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Points to Remember

  1. Most argument questions hinge on determining the conclusion of the argument.
  2. To find the conclusion, check the final sentence of the argument. If the last sentence is not the conclusion, check the first sentence. Rarely does the conclusion come in the middle of the argument.
  3. Take the words and sentences in an argument literally.
  4. Some means “at least one and perhaps all.”
  5. Some of the most common conclusion flags are

hence

therefore

so

accordingly

thus

consequently

follows that

shows that

conclude that

implies

as a result

means that

  1. While conclusions are usually presented as statements, they can also be expressed as commands, obligations, questions, or even left unstated.
  2. The premises provide evidence for the conclusion; they form the foundation or infrastructure upon which the conclusion depends. To determine whether a statement is a premise, ask yourself whether it supports the conclusion. If so, it’s a premise.
  3. The following is a partial list of the most common premise indicators:

because

for

since

is evidence that

if

in that

as

owing to

suppose

inasmuch as

assume

may be derived from

  1. Often a key premise to an argument will be suppressed.
  2. To test whether an answer-choice is a suppressed premise, ask yourself whether it would make the argument more plausible. If so, then it is very likely a suppressed premise.
  3. A common argument question asks you to either strengthen or weaken an argument. Typically, these questions pivot on suppressed premises: to strengthen an argument, show that a suppressed premise is true; to weaken an argument, show that a suppressed premise is false.
  4. A counter-premise is a concession to a minor point that weakens your argument.
  5. The following are some of the most common counter-premise indicators.

but

despite

admittedly

except

even though

nonetheless

nevertheless

although

however

in spite of the fact





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