Coupon Accepted Successfully!


Symbols/Record Keeping

The ability to symbolize sentences is one of the most important skills you need to develop for the LSAT.
A good symbol is complete; it summarizes all the relevant information in the sentence. It is succinct. And it is functional, easy to use. The last condition makes creating symbols an art. A good symbol helps you organize your thoughts and frees your mind from the fetters of indecision.

Five basic symbols are used throughout this book. They are










If..., then...

(  )


  1. The ampersand symbol, &, connects two statements of equal rank. The two statements
“Rob sits next to Jane” and “Susan sits next to Adam”
can be translated as
(RJ) & (SA)
Two statements joined by “&” will be true as a group only when both are true.
  1. The symbol “or” also connects two statements of equal rank. The above statement can be symbolized using “or” as
(RJ) or (SA)
For an or-statement to be true, only one of the two statements need be true, though both can be.
For example, the statement “it is raining” or “it is not raining” is true even though one of the statements must be false. This makes an or-statement much weaker than an &-statement.
  1. Placing ~ in front of any true statement makes the statement false, and vice versa. The symbol can be read as “it is not the case that.” For example, the symbol ~(RJ) translates as “it is not the case that R sits next to J.”
  2. The if..., then... symbol (—>) causes much consternation, even though we are rarely confused by its meaning in everyday speech. It is true in all cases, except when the statement on the left side is true and the statement on the right side is false. *As mentioned in the section Logical Connectives “if P, then Q” is logically equivalent to “if not Q, then not P”; the latter is the contrapositive.
For example, the statement
“if it is sunny, then Biff is at the beach”
is logically equivalent to
“if Biff is not at the beach, then it is not sunny.”
Sometimes you can use this equivalency to simplify a convoluted condition. For example, the condition “if Jane does not go, then Steve will not go” can be simplified to “if Steve goes, then Jane goes,” or in symbols
  1. Parentheses clarify a symbol statement’s meaning in the same way that commas clarify sentences. The symbol statement A&B—>C is ambiguous; we don’t know whether it means
Sometimes parentheses are used even when they are not truly needed.
For example, the symbol statement ~A&B is not technically ambiguous; however, it is less likely to be misread when written (~A)&B. Now clearly the negation applies only to the A.

Test Your Skills Now!
Take a Quiz now
Reviewer Name