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# Studying skeletons unearthed near Rome, DNA evidence was recovered by

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Studying skeletons unearthed near Rome, DNA evidence was recovered by  [#permalink]

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14 Jun 2017, 12:43
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The Official Guide for GMAT Verbal Review 2018
Practice Question
Sentence Correction
Question no. 198

Studying skeletons unearthed near Rome, DNA evidence was recovered by scientists, who were able to deduce from this that an epidemic of malaria struck in the empire’s waning days.

(A) Studying skeletons unearthed near Rome, DNA evidence was recovered by scientists, who were able to deduce from this
(B) In studying skeletons unearthed near Rome, DNA evidence was recovered by scientists, who were able to deduce from this
(C) Scientists recovered DNA evidence from studying skeletons unearthed near Rome, being able to deduce from this
(D) Skeletons unearthed near Rome allowed scientists to recover DNA evidence, and they were able to deduce from it
(E) Scientists studying skeletons unearthed near Rome recovered DNA evidence from which they were able to deduce

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Re: Studying skeletons unearthed near Rome, DNA evidence was recovered by  [#permalink]

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15 Jun 2017, 00:09
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Studying skeletons unearthed near Rome, DNA evidence was recovered by scientists, who were able to deduce from this that an epidemic of malaria struck in the empire’s waning days.

One thing I note that many are just giving a one-letter correct choice, which has been given already by Abdur. However, why the correct choice is correct and others are not is the essence of the forum's focus. Anyway, back to business

A. Studying skeletons unearthed near Rome, DNA evidence was recovered by scientists, who were able to deduce from this -- 1. misplaced modification 2. from this is colloquial

B. In studying skeletons unearthed near Rome, DNA evidence was recovered by scientists, who were able to deduce from this -- misplaced modification and colloquial

C. Scientists recovered DNA evidence from studying skeletons unearthed near Rome, being able to deduce from this --- 1. 'Being able to' is superfluous 2, from this is colloquial.

D. Skeletons unearthed near Rome allowed scientists to recover DNA evidence, and they were able to deduce from it-- Skeletons allowing scientists - is funny and they (the skeletons) were able to deduce is equally weird.

E. Scientists studying skeletons unearthed near Rome recovered DNA evidence from which they were able to deduce -- the correct choice with no modifier or redundancy errors.
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Re: Studying skeletons unearthed near Rome, DNA evidence was recovered by  [#permalink]

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15 Jun 2017, 02:36
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Studying skeletons unearthed near Rome, DNA evidence was recovered by scientists, who were able to deduce from this that an epidemic of malaria struck in the empire’s waning days.

A.Studying skeletons unearthed near Rome, DNA evidence was recovered by scientists, who were able to deduce from this – Modifier issue – DNA evidence did not study
B.In studying skeletons unearthed near Rome, DNA evidence was recovered by scientists, who were able to deduce from this – Modifier issue – DNA evidence did not study
C.Scientists recovered DNA evidence from studying skeletons unearthed near Rome, being able to deduce from this – usage of deduce from this that seems incorrect
D.Skeletons unearthed near Rome allowed scientists to recover DNA evidence, and they were able to deduce from it – Illogical – skeletons were able to deduce
E.Scientists studying skeletons unearthed near Rome recovered DNA evidence from which they were able to deduce - Correct

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Re: Studying skeletons unearthed near Rome, DNA evidence was recovered by  [#permalink]

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15 Jun 2017, 05:30
AbdurRakib wrote:
The Official Guide for GMAT Verbal Review 2018
Practice Question
Sentence Correction
Question no. 198

Studying skeletons unearthed near Rome, DNA evidence was recovered by scientists, who were able to deduce from this that an epidemic of malaria struck in the empire’s waning days.

A. Studying skeletons unearthed near Rome, DNA evidence was recovered by scientists, who were able to deduce from this
B. In studying skeletons unearthed near Rome, DNA evidence was recovered by scientists, who were able to deduce from this
C. Scientists recovered DNA evidence from studying skeletons unearthed near Rome, being able to deduce from this
D. Skeletons unearthed near Rome allowed scientists to recover DNA evidence, and they were able to deduce from it
E. Scientists studying skeletons unearthed near Rome recovered DNA evidence from which they were able to deduce

Error Analysis:
Option A: Modifier error. Who are studying. Is it Scientist or DNA evidence.
Option B: Same as A
Option C: Usage of being is incorrect. The word this is used incorrectly.
Option D: Usage of they is ambiguous. Meaning error. Its the discovery and not the skeletons themselves that allowed scientist to deduce.
Option E: Correct
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Re: Studying skeletons unearthed near Rome, DNA evidence was recovered by  [#permalink]

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26 Aug 2017, 20:40
Studying skeletons unearthed near Rome, DNA evidence was recovered by scientists, who were able to deduce from this that an epidemic of malaria struck in the empire’s waning days.

A. Studying skeletons unearthed near Rome, DNA evidence was recovered by scientists, who were able to deduce from this
B. In studying skeletons unearthed near Rome, DNA evidence was recovered by scientists, who were able to deduce from this
C. Scientists recovered DNA evidence from studying skeletons unearthed near Rome, being able to deduce from this
D. Skeletons unearthed near Rome allowed scientists to recover DNA evidence, and they were able to deduce from it
E. Scientists studying skeletons unearthed near Rome recovered DNA evidence from which they were able to deduce
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Re: Studying skeletons unearthed near Rome, DNA evidence was recovered by  [#permalink]

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28 Aug 2017, 07:24
Hi Experts GMATNinja GMATNinjaTwo

(A) and (B) are clearly out since opening verb-ing modifier should modify scientists and not evidence.

(C) being is not used in passive continuous tense also I feel evidence from is incorrect. It should be evidence by studying ..

(D)they correctly refers to scientists and not skeletons , is the phrase - from it- wordier?

(E) I did not select this since was confused if recovered is verb or modifier? note that there is no helping verb here. Does 'they' can only refer to subject in first independent clause ie scientists?
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Re: Studying skeletons unearthed near Rome, DNA evidence was recovered by  [#permalink]

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28 Aug 2017, 08:17
Studying skeletons unearthed near Rome, DNA evidence was recovered by scientists, who were able to deduce from this that an epidemic of malaria struck in the empire’s waning days.

A. Studying skeletons unearthed near Rome, DNA evidence was recovered by scientists, who were able to deduce from this
--> Meaning error : DNA evidence was not studying skeleton - Incorrect
B. In studying skeletons unearthed near Rome, DNA evidence was recovered by scientists, who were able to deduce from this
--> Meaning error : In some type of skeleton " studying skeleton" , studying used as adjective ...DNA evidence was recovered - Incorrect
C. Scientists recovered DNA evidence from studying skeletons unearthed near Rome, being able to deduce from this
--> studying skeletons : type of skeleton meaning error ; incorrect
D. Skeletons unearthed near Rome allowed scientists to recover DNA evidence, and they were able to deduce from it
--> Skeletons...allowed ; nonsensical : Incorrect
E. Scientists studying skeletons unearthed near Rome recovered DNA evidence from which they were able to deduce
Correct
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Re: Studying skeletons unearthed near Rome, DNA evidence was recovered by  [#permalink]

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28 Aug 2017, 09:49
Hi Experts GMATNinja GMATNinjaTwo

(A) and (B) are clearly out since opening verb-ing modifier should modify scientists and not evidence.

(C) being is not used in passive continuous tense also I feel evidence from is incorrect. It should be evidence by studying ..

(D)they correctly refers to scientists and not skeletons , is the phrase - from it- wordier?

(E) I did not select this since was confused if recovered is verb or modifier? note that there is no helping verb here. Does 'they' can only refer to subject in first independent clause ie scientists?
Option D gives a lot of importance to the noun skeletons, going so far as to make it the subject of the sentence. This means that the they is not very clear. It could refer to skeletons or scientists. For example:

A allowed B to enter the room, and he took the test. Super ambiguous, as the he could refer to either A or B.

Also, the structure of the sentence (with D) is not very good. There is a big difference between setting the sentence up as [the two things that scientists did] and setting the sentence up as [skeletons did one thing, and scientists did the other].

In option E, recovered is a verb (subject: scientists). We don't use a helping verb as we're in the active voice.

Scientists recovered DNA evidence. (active)
DNA evidence was recovered by scientists. (passive)
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Re: Studying skeletons unearthed near Rome, DNA evidence was recovered by  [#permalink]

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06 Sep 2017, 00:34
2
Studying skeletons unearthed near Rome, DNA evidence was recovered by scientists, who were able to deduce from this that an epidemic of malaria struck in the empire’s waning days.

A. Studying skeletons unearthed near Rome, DNA evidence was recovered by scientists, who were able to deduce from this
Modifier error, Studying seems to be modifying DNA instead of scientists.

B. In studying skeletons unearthed near Rome, DNA evidence was recovered by scientists, who were able to deduce from this
Modifier error, Studying seems to be modifying DNA instead of scientists.

C. Scientists recovered DNA evidence from studying skeletons unearthed near Rome, being able to deduce from this
being able is not required.

D. Skeletons unearthed near Rome allowed scientists to recover DNA evidence, and they were able to deduce from it
It seems that skeletons is allowing the scientists to recover DNA , which is not the case.

E. Scientists studying skeletons unearthed near Rome recovered DNA evidence from which they were able to deduce
No error
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Re: Studying skeletons unearthed near Rome, DNA evidence was recovered by  [#permalink]

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01 Dec 2017, 14:00
(D)they correctly refers to scientists and not skeletons , is the phrase - from it- wordier?

Hello,

I am not sure if 'they' is referring to 'scientists'. It seems is referring to 'skeletons', the main subject, what makes this sentence awkward since 'skeletons are allowing and deducing something ...'.

Then, I would like specialist's help on this one too.

On the other hand, 'and' is clearly incorrect in letter D because conveys an idea of addition rather than a causal-effect one. In other words, the correct meaning is 'because of a discovery in some DNA evidence, scientists could deduce there was a malaria epidemic in a specific period/date'.

Best,
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Re: Studying skeletons unearthed near Rome, DNA evidence was recovered by  [#permalink]

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04 Dec 2017, 08:54
1
rcaraujo20 wrote:
(D)they correctly refers to scientists and not skeletons , is the phrase - from it- wordier?

Hello,

I am not sure if 'they' is referring to 'scientists'. It seems is referring to 'skeletons', the main subject, what makes this sentence awkward since 'skeletons are allowing and deducing something ...'.

Then, I would like specialist's help on this one too.

On the other hand, 'and' is clearly incorrect in letter D because conveys an idea of addition rather than a causal-effect one. In other words, the correct meaning is 'because of a discovery in some DNA evidence, scientists could deduce there was a malaria epidemic in a specific period/date'.

Best,

Your observation is correct. If a pronoun is the subject of a clause and has two possible antecedents of which one is the subject of another clause in the sentence, then the pronoun would unambiguously, by virtue of parallelism, refer to the subject antecedent. Hence in option D, "they" clearly refers to "skeletons", and hence the sentence is wrong.
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Re: Studying skeletons unearthed near Rome, DNA evidence was recovered by  [#permalink]

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06 Apr 2018, 13:56
1
Hi Experts GMATNinja GMATNinjaTwo

(A) and (B) are clearly out since opening verb-ing modifier should modify scientists and not evidence.

(C) being is not used in passive continuous tense also I feel evidence from is incorrect. It should be evidence by studying ..

(D)they correctly refers to scientists and not skeletons , is the phrase - from it- wordier?

(E) I did not select this since was confused if recovered is verb or modifier? note that there is no helping verb here. Does 'they' can only refer to subject in first independent clause ie scientists?

I am not sure if your doubt still persists. Here is the explanation nonetheless.

Choice D is straight incorrect because it says that Skeletons allowed the scientists to recover DNA evidence. This meaning is absolutely illogical.

In Choice E, the word recovered is undoubtedly a verb because the original sentence has already established that scientists did the action of recovering DNA evidence.

Hope this helps.
Thanks.
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Re: Studying skeletons unearthed near Rome, DNA evidence was recovered by  [#permalink]

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11 Apr 2018, 13:10
Hi everyone. In 'E', could you please explain why 'they' cannot refer to both 'skeletons' and 'scientists'?
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Re: Studying skeletons unearthed near Rome, DNA evidence was recovered by  [#permalink]

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11 Apr 2018, 18:11
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svanbergh13

Here are my two cents:

Whenever you have a doubt of a pronoun ambiguity in a sentence, try replacing the antecedent
with actual noun it refers to and see if intended meaning is distorted.

If you replace they with skeletons it is ambiguous since skeletons can not perform action of deducing.

Only logical antecedent that pronoun can refer to is - scientists, because being a living entity
only scientists can perform action of deducing.

See relevant article by egmat here

Hope this helps.
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Re: Studying skeletons unearthed near Rome, DNA evidence was recovered by  [#permalink]

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12 Apr 2018, 07:05
2
svanbergh13 wrote:
Hi everyone. In 'E', could you please explain why 'they' cannot refer to both 'skeletons' and 'scientists'?

Hello svanbergh13,

Thank you for the query.

The thing is just the presence of multiple nouns of the same number as the number of the pronoun does not make the pronoun ambiguous.

A pronoun must have a logical antecedent in the sentence.

In case, a pronoun refers to two nouns logically, then there arises the pronoun ambiguity issue.

In order to find which noun does the pronoun logically refer to, just replace the pronoun with the possible noun antecedent. If the sentence still makes sense, then that noun is the antecedent of the pronoun.

Now, in choice E, pronoun they cannot refer to skeletons because it does not make sense to say to that the skeletons were able to deduce anything. Hence. scientists is the only logical plural noun that pronoun they can refer to. Hence, there is no pronoun ambiguity in Choice E.

Hope this helps.
Thanks.
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Re: Studying skeletons unearthed near Rome, DNA evidence was recovered by  [#permalink]

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28 Aug 2018, 02:38
Why is D wrong? I think it is somewhat clear that "they" refer to "Scientists". Whereas, answer E shows a change in meaning as there is no cause and effect between "studying skeletons" and "recovered DNA" . I think "by studying skeletons" then "scientists discovered DNA evidence", so E must be wrong.

But E is OA so.............. (I am very confused, understanding that A, B, C is obviously wrong and D is kind of awkward)
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Re: Studying skeletons unearthed near Rome, DNA evidence was recovered by  [#permalink]

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28 Aug 2018, 20:05
tunguyen31 wrote:
Why is D wrong? I think it is somewhat clear that "they" refer to "Scientists". Whereas, answer E shows a change in meaning as there is no cause and effect between "studying skeletons" and "recovered DNA" . I think "by studying skeletons" then "scientists discovered DNA evidence", so E must be wrong.

But E is OA so.............. (I am very confused, understanding that A, B, C is obviously wrong and D is kind of awkward)
Take a look at this post for a discussion on the usage of the pronoun they in option D. If you're not comfortable removing option D for that, let's go with meaning:

Option D
Skeletons unearthed near Rome allowed scientists to recover DNA evidence, and they were able to deduce from it...

1. This option literally says that skeletons allowed scientists to recover DNA. Was this an matter of permission?
2. It's not at all clear which scientists this option is talking about. We seem to be reading about scientists in general.
3. We really can't say where the DNA came from. As in, there is very little to link the DNA to the skeletons.

Option E
Scientists studying skeletons unearthed near Rome recovered DNA evidence from which they were able to deduce

1. This option doesn't use the word allow, thereby removing one possible source of ambiguity.
2. We are looking at a specific group of scientists here: the ones studying the skeletons.
3. It's much easier to link the DNA evidence to the skeletons here, as it is the scientists who are studying the skeletons who have recovered the DNA evidence.
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Studying skeletons unearthed near Rome, DNA evidence was recovered by  [#permalink]

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18 Sep 2018, 11:13
GMATNinja, AjiteshArun, egmat
Kindly help me with this:

Studying skeletons unearthed near Rome, DNA evidence was recovered by scientists, who were able to deduce from this that an epidemic of malaria struck in the empire’s waning days.

Quote:
(A) Studying skeletons unearthed near Rome, DNA evidence was recovered by scientists, who were able to deduce from this
(B) In studying skeletons unearthed near Rome, DNA evidence was recovered by scientists, who were able to deduce from this
(C) Scientists recovered DNA evidence from studying skeletons unearthed near Rome, being able to deduce from this
Apart from all other errors those stood out to people in discussion. Kindly throw some light on, What does "this" refer to in this sentence? If this refers to "DNA Evidence", is this an eligible referent?
As per the Manhattan GMAT "On the GMAT, do not use this or these in place of nouns. A sentence such as This is great is un-acceptably vague to the GMAT."
(D) Skeletons unearthed near Rome allowed scientists to recover DNA evidence, and they were able to deduce from it
(E) Scientists studying skeletons unearthed near Rome recovered DNA evidence from which they were able to deduce
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Re: Studying skeletons unearthed near Rome, DNA evidence was recovered by  [#permalink]

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18 Sep 2018, 19:40
1
HimanshuW11 wrote:
GMATNinja, AjiteshArun, egmat
Kindly help me with this:

Studying skeletons unearthed near Rome, DNA evidence was recovered by scientists, who were able to deduce from this that an epidemic of malaria struck in the empire’s waning days.

Apart from all other errors those stood out to people in discussion. Kindly throw some light on, What does "this" refer to in this sentence? If this refers to "DNA Evidence", is this an eligible referent?
As per the Manhattan GMAT "On the GMAT, do not use this or these in place of nouns. A sentence such as This is great is un-acceptably vague to the GMAT."
(D) Skeletons unearthed near Rome allowed scientists to recover DNA evidence, and they were able to deduce from it
(E) Scientists studying skeletons unearthed near Rome recovered DNA evidence from which they were able to deduce
Generally, in English
The usage of this to refer to some person, event, or thing mentioned in the sentence (or even outside the sentence: Don't do this) is acceptable. Here are a few examples:

1. He studied at Stanford, and this allowed him to develop the network that he needed.

2. Companies in the area want MBAs; we know this because we've spoken with them.

3. Electric cars are generally quite expensive, but this is not.

4. You should take accounting and marketing as these are the most important for you. (these is the plural form)

Such usage is allowed in English, but may not be very precise. For example, in (3), the one after this is understood:
3a. Electric cars are generally quite expensive, but this one is not.
or
3b. Electric cars are generally quite expensive, but this electric car is not.

Similarly, in (4), the sentence assumes a word like subjects:
4a. You should take accounting and marketing as these subjects are the most important for you.

An interesting point here is that that and those are much more common than this and these in such constructions (something like 10:1 if I remember correctly). For example, we can generally expect people to prefer

1a. He studied at Stanford, and that allowed him to develop the network that he needed.
to
1b. He studied at Stanford, and this allowed him to develop the network that he needed.

and

4b. You should take accounting and marketing as those are the most important for you.
to
4c. You should take accounting and marketing as these are the most important for you.

Quote:
DNA evidence was recovered by scientists, who were able to deduce from this that an epidemic of malaria struck in the empire’s waning days.
Perhaps the sentence is assuming a word like discovery here:
DNA evidence was recovered by scientists, who were able to deduce from this discovery that an epidemic of malaria struck in the empire’s waning days.

On the GMAT
Such usage is vague, but I would not go so far as to say that it is "unacceptably vague". It is, however, a very good sign that the option we're considering is incorrect. All in all, I'd advise you to use it as just that: a sign. Be aware of this concept, use it, but don't put it all the way up there with something like SVA.
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Re: Studying skeletons unearthed near Rome, DNA evidence was recovered by  [#permalink]

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04 Jun 2019, 08:21
1
Studying skeletons unearthed near Rome, DNA evidence was recovered by scientists, who were able to deduce from this that an epidemic of malaria struck in the empire’s waning days.

(A) Studying skeletons unearthed near Rome, DNA evidence was recovered by scientists, who were able to deduce from this
Mod -- gerund "studying..." incorrectly modifies "DNA evidence"

(B) In studying skeletons unearthed near Rome, DNA evidence was recovered by scientists, who were able to deduce from this
Idiom -- "in studying" is wrong, should be "by studying"
Still wrong mod & both A and B are also in passive voice

(C) Scientists recovered DNA evidence from studying skeletons unearthed near Rome, being able to deduce from this
demonstrative pronoun "this" is far from antecedent "DNA evidence" & should be changed to "it"
"being able to" is unnecessary

(D) Skeletons unearthed near Rome allowed scientists to recover DNA evidence, and they were able to deduce from it
Meaning -- "skeletons" did not "allow" & "they" in the second CL now refers to subject "skeletons"

(E) Scientists studying skeletons unearthed near Rome recovered DNA evidence from which they were able to deduce
scientists == they
DNA evidence == which
Re: Studying skeletons unearthed near Rome, DNA evidence was recovered by   [#permalink] 04 Jun 2019, 08:21
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