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Why is the ladder more expensive than the diamond?

In the joke, “What’s more expensive, a ladder or a diamond,” the response is “the latter.” This is a play on words. The ladder (l.a.d.d.e.r.) is less expensive than a diamond. Since the Diamond was named last, it’s position in the sentence makes it the latter, l.a.t.t.e.r., or last thing described.

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