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TOEFL Reading: The Reference Question

wordle_TOEFL
A reference question is usually a pronoun, which is highlighted in the passage. You are asked what the highlighted word refers to. If it’s a pronoun then you need to identify what word the pronoun is replacing.
Example:
Many millions of years after ferns evolved (but long before the Hawaiian Islands were born from the sea), another kind of flora evolved on Earth: the seed-bearing plants. This was a wonderful biological invention. The seed has an outer coating that surrounds the genetic material of the new plant, and inside this covering is a concentrated supply of nutrients. Thus the seed’s chances of survival are greatly enhanced over those of the naked spore.

The word “This” in paragraph 2 refers to:

  • the spread of ferns and mosses in Hawaii
  • the creation of the Hawaiian Islands
  • the evolution of ferns
  • the development of plants that produce seeds

The pronoun “This” refers to the idea of the previous sentence. The previous sentence is “another kind of flora evolved on Earth: the seed-bearing plants”, So, “This was a wonderful biological invention refers to “the seed bearing plans”. So, answer is (D).

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