use of participle 'outnumbering' is not required here....it's not the period over which the letters were written that outnumber but it is the letters that outnumber letters to anyone else.

"...using a present participle phrase to express the (direct/indirect) result of the preceding clause is not allowed when the preceding clause is in a passive voice...."
--> from manhattan

Verbal is full of exceptions...

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Re: Emily Dickinson's letters to Susan Huntington Dickinson were [#permalink]

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28 Sep 2010, 05:59
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amolsk11 wrote:
Emily Dickinson’s letters to Susan Huntington Dickinson were written over a period beginning a few years
before Susan’s marriage to Emily’s brother and ending shortly before Emily’s death in 1886, outnumbering

her letters to anyone else.

A.Dickinson were written over a period beginning a few years before Susan’s marriage to Emily’s brother and
ending shortly before Emily’s death in 1886, outnumbering

B.Dickinson were written over a period that beginsa few years before Susan’s marriage to Emily’s brother
and ended shortly before Emily’s death in 1886, outnumber

C.Dickinson, written over a period beginning a few years before Susan’s marriage to Emily’s brother and that
ends shortly before Emily’s death in 1886and outnumbering

D.Dickinson, which were written over a period beginning a few years before Susan’s marriage to Emily’s
brother, ending shortly before Emily’s death in 1886, and outnumbering

E.Dickinson, which were written over a period beginning a few years before Susan’s marriage to Emily’s
brother and ending shortly before Emily’s death in 1886, outnumber

I solved it in different manner, I didn't bothered much about "Which". As "outnumbering" doesn't make sense we are left with only B and E option.

In Option B check out the highlighted portion above, the portion which makes this choice wrong. The highlighted portions needs to be in same tense. So we are left with only choice E.

Also, I think this questions is from OGs as this questions seems familiar!
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Re: Emily Dickinson's letters to Susan Huntington Dickinson were [#permalink]

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10 Oct 2010, 22:44
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Nice catch on the "comma which" rule. Just referred to Ron's explanation in the MGMAT forum

Copy+paste of his summary

if you have "X of Y, which..."
then:
* if Y works as the antecedent of "which", then "which" should stand for Y.
* if Y doesn't work as the antecedent, but "X of Y" DOES work, then "which" can stand for "X of Y".

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Re: Emily Dickinson's letters to Susan Huntington Dickinson were [#permalink]

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11 Oct 2010, 07:45
rules of SC are kind of limited, their applications are broad though.
practice makes perfect, guys?
every now and then I get disappointed :/

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Re: Emily Dickinson's letters to Susan Huntington Dickinson were [#permalink]

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11 Oct 2010, 08:39
daagh wrote:
martie11:Why is the concern about writing , which is not a part of
any of the choices.?

Hey daagh,

I'm referring to choices D and E, which begin with "Dickinson, which"...

Conicidentally, even in the line that I wrote above ", which" refers to "D and E"...where as in the correct answer (E), ", which" does not refer to Dickenson, but rather to "letters"...that's what's throwing me off.

I think the point for me is that within the first 10 seconds of reading the question I discounted D and E incorrectly due to the ", which" rule of thumb.

...I'm over analyzing...time to move on. Thanks.
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Re: Emily Dickinson's letters to Susan Huntington Dickinson were   [#permalink] 11 Oct 2010, 08:39

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