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# To take the test, you need a pencil, paper, and a calculator.

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SC Moderator
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To take the test, you need a pencil, paper, and a calculator.  [#permalink]

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08 Jun 2019, 09:45
1
7
00:00

Difficulty:

45% (medium)

Question Stats:

35% (00:29) correct 65% (00:33) wrong based on 191 sessions

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To take the test, you need a pencil, paper, and calculator.

(A) a pencil, paper, and calculator

(B) a pencil, a paper, and a calculator

(C) a pencil, one paper, and the calculator

(D) the pencil, a paper, and a calculator

(E) a pencil, paper, and a calculator

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Re: To take the test, you need a pencil, paper, and a calculator.  [#permalink]

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08 Jun 2019, 10:57
1
MikeScarn wrote:
To take the test, you need a pencil, paper, and calculator.

(A) a pencil, paper, and calculator

(B) a pencil, a paper, and a calculator

(C) a pencil, one paper, and the calculator

(D) the pencil, a paper, and a calculator

(E) a pencil, paper, and a calculator

Confused between B and E
should remember that you do not need a paper (i.e one paper) but you need paper.
Hence E
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Re: To take the test, you need a pencil, paper, and a calculator.  [#permalink]

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12 Jun 2019, 14:06
Can anybody explain why it is not B?
A pencil, a paper and a calculator. All with article 'a', parallel and looks fine.

If it was 'a piece of paper' instead of 'a paper' in B, then would the answer be 'B'?
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Re: To take the test, you need a pencil, paper, and a calculator.  [#permalink]

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12 Jun 2019, 16:08
ishan261288 wrote:
Can anybody explain why it is not B?
A pencil, a paper and a calculator. All with article 'a', parallel and looks fine.

If it was 'a piece of paper' instead of 'a paper' in B, then would the answer be 'B'?

It's to do with meaning in this instance - paper is a bit of a weird noun because I suppose it can be viewed as a collective noun - you wouldn't say you need a paper therefore you can drop the 'a'
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Re: To take the test, you need a pencil, paper, and a calculator.  [#permalink]

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12 Jun 2019, 22:11
We use 'a paper' in colloquial language. We always say, I need a paper to write. I guess, we don't use 'a paper' in writing
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Re: To take the test, you need a pencil, paper, and a calculator.  [#permalink]

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13 Jun 2019, 02:13
ishan261288 wrote:
We use 'a paper' in colloquial language. We always say, I need a paper to write. I guess, we don't use 'a paper' in writing

Not true - in colloquial we would use 'a piece of paper' - hope that helps.
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To take the test, you need a pencil, paper, and a calculator.  [#permalink]

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13 Jun 2019, 03:15
What makes the difference among the options is , before and. The , + and means joining of two clauses.

For ex:
Wrong:I play and eat and I sing
Right: I play and eat, and I sing
Right: I play, eat and sing.

Hence E is correct.

Posted from my mobile device
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To take the test, you need a pencil, paper, and a calculator.  [#permalink]

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15 Jun 2019, 18:11
Logical parallelism is important here. You want to have a "singular" version of each item.

The tricky part is that paper is idiomatically different from pencil and calculator.

The word paper by itself is a singular metaphorical concept. "Paper" can stand alone by itself as that singular concept. To make a it concrete you need to refer to it in pieces - you can't have "a paper" or "one paper". You have "a piece of paper".

Pencil and calculator on the other hand, are already concrete objects. The words can't stand alone - you need to denote tense, and you do so for singular by adding the "a" in front of the word.
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To take the test, you need a pencil, paper, and a calculator.  [#permalink]

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17 Jun 2019, 03:21
@rakhesh1987, help me with this basic question and the tricky part. I dont think its a GMAT question
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Re: To take the test, you need a pencil, paper, and a calculator.  [#permalink]

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17 Jun 2019, 04:43
1
This one is quite tricky, but I´ll try to explain what sets "B" and "E" apart:

While "B" is tempting because it makes consistent use of "a" prior to each item, we have to focus on the items being compared.
While we actually need "a"/"one" Pen and "a"/"one" calculator there is also a need for paper (potentially more than a single sheet).
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To take the test, you need a pencil, paper, and a calculator.  [#permalink]

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17 Jun 2019, 05:17
2
prags1989 wrote:
@rakhesh1987, help me with this basic question and the tricky part. I dont think its a GMAT question

prags1989,

The answer lies in the nature of these products.
Pencil and calculator are countable nouns: 1 pencil, 2 pencil etc
Paper is uncountable: 1 sheet of paper, 2 sheets of paper etc. You never say 1 paper, 2 papers etc.

And articles a/an means 1, used for countable nouns. a pencil= 1 pencil.

Therefore, a will be used for pencil and calculator only, and not for paper.

answer is E) To take the test, you need a pencil, paper, and a calculator.

Please hit +1 Kudos if you liked the explanation.
To take the test, you need a pencil, paper, and a calculator.   [#permalink] 17 Jun 2019, 05:17
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