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Please rate my Argument essey! I'm a non-native, need help!

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Please rate my Argument essey! I'm a non-native, need help! [#permalink] New post 16 Jul 2012, 12:00
The following appeared as part of an editorial in an industry newsletter.
“While trucking companies that deliver goods pay only a portion of highway maintenance costs and no property tax on the highways they use, railways spend billions per year maintaining and upgrading their facilities. The government should lower the railroad companies’ property taxes, since sending goods by rail is clearly a more appropriate mode of ground transportation than highway shipping. For one thing, trains consume only a third of the fuel a truck would use to carry the same load, making them a more cost-effective and environmentally sound mode of transport. Furthermore, since rail lines already exist, increases in rail traffic would not require building new lines at the expense of taxpaying citizens.”



The argument claims that the government should lower the railroad companies’ since sending goods by rail is a more appropriate way of ground transportation than highway shipping. To support this claim the argument has several reasons: railways spend billions per year for maintaining and upgrading their facilities while trucks pay only a portion of highway maintenance and no property tax on the use of highways, trains consume only a third of the fuel a truck would use to carry the same load making it more cost-effective and environmentally sound mode of transport and increases in rail traffic would not require building new lines since rail lines already exist. Stated in this way the argument manipulates the facts and conveys a distorted view of the situation. The conclusion of the argument relies on assumptions for which there is no clear evidence. Hence, the argument is weak and has several flaws.


First, the argument readily assumes that railroad companies spend much more money on maintenance of their facilities that the trucking companies do for highway maintenance. The argument is a stretch since this claim in not sufficiently substantiated by the evidence. For example, it is possible that trucking companies pay much more for the maintenance of the highways than the railroad companies for the maintenance of the railroad. Clearly, the argument is unconvincing and need to be strengthened. The argument could have been much clearer if it showed the evidence that the railroad companies spend much more money on maintenance than the trucking companies do.


Second, the argument states that trucks use three times more fuel that trains do. This is again very weak and unsupported claim as the argument relies on assumption for which there is no any evidence. To illustrate, new types of trucks are much more fuel efficient that the old ones and it is possible that trucks use the same, if not, the smaller amount of fuel per mile. If the argument had provided the evidence that trucks actually use much more fuel compared to trains then the argument would have been a lot more convincing.


Finally, do railroad companies spend more money on maintenance? Do trains use smaller amount of fuel for transportation that trucks? Without convincing answers to these question, one is left with the impression that the claim is more of a wishful thinking rather than substantive evidence.


In conclusion, the argument is flawed for the above mentioned reasons and is therefore unconvincing. It could be considerably strengthened if the author clearly mentioned all the relevant facts such as the exact amount of money that the railroad companies spends for maintenance compared to trucking companies and which type of transportation is more fuel efficient. Without this information, the argument remains unsubstantiated and open to debate.
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Re: Please rate my Argument essey! I'm a non-native, need help! [#permalink] New post 17 Jul 2012, 08:05
Expert's post
Stiv wrote:
The following appeared as part of an editorial in an industry newsletter.
“While trucking companies that deliver goods pay only a portion of highway maintenance costs and no property tax on the highways they use, railways spend billions per year maintaining and upgrading their facilities. The government should lower the railroad companies’ property taxes, since sending goods by rail is clearly a more appropriate mode of ground transportation than highway shipping. For one thing, trains consume only a third of the fuel a truck would use to carry the same load, making them a more cost-effective and environmentally sound mode of transport. Furthermore, since rail lines already exist, increases in rail traffic would not require building new lines at the expense of taxpaying citizens.”



The argument claims that the government should lower the railroad companies’ since sending goods by rail is a more appropriate way of ground transportation than highway shipping. To support this claim the argument has several reasons: railways spend billions per year for maintaining and upgrading their facilities while trucks pay only a portion of highway maintenance and no property tax on the use of highways, trains consume only a third of the fuel a truck would use to carry the same load making it more cost-effective and environmentally sound mode of transport and increases in rail traffic would not require building new lines since rail lines already exist. Stated in this way the argument manipulates the facts and conveys a distorted view of the situation. The conclusion of the argument relies on assumptions for which there is no clear evidence. Hence, the argument is weak and has several flaws.


First, the argument readily assumes that railroad companies spend much more money on maintenance of their facilities that the trucking companies do for highway maintenance. The argument is a stretch since this claim in not sufficiently substantiated by the evidence. For example, it is possible that trucking companies pay much more for the maintenance of the highways than the railroad companies for the maintenance of the railroad. Clearly, the argument is unconvincing and need to be strengthened. The argument could have been much clearer if it showed the evidence that the railroad companies spend much more money on maintenance than the trucking companies do.


Second, the argument states that trucks use three times more fuel that trains do. This is again very weak and unsupported claim as the argument relies on assumption for which there is no any evidence. To illustrate, new types of trucks are much more fuel efficient that the old ones and it is possible that trucks use the same, if not, the smaller amount of fuel per mile. If the argument had provided the evidence that trucks actually use much more fuel compared to trains then the argument would have been a lot more convincing.


Finally, do railroad companies spend more money on maintenance? Do trains use smaller amount of fuel for transportation that trucks? Without convincing answers to these question, one is left with the impression that the claim is more of a wishful thinking rather than substantive evidence.


In conclusion, the argument is flawed for the above mentioned reasons and is therefore unconvincing. It could be considerably strengthened if the author clearly mentioned all the relevant facts such as the exact amount of money that the railroad companies spends for maintenance compared to trucking companies and which type of transportation is more fuel efficient. Without this information, the argument remains unsubstantiated and open to debate.
2

This is a good first effort, especially for a non-native speaker. But the problem here isn't English--it's understanding your assigned task.

Your task on the AWA is not to contradict that author's explicit evidence. It isn't helpful to do so, since you can't compellingly cite your own facts in a 30 minute essay; moreover, it doesn't illustrate any critical thinking skills on your part, since no GMAT AWA prompt will properly cite it's facts--there isn't room!

Rather, your goal is to look for holes in logic and counterexamples to the author's reasoning. What are situations in which trucks are more useful than trains? What are the hidden costs of trains, and the hidden savings of trucking, that the author is failing to consider? If we cut gave savings to trains, would truckers cut back in number of shipments, or would they cut harmful corners to keep costs down and make ends meet?

It's important that you understand the task on this essay to succeed. Take a look at the sticky threads at the top of this page and the examples in the OG, get a better sense of what you need to be doing, and give it another go. Good luck!
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Senior Manager
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Re: Please rate my Argument essey! I'm a non-native, need help! [#permalink] New post 17 Jul 2012, 12:37
Thank you a lot!
Since I am taking the GMAT on the 1st of August, could you give me some advice on how to break the argument quickly and reasonably.
I would be very grateful.
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Re: Please rate my Argument essey! I'm a non-native, need help! [#permalink] New post 17 Jul 2012, 13:03
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Expert's post
Stiv wrote:
Thank you a lot!
Since I am taking the GMAT on the 1st of August, could you give me some advice on how to break the argument quickly and reasonably.
I would be very grateful.

Arguments are a fundamental part of the GMAT--they're vital for Critical Reasoning and your Verbal sectional score, not just your essay. If you aren't comfortable with them, i recommend reviewing a book such as Kaplan GMAT Premier 2013 for a thorough analysis of the parts of an argument and how to approach them.

But to start you off, here's a short video that might help!
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Concentration: Finance, Economics
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Kudos [?]: 34 [0], given: 102

Re: Please rate my Argument essey! I'm a non-native, need help! [#permalink] New post 17 Jul 2012, 13:07
Actually how to quickly learn to break the argument! :)
I'm quite short on time. Thank you!
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Re: Please rate my Argument essey! I'm a non-native, need help! [#permalink] New post 19 Jul 2012, 08:20
Expert's post
Stiv wrote:
Actually how to quickly learn to break the argument! :)
I'm quite short on time. Thank you!
Hi Stiv,

Start with the video--but unfortunately, breaking arguments is a tough skill, you can learn the basics but it's hard to summarize in something you can learn in only a few days.
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Re: Please rate my Argument essey! I'm a non-native, need help!   [#permalink] 19 Jul 2012, 08:20
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Please rate my Argument essey! I'm a non-native, need help!

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