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PT90 S4 Q11- How would you translate this?

emmorensemmorens Core Member
edited January 2022 in Logical Reasoning 1470 karma

I'm having trouble figuring out what AC B from PT90 S4 Q11 is saying. I watched JY's explanation so I now know what it means to say, but I'm not sure how I would have figured this out on my own? Usually punctuation marks would be on my side to help parse it out, but I find it peculiar that there weren't any because I really think this sentence could be read two ways?

The original AC says:
"Infants who consume cow’s milk that has not been boiled frequently contract potentially fatal gastrointestinal infections"

1) The way I read it was: Infants who [consume cow’s milk that has not been boiled frequently] contract potentially fatal gastrointestinal infections.
- In this circumstance I'm reading the frequently as referring to the milk


2) Infants who [consume cow's milk that has not been boiled] frequently contract potentially fatal gastrointestinal infections
- In this one however, I'm reading the frequently as referentially phrasing the infants rather than the milk.

Let me know if that makes sense and what sort of queues I could look out for to read this sentence right! I just find it difficult because there is no punctuation swaying you either way?

Admin Note:


  • KevinLuminateLSATKevinLuminateLSAT Alum Member
    edited January 2022 947 karma

    You're right that the sentence is susceptible to multiple interpretations. In addition to the one you spelled out, I think there's another interpretation under which the "frequently" could modify "consume", which would then make the sentence about infants who frequently consume cow's milk that has not been boiled.

    I think the LSAT could respond in three ways:

    First, none of the interpretations would make (B) correct, so the issue is moot and there isn't supposed to be a "right" interpretation of it.

    • The first interpretation is not supported, since there's no suggestion that the milk has to be boiled frequently in order to prevent the gastrointestinal infections. Why wouldn't boiling the milk a single time be enough?

    • The second interpretation is not supported, since we don't know that infants who consume such milk frequently contract the infections. All we know is that doctors advise boiling to prevent such infections. Perhaps the incidence of such infection is still extremely rare and not enough to say it happens "frequently".

    • The third interpretation (the one I provided at the start of this post) is also not supported, since there would be an implicit "all" before the statement. Under this interpretation, the meaning would be "(All) Infants who frequently consume cow's milk that has not been boiled contract potentially fatal gastrointestinal infections." We don't know what proportion of such infants get these infections.

    The second way the LSAT could respond is by noting that they try to place modifiers in ways that decrease ambiguity. I think if they wanted to go with your first interpretation, they could have worded it "Infants who consume cow's milk that has not been frequently boiled ...", which isn't susceptible to the second interpretation.

    Also, a final thought on what the LSAT might say: once something is boiled, it falls into the category of "things that have been boiled". If something has not been boiled, then it's not part of that category. The idea of something "not being boiled frequently", then, doesn't quite make sense, since the state of having been boiled or not is not something that happens multiple times. If you try replacing "frequently" with other adverbs of frequency - "sometimes" "usually" "always" "normally" you'll see that none of them would modify boiled.

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