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Critical Reasoning: Know Thy Argument

Critical Reasoning in Verbal Aptitude consists of an 'Argument' followed by a 'Question' to be answered on the basis of argument. Lesson 1 here focuses on structure of an Argument.

The image on the left shows the various parts that an argument may have.

Let us understand them in detail:

PREMISE:

  • This is one of the main parts of the argument and is present in every argument. There can be more than one premise in an argument.
  • Premise always supports the conclusion.
  • Indicators of premise are words or phrases such as because of, since, due to, and as a result of.
  • Premise can be an opinion or a fact, can be a historical information or description, statistical or numerical data, or a comparison.

CONCLUSION

  • It is the author's main opinion or claim. It can be in a prediction, a judg­ement of merit or quality, or a statement.
  • It is supported by at least one premise.
  • Indicators of conclusion are - therefore, hence, thus, so, and consequently.

BACKGROUND

  • It is just a background and not an important part of the main argument.
  • It’s given to help us understand the main argument.
  • Generally background is fact-based though it can be in almost any form (Numerical data, historical information, descriptions, definitions of concepts/idea  and so on).

Here is an example:

COUNTER PREMISE

  • It is optional, as in sometimes given in an argument and sometimes not.
  • It opposes or goes against the authors conclusion.
  • It is mostly a trap. If not understood properly then it may change your understanding of the conclusion. It may look like a premise but is actually opposite of premise as it goes against the conclusion.
  • The indicators of counterpoint are - but, however, yet, except, apart from, other than, besides, aside from, with the exception of, short of, barring, excepting, excluding, omitting, leaving out, etc.

Yes, it is that simple. In our Lesson 2, we will understand the various categories of questions that you can find in CAT. 


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