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# The ladder must be placed against the guardrail firmly or

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Manager
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20 Jan 2011, 08:46
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12
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Difficulty:

55% (hard)

Question Stats:

40% (00:39) correct 60% (00:42) wrong based on 392 sessions

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The ladder must be placed against the guardrail firmly or else otherwise it will fall.

(A) or else otherwise it will fall.
(B) so as not to fall.
(C) or else they fall.
(D) or else it will fall.
(E) or it will fall.
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Re: The ladder must be placed against the guardrail firmly or  [#permalink]

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16 Apr 2012, 09:29
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Hi all,
The ladder must be placed against the guardrail firmly or else otherwise it will fall.

(A)
or else otherwise it will fall: Incorrect. “or else” and “otherwise” mean the same thing. Usage of both the terms leads to redundancy error in the sentence.
(B) so as not to fall: Incorrect. Usage of idiom “so as to” is not proper here. Idiom “so as to” means “in order to”. This idiom is used to denote reason or the purpose of the action. However, this sentence talks about the contrary situation.
(C) or else they fall: Incorrect. Plural “they” has been used to refer to singular “ladder”.
(D) or else it will fall: Incorrect. Generally, the phrase “or else” is used to suggest an alternative.
(E) or it will fall: Correct.

Now, there is no ambiguity about the pronoun “it” in the correct answer choice. “it” grammatically and logically refers to “ladder” only. “The ladder” is in the subject position of the first clause so is “it” in the second clause. So grammatically “it” will refer to the subject of the preceding clause. Also, the only other noun preceding “it” is “the guardrail”. It is illogical to say that “guardrail” will fall because the sentence clearly mentions that “the ladder” is required to be put firmly. So the object that is unstable is the ladder. Hence, pronoun “it” has no ambiguity in this sentence.

1. A pronoun must agree in number with its antecedent.
2. A pronoun must refer to a LOGICAL antecedent.

Thanks.
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Manager
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20 Jan 2011, 08:50
I think 'B' is the answer as 'it' can refer to ladder or guardrail
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20 Jan 2011, 10:44
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Or else’ is used to mean ‘if not’ here. As per that usage, D should be perfect, since the choice will mean that the ladder must be placed against the guardrail firmly if not it will fall. IMO choice E does not bring out the ‘if not’ factor so explicitly. Can we know why E is preferred over D? I deem brevity is not the sole reason.
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20 Jan 2011, 10:45
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IMO E. Or else and otherwise have the same meaning so A,C,D are redundant. Between B and E - E is the better one.
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21 Jan 2011, 00:24
E is right in my opinion. we say "keep it safe or someone will take it", there is nothing wrong here. "keep it safe or else someone will take it" is also correct but unnecessary IMO.
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03 Feb 2011, 07:07
But, what is the antecedent of "it"?
Why in this case we don't have problems with the ambiguity in the antecedents?
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03 Feb 2011, 08:50
metallicafan wrote:
But, what is the antecedent of "it"?
Why in this case we don't have problems with the ambiguity in the antecedents?

Hm... I've read something about that. If it is very obvious what 'it' refers to then 'it' is not ambiguous, even though 'it' could refer to both the ladder and the rail. Not 100% sure though.

+1 E for me.
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Re: The ladder must be placed against the guardrail firmly or  [#permalink]

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17 Mar 2012, 18:58
I felt the same as daagh while choosing D over E.

Does this have to do with the absence of comma :

The ladder must be placed against the guardrail firmly, or else it will fall.

The ladder must be placed against the guardrail firmly or it will fall.

Which would you choose?
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Re: The ladder must be placed against the guardrail firmly or  [#permalink]

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17 Mar 2012, 19:07
raviram80 wrote:
Could someone please explain why is D wrong?

Thanks

I will try answering this. My take is that 'or else' is adding redundency of words here for the same meaning of 'Otherwise'. As Gmat prefers 3 C's (per MGMAT), my pick is E, short crisp and doest change the sentence.
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Re: The ladder must be placed against the guardrail firmly or  [#permalink]

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18 Mar 2012, 23:39
I was caught between B and D chose B but the answer is E
can someone pls explain the three options B/D/E

THANX
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Re: The ladder must be placed against the guardrail firmly or  [#permalink]

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19 Mar 2012, 13:22
B is incorrect because it wrongly implies some sort of intention on the part of the ladder. "So as to" implies consequences on the doer of the act.
D and E are both grammatically and logically correct but E is correct in fewer words and hence wins.
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Re: The ladder must be placed against the guardrail firmly or  [#permalink]

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19 Mar 2012, 15:48
I'd say D. "Else" fits perfectly here, because it puts emphasis on the hypothetical case that the ladder is not placed firmly.
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Re: The ladder must be placed against the guardrail firmly or  [#permalink]

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20 Mar 2012, 05:41
E is the right choice.
using both else and or is redundant
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Re: The ladder must be placed against the guardrail firmly or  [#permalink]

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16 Apr 2012, 07:25

This is a tricky question because there is ambiguity with the referent of "it."

Is this an OG or GMAT prep question?

Posted from GMAT ToolKit
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Re: The ladder must be placed against the guardrail firmly or  [#permalink]

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02 Oct 2018, 11:30
egmat wrote:
Hi all,
The ladder must be placed against the guardrail firmly or else otherwise it will fall.

(A)
or else otherwise it will fall: Incorrect. “or else” and “otherwise” mean the same thing. Usage of both the terms leads to redundancy error in the sentence.
(B) so as not to fall: Incorrect. Usage of idiom “so as to” is not proper here. Idiom “so as to” means “in order to”. This idiom is used to denote reason or the purpose of the action. However, this sentence talks about the contrary situation.
(C) or else they fall: Incorrect. Plural “they” has been used to refer to singular “ladder”.
(D) or else it will fall: Incorrect. Generally, the phrase “or else” is used to suggest an alternative.
(E) or it will fall: Correct.

Now, there is no ambiguity about the pronoun “it” in the correct answer choice. “it” grammatically and logically refers to “ladder” only. “The ladder” is in the subject position of the first clause so is “it” in the second clause. So grammatically “it” will refer to the subject of the preceding clause. Also, the only other noun preceding “it” is “the guardrail”. It is illogical to say that “guardrail” will fall because the sentence clearly mentions that “the ladder” is required to be put firmly. So the object that is unstable is the ladder. Hence, pronoun “it” has no ambiguity in this sentence.

1. A pronoun must agree in number with its antecedent.
2. A pronoun must refer to a LOGICAL antecedent.

Thanks.

Could you please elaborate more on option D? Isn't option D giving us an alternative for "or else" phrase? The alternative being that the ladder will fall? I am not understanding this part correctly. Could you please shed some light on this? Would greatly appreciate it!
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03 Oct 2018, 04:12
Usage of "else' in option D is redundant , its Action X or action Y kinda situation here !
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Re: The ladder must be placed against the guardrail firmly or  [#permalink]

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10 Mar 2019, 03:39
C is wrong because ‘they’ is a plural pronoun being used for a singular noun. A and D contain redundant words and phrases that make them needlessly wordy. B (so as to not fall) does not fit well here. I am pretty sure that E is the best choice
Re: The ladder must be placed against the guardrail firmly or   [#permalink] 10 Mar 2019, 03:39
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