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SC - idioms vs concision - example below:

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Manager
Manager
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Joined: 02 May 2012
Posts: 109
Location: United Kingdom
WE: Account Management (Other)
Followers: 0

Kudos [?]: 14 [0], given: 34

SC - idioms vs concision - example below: [#permalink] New post 07 Jul 2012, 12:54
Hi GMATers,

I came across the below in the free MGMAT CAT and wouldn't mind your view on it.

To this day, researchers and theorists debate whether bubonic plague caused The Black Death, a pandemic that swept the world in the middle of the fourteenth century.

whether
whether or not
about whether
as to whether
if

The official answer is (a) for it's concision, but I put (b) on the idea that 'whether or not' is an idiom. So what I'm trying to get my head around is in situations where concision can occur without prejudicing meaning, or an idiom if offered, what trumps what?

Thanks

B.
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Manager
Manager
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Status: Seeking new horizons...
Joined: 03 Sep 2010
Posts: 65
Location: Taiwan
Concentration: Strategy, Technology
Schools: ESADE '15 (A)
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Re: SC - idioms vs concision - example below: [#permalink] New post 10 Jul 2012, 23:02
(A) is correct since we are discussing about the possibility of what caused the bubonic plague.
The rule is: use 'whether' when discussing different possibilities. Use 'if' in conditional statements.
Other options are not concise.
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SC - idioms vs concision - example below:

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