January 25, 2016 at 11:34 am #1385
I’m having some trouble understanding why C is a better answer than A. In the stimulus, we are only told that mystery stories “often” have these characteristics. I know that “most” is a very strong wrong (answer choice A), and one that test-takers should be alert about.
But why can we reasonably infer that “Some mystery stories” are able to help readers (answer choice C)? Is it because we can infer from the stimulus, that when mystery stories “often” have these qualities, that there must be at least some (some amount more than 0) mystery stories that give readers enough clues to solve them?
I’m trying to get a more solid grasp of words like “some”, “most”, “often”, etc. and what I can infer from these words.
January 25, 2016 at 11:54 am #1386
Yes, A is wrong because ‘most’ means greater than 50%, whereas ‘often’ just means greater than one. This means that we know that some mystery stories feature a brilliant detective who solves the mystery presented in the story, but we have no idea whether or not this happens in more than half of all mystery stories.
Similar to ‘often’ (and ‘many’), ‘some’ simply means more than one. So, if mystery stories often give readers enough clues to infer the correct solution to the mystery, this means that some mystery stories give readers enough clues to infer the correct solution to the mystery. This is why C is correct.
While we’re on the topic: The LSAT likes to trick people into making bad inferences when they see the word ‘many’. ‘Many’ means more than one, but it doesn’t necessarily mean more than 50%. So make sure to distinguish between ‘many’ (more than one, but we have no idea how many) and ‘most’ (more than 50%).
January 29, 2016 at 8:56 am #1414LSAT DanParticipant
Danny’s explanation, particularly the last paragraph, is very good; I always tell students to be suspicious of the word “many.” For instance, you probably think that smoking causes cancer; the (accurate) observations that “Many” people smoke and don’t get answer, and “Many” people who don’t smoke still get cancer probably don’t change your mind.
However, one quick correction/clarification – on the LSAT, “some” doesn’t have to be plural. “Some” means at least one, not necessarily “more than” one.
February 2, 2016 at 12:21 pm #1479
Thanks for the clarification Dan!
Also, Dan and Danny– and any other LSAT experts– do you have any suggestions on how to get more practice with questions with quantifiers? For example, PT40-S1-Q8– where we are asked inferences based on statements of “most”, “some”, etc. I’m finding that these questions take me a long time, and I would like more practice with them.
February 2, 2016 at 7:50 pm #1482
Here’s a few more pre-40 that you might find helpful to work through:
PT 29 Section 1 Question 4
PT 30 Section 2 Question 16
PT 32 Section 4 Question 10
PT 33 Section 1 Question 7
PT 33 Section 3 Question 8
PT 34 Section 2 Question 10
PT 36 Section 1 Question 4
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