QUESTION TEXT: Editorial: Cell-phone usage on buses and trains…
QUESTION TYPE: Role in Argument
CONCLUSION: We shouldn’t allow cell phones on airplanes.
REASONING: Cell phones are annoying on buses and trains, and they would be even more annoying on planes. This is because airplanes are crowded and you can’t change seats.
ANALYSIS: This question can be difficult if you depend on trigger words to decide whether something is a premise or a conclusion. The sentence in question is an intermediate conclusion, but there are no keywords to let you know that.
Instead, you need to ask: why are they telling me this? Don’t be a robot, as one of my students says. Think about the plain English meaning of the argument.
Cell phones are annoying on planes, so this sentence is evidence for the main conclusion: don’t allow cellphones on the planes. The last two sentences are evidence for the sentence itself. Cell phones are annoying on planes because planes are crowded and you can’t change seats. So the statement is an intermediate conclusion. It’s supported by some statements, and it supports the main conclusion.
- Not quite. The main conclusion is that we shouldn’t allow cell phones on planes, because they’d be even more annoying than on buses.
- The entire argument talks about how cell phones are annoying, and especially annoying on planes.
- This description is true of the last two sentences, if you consider an intermediate conclusion a premise. But the sentence we’re talking about directly supports the conclusion.
- CORRECT. The sentence is supported by the argument, and it supports the conclusion. Cellphones are more annoying on planes. Why? Because planes are crowded. What does this let us conclude? Don’t allow cellphones on planes.
- The entire argument is about cell phones on planes and whether they are annoying. So it seems relevant that phones are more annoying on planes than on buses.
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