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  1. They lack formal work arrangements and social security, and often earn too little to provide for their families, let alone climb the ladder of economic opportunity.

Or:

  1. They lack formal work arrangements and social security, and often earn too little to provide for their families, let alone climb the ladder of economic opportunities.

The original text is as 1), but I am thinking 2) could be better. Am I wrong?

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  • If you think it should be opportinities, why wouldn't you think it should be "ladders of economic opportunities"? You may answer your own question.
    – Peter
    Sep 22, 2018 at 15:56
  • Because this refers to one kind of ladder here, namely for people to become economically advantaged, but there are many opportunities to become rich or whatever.@Peter Sep 23, 2018 at 4:04

1 Answer 1

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the ladder of economic opportunity

The singular form of opportunity should be used here. The word refers to the general concept of opportunity rather than to any specific opportunity that one might encounter at any given time.

There is nothing technically wrong with saying ladder of opportunities, but native speakers are not likely to say that. Ladder of opportunities seems to refer to a number of specific opportunities. The figurative ladder refers to any and all opportunities, so we use the collective noun opportunity.

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