1974 AHSME Problems/Problem 13


Which of the following is equivalent to "If P is true, then Q is false."?

$\mathrm{(A)\ } \text{``P is true or Q is false."} \qquad$

$\mathrm{(B) \ }\text{``If Q is false then P is true."} \qquad$

$\mathrm{(C) \  } \text{``If P is false then Q is true."} \qquad$

$\mathrm{(D) \  } \text{``If Q is true then P is false."} \qquad$

$\mathrm{(E) \  }\text{``If Q is true then P is true."} \qquad$


Remember that a statement is logically equivalent to its contrapositive, which is formed by first negating the hypothesis and conclusion and then switching them. In this case, the contrapositive of "If P is true, then Q is false." is "If Q is true, then P is false." $\boxed{\text{D}}$

The fact that a statement's contrapositive is logically equivalent to it can easily be seen from a venn diagram arguement.

[asy] draw(circle((0,0),3)); draw(circle((-1,1),1)); label("$q$",(1,-1)); label("$p$",(-1,1)); [/asy]

From this venn diagram, clearly "If $p$, then $q$." is true. However, since $p$ is fully contained in $q$, the statement "If not $q$, then not $p$." is also true, and so a statement and its contrapositive are equivalent.

See Also

1974 AHSME (ProblemsAnswer KeyResources)
Preceded by
Problem 12
Followed by
Problem 14
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