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He put the keys ... the lock after taking it ... her bag.

Options:

  • into, out of
  • into, from

My approach: I am confused between out of and from.

Reason: Both have the same sense when it used in the sentence.

I also could not relate meaning from the meaning of the prepositions.

Can anyone guide me how to approach the problem?

  • "He put the key into the lock after taking it out from her bag." – Usernew Oct 10 '15 at 15:41
  • Did "he" take "the lock" (out of/from) "her bag" or "the keys"? If you lean toward the latter, read the sentence again and think of pronouns. – Victor Bazarov Oct 11 '15 at 0:11
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"Out of" and "from" mean the same thing in that context. There is no right answer. And yes, it is ambiguous whether he took the lock or the keys from the bag. One would assume keys, because who carries a lock around in a purse? However, another issue is that you don't put keys (plural) into a lock, you put a key (singular). That adds to the confusion/ambiguity here because "it" is a singular pronoun.

  • I might change it "taking them from / out of her bag" I think that emphasizes that it was the keys, not the lock, which were removed. – Andy Oct 13 '15 at 0:57
  • Agreed, but it's an unusual lock indeed that requires multiple keys. Did he really put keys into the lock, or just a key? – whywasinotconsulted Oct 14 '15 at 1:16

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