# Reply To: Free Live Event Nov 30 – Dec 2

December 3, 2015 at 12:18 am #921
Mike Kim
Keymaster

Lsatbound wrote:

Hi Mike,

Thanks for hosting this! I’m 400+ pages into your LSAT Trainer. Stuck a bit and I hope you can clear it up.

Game 3 | PT 32, G3 (page 420) of your book has the following rule:

“At least one composition is performed either after O and before S, or after S and before O.” I thought I understood your explanation and notation:

S _ …O, O_…S  Your explanation: “S and O can’t be next to each other.”, hence the “at least” wording.

Game 4 | PT 35, GR (page 421) where I tried to apply that same concept to the following, it was incorrect. How is it different?

“Paton and Sarkis were each hired at least one year before Madison and at least one year after Nilsson.” which I diagrammed as:

N_…P_…M , N_…S_…M

Your diagram is N – P , S – M

I interpreted the rule to mean that P and S come before M and after N but also that P and S cannot be next to N or M – due to the “at least” wording like in the question above. But, i think your diagram says they can and the answers to the questions in that section reflect that they can. Specifically, you have P being able to go in 90, 91 or 92. And I didn’t think it could go in 90 b/c it would be next to N in 89 and furthermore I didn’t think it could go in 91 b/c it would be next to S in 92.

I’m sure there’s a nuance that I’m missing – there usually is:( I think it may be the words “at least” threw me off.

Can you help? Thanks:).

Terrific q — I love it when someone studies my book carefully enough to critically compare parts of it to other —

And I think the issue you pointed out is a great example of why it’s important not to be overly dependent on “indicator words” and why it’s important to consider the meaning in context — “at least” always means equal to or greater than, but in the two examples you brought up this has differing consequences —

In the first example, “At least one composition between O and S,” because it is talking about another actual element going in between the two, does prevent O and S from being next to each other.

An easy way to test this is by imagining O being immediately before S (OS) and reading the rule — such a scenario would clearly violate the rule, and so you know the rule doesn’t allow it.

In the second example, “P was hired at least one year before M,” notice that what is between X and Y isn’t another element, but rather a year. And so, in this case, P and M can be hired in consecutive years without violating the rule —

An easy way to test this is by imagining P and M immediately next to each other in the diagram (PM) and see if it violates the rule — it doesn’t — even when they are next to each other, there is at least a year between them.

It’s a sneaky issue but I hope that clears it up — if you have any follow up just let me know.