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There was an English exam and it had this paragraph, I have two questions:

  1. What does you in this sentence refer to?

    it is usual as in China, to clean the whole house on the day before New Year, and to make sure you have paid any money you owe to others before midnight

  2. from this sentence, which is the first Scottish New Year tradition? There isn't anything that shows the order

    A lot of the New Year 'tradition' in countries like England, Australia and the USA are actually Scottish in origin. These include joining hands ad singing the Scottish song Auld Lang Syne, Another custom which is less popular now, is 'first-footing'

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    Please explicitly write out the sentences you are concerned about, don't just add them as a picture. It is easier for other people to search for things if there is text to search! – SteveES Jun 20 '17 at 10:56
  • I thought that since I mentioned the line that there won't be a need to write the sentence, should I add it then? – kareem saifi Jun 20 '17 at 10:58
  • Yes please, you can just quote the specific parts you are concerned about. Use the "Quote" feature. – SteveES Jun 20 '17 at 10:59
  • Is it better now? – kareem saifi Jun 20 '17 at 11:13
  • Sorry, I don't understand, in this case, what does You refer to? does it refer to a person in China? Or can we say the reader? Thank you in advance – kareem saifi Jun 20 '17 at 11:21
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You have two questions.

You have paid any money you owe assumes the word 'that': You in China repay money that you in China owe to others. The article compares cleaning house 'in China' to cleaning up personal obligations. Note also that the location is not Scotland.

What is the first Scottish New Year tradition? As far as order is concerned, the first one listed is singing Auld Lang Syne. That makes it the correct answer.

Such tests limit the answers to the text given (testing your reading comprehension), not your outside information (testing your general knowledge). For example, from the College Board's SAT Test Readiness:

  • "Choices A and C are incorrect because they are not supported by the text."
  • "Answers are based only on the content stated in or implied by the passage."
  • "Find evidence in a passage...that best supports the answer."
  • "Prior topic-specific knowledge is never tested."

If you knew that housecleaning comes first but the text did not say it, steel yourself from answering that way and look for some order that is strictly within the text.

To do well on such tests requires not overthinking them. A Scot might suffer on the test for knowing the order of the day, as that would surely introduce ambiguity. These tests, however, spell out unambiguously that you are to use your reasoning based only on the text supplied. What you see is what you get.

Use the first tradition that the text lists unless it spells out a different order (say, "The first tradition, even earlier in the day of New Year's Eve").

The text says "in China" things happen the "day before" and "before midnight." Even if you were absolutely sure the Scots do the same and that other countries copied, you will be marked wrong for using that broad knowledge. Call it a trap of the test if you will, but mark the answer that the test wants.

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