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Critical Reasoning: Argument Structure - Identifying the Conclusion without Clues

(1) Citizens in Country X are frequently complaining that lines in government offices are much longer now than they were 15 years ago. (2) No real measure of the length of the lines in government offices in Country X 15 years ago or today exists,  (3) but the citizens' complaints are almost certainly exaggerated, if not altogether unwarranted. (4) The number of government officials in Country X has quadrupled over the past 15 years whereas the number of citizens has only doubled. 

The argument's conclusion is in which sentence or sentence part?

Well done!


Sentence part 3 is the author's judgment, or opinion, on the matter, supported by the data in all the other sentences. Therefore, this portion can be identified as the conclusion.



Sentence 1 provides factual data so it's a premise. While the citizens' complaints are their opinions, notice that this sentence reports this as information (the citizens complain about this and that) and does not reveal the author's opinion.



Sentence part 2 provides factual data so it's a premise; it tells us that there's no data on a certain issue, and this is a fact.



Sentence 4 provides factual data so it's a premise; it gives us statistics about the numbers of officials and citizens.

Sentence 1
Sentence part 2
Sentence part 3
Sentence 4