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Inference From Passage

An Inference is the act or process of deriving logical conclusions from premises known or assumed to be true. It is the reasoning involved in drawing a conclusion or making a logical judgment on the basis of circumstantial evidence and prior conclusions rather than on the basis of direct observation.

Format of the question

Directions

Given will be a passage followed by several inferences based upon it. You have to examine the passage carefully and then decide the validity of each of the inference. Mark answer,

  1. If the inference is definitely true;
  2. If the inference is probably true;
  3. If the data are inadequate, i.e, in the light of the given passage, you cannot say whether the inference is likely to be true or false;
  4. If the inference is probably false; and
  5. If the inference is definitely false.
 
The conclusion of your analysis is that the main area of difficulty in solving such questions is the possibility of a confusion between two similar choices. These possibilities are depicted pictorially in the figure below.
 
Description: Inference Pic.png
 
In this lesson, we shall have special emphasis upon these confusion areas which will follow an overall study of the technique of solving such questions.

How to avoid confusion while deriving inferences

We have seen that a given inference can, sometimes, be very easily evaluated because it is almost explicitly stated in the passage. At other times, we may have to apply a little logic while evaluating a given inference because the inference may be only indirectly related to the passage. While doing this, we need to pay some special attention to some key words because they may provide the key to the answer.
 
But we are likely to get confused sometimes, specially if the questions are tough. As already stated there are four main possibilities of confusion. Here are some tips so that you overcome the confusion easily.
  1. Definitely true or Probably true?
This confusion may arise if the given inference is not directly stated in the passage and yet appears ‘almost’ definitely true to you. But since it is not directly or explicitly state you hesitate and think that even ‘probably true’ could be correct.
 
If the inference is not mentioned directly in the passage, then you must have assumed something ‘extra to come to this conclusion. Now ask yourself this question. “Is this extra assumption universally true?” Or “Can it never be false?” If you get ‘yes’ for the first question and ‘no, never’ for the second, accept is as definitely true. Otherwise, choose ‘probably true’.
  1. Definitely false or probably False?
This confusion may arise if the given inference is not directly stated in the passage and yet appears ‘almost’ definitely false to you. But since the related thing is not explicitly mentioned, you hesitate and think that ever ‘probably false may be correct.
 
If the opposite of the inference is not mentioned directly in the passage, then you must have assumed something ‘extra’ to come to this conclusion. Now ask yourself this question: “Is this assumption universally true?” or “Can it never be false?” If you get ‘Yes’ for the first question and ‘no, never‘ for the second, the choose definitely false as your answer. Otherwise, pick probably false.
  1. Data Inadequate or Probably True?
This confusion arises when an inference is drawn indirectly from the passage. Since it is not explicitly mentioned, you think that the data are inadequate, and that sufficient information has not been provided to come to the conclusion. However, the inference appears to you in tune with the general ‘tone’ of the passage and, hence, you are tempted to opt for probably true.
 
You can declare an inference probably true, if with the help of the given passage and some extra assumption, the inference appears likely to be true. Thus, you can somehow convince yourself that the inference is likely to be true. On the other hand, you convince yourself that the inference is likely to be true. On the other hand, you can declare that data are inadequate if no definite conclusion seems to be coming from the passage even with the help of some extra assumption. Thus, in this case, you cannot convince yourself that the inference is likely to be true or false.
  1. Data Inadequate or Probably False?
This confusion arises when the inference is drawn indirectly from the passage. Since it is not explicitly stated, you think that the data are inadequate, that insufficient information has been provided to come to a definite conclusion. However, the inference appears to you in contradiction with the general ‘tone’ of the passage and, hence you are tempted to choose ‘probably false’ as your answer.
 
To avoid this confusion, recheck your reasoning. You can declare an inference probably false only if you can find a reasonable assumption, combining which with what is stated in the passage the inference appears likely to be false. Thus, you can somehow convince yourself that the inference is likely to be false. On the other hand, you should choose the choice ‘data are inadequate’ only if you cannot find any acceptable assumption which, combined with what is stated in the passage, may lead to some definite conclusion. In this case, you cannot convince yourself whether the inference is likely to be true or false.




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