# Understand the basics of Inequality

By Akanksha|Updated : October 24th, 2016

Dear Aspirants,

As you all are well aware, Inequality, whether coded or direct forms an important topic of the Reasoning Ability section. 5 questions from Direct inequality have been asked in the preliminary phase of  the IBPS PO Exam 2016. This topic is comparatively less time consuming and scoring at the same time, hence, having a clear idea of the basics of this topic is a must.

Under this topic, few statements are provided which provide the relationship between some variables, followed by some conclusions and you need to figure out which of the conclusions provided  are in accordance with the statements and answer accordingly.
Before moving on to the types of question that you may encounter under this topic, first let us have a quick look over the meaning of different symbols. Now, you may come across a number of conditions under this topic such as -

1. When the signs face in the same direction for all the given variables. For instance, for 3 variables, following cases are possible -

• A > B > C - Here, A > B, B > C and A > C hold true
• A > B ≥ C - Here, A > B, B > C, B = C and A > C hold true (A ≥ C would be wrong)
• A ≥ B > C - Here A > B, A = B, A > C and B > C hold true
• A ≥ B ≥ C - Here A > B, A > C, B > C, A = B, B = C and A = C hold true
• A > B = C - Here A > B, A > C and B = C hold true
• A ≥ B = C - Here, A > B, A > C, B = C and A = C hold true
• A = B > C - Here, A = B, A > C and B > C hold true
• A = B ≥ C - Here, A > C, A = B, A = C, B > C and B = C hold true

2. When the sign among the given variables changes. A number of cases may be formed in this case. For instance,

• A > B < C - Here, A > B and C > B hold true. No relationship can be established between A and C.
• A ≥ B < C - Here following conclusions may be drawn -
(a) A > B and C > B hold true. No relationship can be established between A and C.
(b) C > B and C > A when  A = B hold true.
• A ≥ B ≤ C - Here, following conclusions may be drawn -
(a) A > B, C > B and no relationship can be established between A and C.
(b) A = C when B = C
(c) A > B and A > C when  B = C
(d) C > B and C > A when A = B
• A > B ≤ C - Here following are possible -
(a) A > B, C > B and no relationship can be established between A and C.
(b) A > B and A > C when B = C
• A < B > C - Here B > A and B > C hold true. No relationship can be established between A and C.
• A ≤ B > C - here following are possible -
(a) B > A and B > C hold true. No relationship can be established between A and C.
(b) B > C and A > C when A = B
• A < B ≥ C - here following are possible -
(a) B > A and B > C hold true. No relationship can be established between A and C.
(b) B > A and C > A when B = C
• A ≤ B ≥ C - here following are possible -
(a) B > A and B > C hold true. No relationship can be established between A and C.
(b) B > A and C > A when B = C
(c) B > C and A > C when A = B

3. The case of either/or -

Consider the following statement - A > B < C = D ≤ E. For such case, no relationship can be established between A and E directly. However if conclusions are provided as -
Conclusion I . A > E
Conclusion II D < B
Conclusion III. A ≤ E
For this case, clearly, Conclusion II is wrong. However for I and III, either of the two will follow because for two given variables, either one of the following will be true -
(a) A > E
(b) A < E
(c) A = E
Hence either I or III will follow.

Key takeaways of the topic -

• If similar sign is present between the variables, relationship can be established between them. For instance, A > B > C ≥ D  ≥ E, here relationship can be determined for all the given variables.
• However, make sure that the similar sign does not break while drawing answer from the conclusions provided. Take the above example, A > B > C ≥ D  ≥ E, Here A > D or A > E would be correct but A ≥ D or A ≥ E would be wrong because the sign > breaks the continuity and is replaced by ≥ in the given statement.
• Whenever the signs between the variables change for a given statement, relationship cannot be established unless a case of either/ or is given in the conclusion.

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