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The key to Japan's worldwide commercial success is not so much governm

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New post 02 Aug 2019, 19:47
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Project SC Butler: Day 146 Sentence Correction (SC1)


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The key to Japan's worldwide commercial success is not so much government policy, although that too is a factor, but fierce domestic competition; after outpacing local rivals, firms often find that foreign competitors are simply no match for them.

A) but fierce domestic competition

B) but domestically fierce competition

C) but rather it is fierce domestic competition

D) as it is fierce domestic competition

E) as competition that is fierce domestically

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New post 02 Aug 2019, 19:49
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OFFICIAL ANSWER

Quote:

Project SC Butler: Day 146 Sentence Correction (SC1)



The key to Japan's worldwide commercial success is not so much government policy, although that too is a factor, but fierce domestic competition; after outpacing local rivals, firms often find that foreign competitors are simply no match for them.

A) but fierce domestic competition

B) but domestically fierce competition

C) but rather it is fierce domestic competition

D) as it is fierce domestic competition

E) as competition that is fierce domestically


POE

• Split #1 - NOT SO MUCH X AS Y

The correct idiom is Not So Much X As Y

Options A, B, and C incorrectly use Not So Much X BUT Y
We cannot substitute the word but for the word as.
Doing so makes the sentence unidiomatic.
Eliminate A, B, and C.

• Split #2: meaning and clarity

The context of this sentence suggests that government policy only partially accounts for the worldwide commercial success of Japan.

The more important cause of that success is domestic business competition — IN and only WITHIN Japan's (own) economy and not related to competition from non-Japanese businesses.

Business competition in Japan is so fierce that when Japanese Company ABC finally outperforms its rival Japanese companies, Company ABC is more competitive than foreign companies are.

Foreign firms, which did not compete in the local arena, just cannot compete with Company ABC.

Option E uses that is fierce domestically
Option D uses fierce domestic competition

In the context of the sentence, as I explain below in Highlights, option (D) captures "competition within Japan's economy" better than E does.
Option D is also clearer.
Finally, D is more concise than E.
Eliminate E.

Option D is correct.

HIGHLIGHTS

• This question tests an idiom I encountered while reading a journal recently:
NOT SO MUCH X AS Y

-- When we say that something is not so much one thing as something else, we mean that the something is "more" the second thing.

-- Examples
The cynic did not so much scorn people as ignore them.
(The cynic ignored people more than he scorned them.)

A variation on a dictionary example:
They were not so much friends as lovers.
(The degree of their love connection was more intense than the degree of their friendship connection.)

domestically fierce and that is fierce domestically
-- what the heck do these words mean? domestically is an adverb that refers to the country being discussed.
The suffix -ally suggests "in the manner of" or "characteristic of."
(Emphatically means in an emphatic manner or way.)

-- fierce in a Japanese way? fierce in a domestic way?
The level of business competition within Japan itself might be distinctive, but the sentence does not imply that there is a special kind of "fierce" business competition that is Japanese (involving some kind of ritual, for example).

• BETTER: fierce domestic competition
-- in the context of this sentence, domestic means "existing or occurring inside a particular country."

• PARALLELISM
-- inserting the subject and verb in this idiom is allowed, often to avoid ambiguity.
Such insertion is often necessary in the AS . . . AS constructions.

X as much as Y
Parallel, clear: I like the red umbrella as much as the purple umbrella.

Parallel, ambiguous: I like Nick as much as Alex.
-- I like Nick as much as I like Alex? OR
-- I like Nick as much as Alex likes Nick?
Not strictly parallel, correct: I like Nick as much as Alex does.

This example of Not So Much X as Y could confuse readers: He is not so much my teacher as my friend.

Let's say that he = Sam.
Sam is more like a friend to me than Sam is like a teacher to me?
OR
My [other] friend is more like a teacher to me than Sam is like a teacher to me?

We can rewrite the sentence to clear up the ambiguity: He is not so much my teacher as he is my friend.
We repeat the subject and verb.

In this sentence, we see a similar construction.
The key . . [is not so much X] as [the key is Y.]

The way that English works in negation ("not so much") often creates a situation in which strict parallelism is at odds with meaning or correct grammar or both.

Choose logical meaning.

• An example of this idiom is Not so much by X as by Y, but that idiom does not really need a separate category.

-- A sentence that uses this version of the idiom simply happens to use a verb that requires "by."
-- I remember one such official sentence.

Spoiler alert! If you click on the link, the correct answer to an official question is revealed.
-- That official question (used in SC Butler :) ) is HERE

-- Well done, Xin Cho . :) The error in the placement of "domestically," though, is a meaning error. "Awkwardness" is a last resort, and we should always be able to explain why the construction is awkward.

COMMENTS

I have been reviewing OGs in order to answer a different question, and I have noticed that a few completely unpredictable idioms cropped up in the last couple of years' publications.
We cannot memorize every idiom.

Well, you can try you if you would like to do so :) , but there are tens of thousands of idioms.

One, no thanks, and two, not strategic.
If I were allowed to recommend only one strategy for SC, it would be to review official questions and write flash cards by hand.

If we do not know that an idiom is involved, we might at least suspect one from the BUT/AS split.
We might come at this question by noticing the split, as all of you did, and wondering what is going on.
Then we should wonder about the logic of the sentence.

At that point, we could notice an interesting twist: not SO much.
The idiom "comments" on AS X AS Y.

NOT SO MUCH X AS Y negates the first part of AS X AS Y in a situation in which it appears that X and Y are equivalent, but they are not; both X and Y contribute, but Y contributes more.

A few dictionary examples of the idiom are good.
"Not so much sth [something] as sth" is discussed HERE, HERE, and HERE.

I have said it before: I respect courage.

In addition, critical thinking is a learned skill. If you practice but get an assumption wrong along the way, as long as your reasoning is, well, reasonable, I figure that you have sharpened the skill a little more. I often give kudos for well-reasoned but wrong answers.

Kudos to all. If I could give two kudos to Xin Cho, I would do so.
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Re: The key to Japan's worldwide commercial success is not so much governm  [#permalink]

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New post 02 Aug 2019, 20:29
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It boils down to between A and B.

Quote:
B) but domestically fierce competition


This option says that the competition is "Domestically fierce". This is not the intended meaning.

Hence, IMO A.
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Re: The key to Japan's worldwide commercial success is not so much governm  [#permalink]

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New post 02 Aug 2019, 20:48
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IMO: A

The key to Japan's worldwide commercial success is not so much government policy, although that too is a factor, but fierce domestic competition; after outpacing local rivals, firms often find that foreign competitors are simply no match for them.

A) but fierce domestic competition - idiom not X but Y is used correctly. Domestic correctly modify noun competition. -> Correct.

B) but domestically fierce competition- Idiom not X but Y is used correctly, however, domestically is used incorrectly. Adverb can modify anything but noun. Domestically incorrectly modifies fierce. It must modify competition.

C) but rather it is fierce domestic competition - but rather is incorrect.

D) as it is fierce domestic competition - Not X but Y should be used

E) as competition that is fierce domestically - Not X but Y should be used
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Re: The key to Japan's worldwide commercial success is not so much governm  [#permalink]

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New post 03 Aug 2019, 00:35
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generis wrote:

Project SC Butler: Day 146 Sentence Correction (SC1)


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The key to Japan's worldwide commercial success is not so much government policy, although that too is a factor, but fierce domestic competition; after outpacing local rivals, firms often find that foreign competitors are simply no match for them.
Sentence Structure
Subject - Verb
    The key to Japan's worldwide commercial success is not so much government policy
        , although that( government policy) too is a factor,
      but fierce domestic competition;
    after outpacing local rivals, firms often find that
      foreign competitors are simply no match for them( Japan's firms).

Issues:
    Could NOT find any error in the original answer choice.
    Even the usage of NOT X BUT Y is parallel.
    Will go ahead with PoE.

Answer choice analysis:
    A) but fierce domestic competition
      Better than the rest. A is the winner!

    B) but domestically fierce competition
      Even though domestically ----modifies---> fierce competition. It does not make any sense.
      B is inferioir to A.

    C) but rather it is fierce domestic competition
      Not X but rather Y - X and Y must be parallel.
      X - so much government policy: Noun-phrase
      Y - it is fierce domestic competition: Clause

    D) as it is fierce domestic competition
      Did read about an idiom stating - not so X as Y
        Ex: The GMAT score is dependent not so on quant as on verbal.
      However, X and Y must be parallel.
        X - so much government policy: Noun-phrase
        Y - it is fierce domestic competition: Clause

    E) as competition that is fierce domestically
      Even though, domestically ----modifies---> the how-aspect, i.e., how the competition is fierced? It does NOT make any sense.
      E is inferioir to A.

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New post 03 Aug 2019, 10:41
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IMO correct answer is A.

This question is again based on correct idiomatic usage (Not X But Y) or if we dont want to say it as Idiom, lets put it as correct parallelism.

In the Option A (the original sentence), both the items - not so much government policy, although that too is a factor, but fierce domestic competition are parallel with each other.



The key to Japan's worldwide commercial success is not so much government policy, although that too is a factor, but fierce domestic competition; after outpacing local rivals, firms often find that foreign competitors are simply no match for them.

A) but fierce domestic competition

B) but domestically fierce competition - Not a parallel structure

C) but rather it is fierce domestic competition - Again not a parallel structure - Also, "it" as a pronoun does not have any clear antecedent.

D) as it is fierce domestic competition - Same issue as C

E) as competition that is fierce domestically - Not a parallel structure.
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New post 04 Aug 2019, 02:34
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Quote:
The key to Japan's worldwide commercial success is not so much government policy, although that too is a factor, but fierce domestic competition; after outpacing local rivals, firms often find that foreign competitors are simply no match for them.


The key to answering this question is to recognize the structure "not so much X as Y". For that reason we can eliminate A, B, and C.

Quote:
D) as it is fierce domestic competition
E) as competition that is fierce domestically


Between D and E, the difference is essentially in the placement of "domestically". This is simply awkward in E. Thus, D is the answer.
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Re: The key to Japan's worldwide commercial success is not so much governm  [#permalink]

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New post 04 Aug 2019, 10:08
Xin Cho wrote:
Quote:
The key to Japan's worldwide commercial success is not so much government policy, although that too is a factor, but fierce domestic competition; after outpacing local rivals, firms often find that foreign competitors are simply no match for them.


The key to answering this question is to recognize the structure "not so much X as Y". For that reason we can eliminate A, B, and C.

Quote:
D) as it is fierce domestic competition
E) as competition that is fierce domestically


Between D and E, the difference is essentially in the placement of "domestically". This is simply awkward in E. Thus, D is the answer.



hello Xin Cho

in this structure "not so much X as Y" --> X and Y are parallel to each other?
Or otherwise how could you explain that in our case X is a noun Y is a clause
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Re: The key to Japan's worldwide commercial success is not so much governm  [#permalink]

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New post 04 Aug 2019, 10:18
generis wrote:

Project SC Butler: Day 146 Sentence Correction (SC1)


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The key to Japan's worldwide commercial success is not so much government policy, although that too is a factor, but fierce domestic competition; after outpacing local rivals, firms often find that foreign competitors are simply no match for them.

A) but fierce domestic competition

B) but domestically fierce competition

C) but rather it is fierce domestic competition

D) as it is fierce domestic competition

E) as competition that is fierce domestically



How is D correct? not so much X as Y ...X and y arent parallel
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New post 04 Aug 2019, 10:40
I have posted the official explanation HERE.
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New post 04 Aug 2019, 13:31
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For those of you who're stumped with the surprisingly correct usage of "it is" in the idiom not so much X as Y. Sure, it's true that both X and Y must be parallel, but you just can't get over the fact that you wish to get rid of the 'it', right?
It got on my nerves too, you know? So I went around and did some research!

Here, this will solve your headache!


Quote:
The pattern not so much X as Y is essentially the same thing as the as... as... pattern, except that it's the negative form.

And we should remember that the as... as... pattern doesn't follow strict parallel structure--sometimes we need to add extra words to avoid the "apples and oranges" comparison problem. Here's an example of a mistake:

Joseph likes chocolate as much as Chris.

In this sentence, we don't know whether Christ is parallel with Joseph or chocolate. In other words, does Joseph like chocolate and Chris equally, or do Joseph and Chris like chocolate equally?

So the "it is" in D is grammatically acceptable.

The big problem with E is the "fierce domestically," which has an illogical meaning--fierce in a "domestic way?" Weird...


I found this explanation over here - https://www.urch.com/forums/gmat-senten ... ccess.html

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New post 04 Aug 2019, 13:51
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sharathnair14 wrote:
Here, this will solve your headache!

sharathnair14 , I'm glad that your head feels better. :lol: Another expert never hurts.
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New post 04 Aug 2019, 14:02
Well, you know what they say... Sometimes you've got to get your hands dirty I mean, I can imagine people getting stuck with this too! Just helping out :)
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New post 04 Aug 2019, 15:24
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Hi Sanjeetgujrall, GKomoku

Quote:
not so much government policy, although that too is a factor, as it is fierce domestic competition


Regarding the parallelism, in the sentence, we are essentially comparing government policy to "it" (fierce domestic competition). In this way, the noun form should be preserved and both X and Y are parallel.

However, I am by no means an expert. Perhaps, generis can correct me :)
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New post 05 Aug 2019, 05:35
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Hi Xin_Cho ,

generis has already corrected your mistake in his official explanation :)

Quote:
Regarding the parallelism, in the sentence, we are essentially comparing government policy to "it" (fierce domestic competition). In this way, the noun form should be preserved and both X and Y are parallel.


That’s great that you were able to end up with the correct answer choice. However, it doesn’t refer to fierce domestic competition. The correct answer choice is as follows:

The key to success is not so much government policy as the key (it) is fierce domestic competition.

As you see, it refers to key, not to fierce domestic competition.

Meaning: Both government policy and fierce domestic competition are keys to Japan’s success. However, fierce domestic competition brought more success to Japan then government policy brought. The official explanation by generis makes more than clear what it refers to:

Quote:
The key . . [is not so much X] as [the key is Y.]

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New post 05 Aug 2019, 19:34
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JonShukhrat wrote:
Hi Xin_Cho ,

generis has already corrected your mistake in his official explanation :)

Quote:
Regarding the parallelism, in the sentence, we are essentially comparing government policy to "it" (fierce domestic competition). In this way, the noun form should be preserved and both X and Y are parallel.


That’s great that you were able to end up with the correct answer choice. However, it doesn’t refer to fierce domestic competition. The correct answer choice is as follows:

The key to success is not so much government policy as the key (it) is fierce domestic competition.

As you see, it refers to key, not to fierce domestic competition.

Meaning: Both government policy and fierce domestic competition are keys to Japan’s success. However, fierce domestic competition brought more success to Japan then government policy brought. The official explanation by generis makes more than clear what it refers to:

Quote:
The key . . [is not so much X] as [the key is Y.]

JonShukhrat , your analysis is excellent and your explanation is clear. Nicely done.
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Re: The key to Japan's worldwide commercial success is not so much governm  [#permalink]

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New post 19 Aug 2019, 00:16
generis wrote:
JonShukhrat wrote:
Hi Xin_Cho ,

generis has already corrected your mistake in his official explanation :)

Quote:
Regarding the parallelism, in the sentence, we are essentially comparing government policy to "it" (fierce domestic competition). In this way, the noun form should be preserved and both X and Y are parallel.


That’s great that you were able to end up with the correct answer choice. However, it doesn’t refer to fierce domestic competition. The correct answer choice is as follows:

The key to success is not so much government policy as the key (it) is fierce domestic competition.

As you see, it refers to key, not to fierce domestic competition.

Meaning: Both government policy and fierce domestic competition are keys to Japan’s success. However, fierce domestic competition brought more success to Japan then government policy brought. The official explanation by generis makes more than clear what it refers to:

Quote:
The key . . [is not so much X] as [the key is Y.]

JonShukhrat , your analysis is excellent and your explanation is clear. Nicely done.


Do we still get questions based purely on idiom. Does that mean we have to remember idioms.
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New post 19 Aug 2019, 08:44
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amarsinha wrote:

Do we still get questions based purely on idiom. Does that mean we have to remember idioms.

amarsinha ,
This topic thread is probably not the right place to discuss an issue as general as this one is.
Dozens of posts (and probably dozens of topic threads) discuss the issue. You can search a bit and find them.

The short answer is yes, there are a few occasions in which you must know an idiom.

For example, see this official question, here, from OG VR 2020.
The OE is tagged as "idiom, diction." All five options require knowledge of three idioms.
Or see this official question, here, also from OG VR 2020. Its OE is tagged "Idiom, Logical Predication." The explanation for all four incorrect answers says "The sentence uses the unidiomatic form _____. "

In the second example, in order to understand "logical predication," a person would have to know that one noun is treated in a certain way. Spoiler alert: the answer to an official question is revealed.
A person would have to know that a link exists between two things and not from one thing to another.


Finally, in this official question, here you would have to know a very obscure idiom in order to answer the question. That idiom, in my opinion, is a lot more obscure than the one tested in this question.
That question was replaced in the 2018 guide.
I never speculate about why a question gets removed. Every guide published since 2005 included that question.

Chris Lele from Magoosh wrote a post, Top Ten Most Common GMAT Idioms here, updated in May 2019. I would learn those ten idioms. I would read every day.

Almost all of the time, you will be able to find reasons other than idiom to eliminate choices.

If you have further questions, I would post them on GMATNinja 's thread, Ask me anything about GMAT Sentence Correction and grammar, HERE. Hope that helps.
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New post 19 Aug 2019, 16:34
generis wrote:

Project SC Butler: Day 146 Sentence Correction (SC1)


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The key to Japan's worldwide commercial success is not so much government policy, although that too is a factor, but fierce domestic competition; after outpacing local rivals, firms often find that foreign competitors are simply no match for them.


Let's make this simple!

A) but fierce domestic competition

To key to success is not so much X, but Y.

This is actually OK, but I don't love it. If we read the full sentence, the subordinate clause "although that too is a factor," explains that X is actually a factor. Using "but" to join the clauses implies that the key to success is Y, rather than X.

B) but domestically fierce competition

The key to success is not so much X, but domestically fierce competition.
I can't remember the last time I read an economics textbook and saw the term "domestically fierce competition." The term "domestically fierce" is illogical.


C) but rather it is fierce domestic competition

The key to success is not so much X, but rather it is fierce domestic competition.
This isn't totally illogical or wrong, but A is a much better option. Less wordy.


D) as it is fierce domestic competition

I feel sorry for non-native English speakers, as this meaning can be somewhat obscure.
The key to success is not so much X, as it is Y. This answer choice actually fixes the issue with A. Using the conjunction "but" is actually taking away from the acknowledgment that X is a factor, but Y is a greater factor to the keys of success.


E) as competition that is fierce domestically

The key to success is not so much X, as competition that is fierce domestically.
I can't put a finger on it, but this doesn't seem to make the connection whatsoever.
The key to his success is not so much that he is quick, as his bike is better.
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Re: The key to Japan's worldwide commercial success is not so much governm  [#permalink]

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New post 20 Aug 2019, 03:58
generis wrote:
amarsinha wrote:

Do we still get questions based purely on idiom. Does that mean we have to remember idioms.

amarsinha ,
This topic thread is probably not the right place to discuss an issue as general as this one is.
Dozens of posts (and probably dozens of topic threads) discuss the issue. You can search a bit and find them.

The short answer is yes, there are a few occasions in which you must know an idiom.

For example, see this official question, here, from OG VR 2020.
The OE is tagged as "idiom, diction." All five options require knowledge of three idioms.
Or see this official question, here, also from OG VR 2020. Its OE is tagged "Idiom, Logical Predication." The explanation for all four incorrect answers says "The sentence uses the unidiomatic form _____. "

In the second example, in order to understand "logical predication," a person would have to know that one noun is treated in a certain way. Spoiler alert: the answer to an official question is revealed.
A person would have to know that a link exists between two things and not from one thing to another.


Finally, in this official question, here you would have to know a very obscure idiom in order to answer the question. That idiom, in my opinion, is a lot more obscure than the one tested in this question.
That question was replaced in the 2018 guide.
I never speculate about why a question gets removed. Every guide published since 2005 included that question.

Chris Lele from Magoosh wrote a post, Top Ten Most Common GMAT Idioms here, updated in May 2019. I would learn those ten idioms. I would read every day.

Almost all of the time, you will be able to find reasons other than idiom to eliminate choices.

If you have further questions, I would post them on GMATNinja 's thread, Ask me anything about GMAT Sentence Correction and grammar, HERE. Hope that helps.



Thanks a lot Generis for this helpful info. Appreciate it.
GMAT Club Bot
Re: The key to Japan's worldwide commercial success is not so much governm   [#permalink] 20 Aug 2019, 03:58
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