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Critical Reasoning: Boldface Type Questions

Country Y has been threatening the existence of its neighbor, Country X, by performing military operations against it. The leaders of Country X claim that military service must be made obligatory so that national security is guaranteed in the face of threats from Country Y or any other nation. It has been proven that a strong military front must be backed by a sturdy economy. Obligatory military service will lead to the recruitment of engineers, researchers, administrators and other personnel, weakening the economy. Although the army will be smaller in number, obligatory service should be avoided as this way Country X will have a stronger economy and, therefore, a better defense against Country Y.

In the argument, the two portions in boldface play which of the following roles?

Incorrect.

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While this answer choice defines the first boldface part correctly, it defines the second incorrectly. The word evidence refers to factual findings. The second boldface portion cannot be referred to as evidence since it provides a recommendation for a future situation - obligatory service should be avoided, as ...will have a stronger economy.

Incorrect.

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The boldface portions both support the idea that obligatory service will weaken the economy: the first portion outright claims this to be the case, and the second boldface concludes that therefore compulsory service should be avoided so as not to weaken the economy. Therefore, it is incorrect to say that they oppose each other, as this answer choice does.

Let's review the explanation. Why is this answer choice incorrect?

Incorrect.

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The argument's position (as seen in the conclusion) does not support the action and result presented by the first boldface portion. You can immediately eliminate answer choices that incorrectly define the first boldface part; do not waste time reading the rest.

Very well done!

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The first boldface portion is an explanation of what may happen (negative outcomes of obligatory service) which serves as the basis for the conclusion (advising against obligatory service) mentioned in the second boldface portion.

Not true. The first portion is defined correctly: a prediction is a possible scenario. The prediction about the negative outcomes of obligatory recruitment is the basis for the argument's favored position - which is that obligatory recruitment should be avoided.

This answer choice is a strong distractor because it describes both portions correctly but incorrectly defines the logical relationship between them.

Remember that we can eliminate answer choices in two ways: we can (a) rule out answer choices that do not characterize the portions correctly (what the portion is), or (b) we can rule out answer choices that don't identify the logical relationship between the portions correctly (what the portion does).

In this case, we used method (b): we noticed that the relationship between the portions was incorrectly defined: since portion b is a conclusion it cannot counter the reasoning of the prediction that supports it.

Not quite accurate. The second portion is described incorrectly, not defined incorrectly. The answer choice doesn't tell us what the second portion is (a conclusion, prediction etc.), but what it does - it counters (=opposes) the reasoning.  To evaluate this answer choice we should focus on the logical relationship between the first and second portions.

In this case, we noticed that the relationship between the portions was incorrectly defined: since portion b is a conclusion it cannot counter the reasoning of the prediction that supports it.

Exactly right.

Remember that we can eliminate answer choices in two ways: we can (a) rule out answer choices that do not characterize the portions correctly (what the portion is), or (b) we can rule out answer choices that don't identify the logical relationship between the portions correctly (what the portion does).

In this case, we used method (b): we noticed that the relationship between the portions was incorrectly defined: since portion b is a conclusion it cannot counter the reasoning of the prediction that supports it.

Incorrect.

[[snippet]]

While this answer choice defines the first boldface part correctly, it describes the second incorrectly. The second boldface portion is the argument's conclusion (position) and cannot, therefore, counter its own reasoning. The boldface portions both support the idea that obligatory service will weaken the economy: the first portion outright claims this to be the case, and the second boldface concludes that therefore compulsory service should be avoided so as not to weaken the economy. Therefore, it is incorrect to say that they oppose each other, as this answer choice does.

The first is a prediction that forms a basis for the main position of the argument; the second is further evidence supporting this position.
The first is an explanation in support of the argument's conclusion; the second is that conclusion.
The first is a statement that opposes the conclusion presented by the argument; the second weighs against this opposition.
The first is a possible scenario used as a basis for the reasoning of the argument's favored position; the second counters this reasoning.
The first presents the result and an action supported by the position of the argument; the second is that position.
It defines both portions incorrectly.
It defines the first portion incorrectly and the second portion correctly.
It describes both portions correctly, but incorrectly defines the relationship between them.
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