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14. In the late seventh century, in a dispute over whether

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14. In the late seventh century, in a dispute over whether [#permalink] New post 08 Apr 2004, 02:41
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A
B
C
D
E

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14. In the late seventh century, in a dispute over
whether the Prophet Muhammad's son-in-law, Ali,
should carry on as the fourth caliph, Muhammad's
successor
, Islam split into two branches, the Sunnis
and the Shiites.

(A) over whether the Prophet Muhammad's son-in-
law, Ali, should carry on as the fourth caliph,
Muhammad's successor
(B) over if Ali, the Prophet Muhammad's son-in-
law, was going to carry on and be the fourth
caliph, Muhammad's successor
(C) over whether Ali, the Prophet Muhammad's
son-in-law, was going to carry on and be
the fourth caliph, Muhammad's successor
(D) as to whether the fourth caliph, Muhammad's
successor, is to be the Prophet Muhammad's
son-in-low, Ali
(E) concerning if the fourth caliph, Muhammad's
successor, was to be the Prophet Muhammad's
son-in-law, Ali
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 [#permalink] New post 16 Apr 2004, 12:13
Let me know why you think A is better. There is an important point to be learnt here. Please explain why B is wrong as well.

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 [#permalink] New post 16 Apr 2004, 14:12
B has 2 errors
1) "dispute over whether" in A is the right form when an alternative is given thereafter. "dispute over if" in B is commonly heard in spoken english but is idiomatically wrong.
2) "should carry" in A is much more concise than "was going to carry" in B
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 [#permalink] New post 16 Apr 2004, 17:24
Paul is quite right here.

This sentence also tests the choice between "if" and "whether". Use "whether" when there are two choices and use "if" when certain condition is to be brought in.
  [#permalink] 16 Apr 2004, 17:24
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