Pros and Cons Versus Compare and Contrast : GMAT Reading Comprehension (RC)
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# Pros and Cons Versus Compare and Contrast

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Intern
Joined: 23 Sep 2008
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Pros and Cons Versus Compare and Contrast [#permalink]

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17 Sep 2012, 09:56
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Pros and Cons Versus Compare and Contrast

I usually get confused when the main point of a passage has two of its answer choices mentioning as below:

1) "The author is discussing the pros and cons of the theories "
2) "The author is comparing and contrasting the theories "

Could someone please explain the exact meaning & their appropriate usages with relevant examples ?
If you have any questions
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Magoosh GMAT Instructor
Joined: 28 Dec 2011
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Re: Pros and Cons Versus Compare and Contrast [#permalink]

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19 Sep 2012, 12:34
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Expert's post
monsoon1 wrote:
Pros and Cons Versus Compare and Contrast

I usually get confused when the main point of a passage has two of its answer choices mentioning as below:

1) "The author is discussing the pros and cons of the theories "
2) "The author is comparing and contrasting the theories "

Could someone please explain the exact meaning & their appropriate usages with relevant examples ?

I'm happy to help with this.

Let's make this specific and concrete, for clarity. Let say, for the sake of argument, we are discussing President Clinton's foreign policy over his 8 year term.

If I discuss the pros and cons of President Clinton's foreign policy, then I am only discussing President Clinton's foreign policy and no other foreign policy. I am comparing the good parts, the strengths, of President Clinton's foreign policy to the weakness & oversights & shortcomings of this same policy. The entire focus is just on President Clinton's foreign policy, the good and the bad about that one policy. I am just looking at that one thing.

If am asked to compare and contrast President Clinton's foreign policy, then I am necessarily comparing it to something else (often, that other thing would be specified in both the RC passage and in the question). For example, I could compare and contrast President Clinton's foreign policy with the foreign policy of Reagan, or GW Bush, or Eisenhower, or Truman, etc. etc. I could even compare and contrast President Clinton's foreign policy with the foreign policy of some other contemporary world leader --- Mitterand, John Major, Yeltsin, Deng Xiaoping, etc. etc. Compare and contrast necessarily involves looking at President Clinton's foreign policy in relation to some other foreign policy. I have to look at more than one thing.

Pros & cons happen within, but compare & contrast happens between.
Pros & cons focus on the good vs. the bad of a single thing.
Compare & contrast necessarily involves at least two different things.

Does that make sense?

Mike
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Mike McGarry
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Re: Pros and Cons Versus Compare and Contrast [#permalink]

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20 Sep 2012, 19:02
mikemcgarry wrote:
monsoon1 wrote:
Pros and Cons Versus Compare and Contrast

I usually get confused when the main point of a passage has two of its answer choices mentioning as below:

1) "The author is discussing the pros and cons of the theories "
2) "The author is comparing and contrasting the theories "

Could someone please explain the exact meaning & their appropriate usages with relevant examples ?

I'm happy to help with this.

Let's make this specific and concrete, for clarity. Let say, for the sake of argument, we are discussing President Clinton's foreign policy over his 8 year term.

If I discuss the pros and cons of President Clinton's foreign policy, then I am only discussing President Clinton's foreign policy and no other foreign policy. I am comparing the good parts, the strengths, of President Clinton's foreign policy to the weakness & oversights & shortcomings of this same policy. The entire focus is just on President Clinton's foreign policy, the good and the bad about that one policy. I am just looking at that one thing.

If am asked to compare and contrast President Clinton's foreign policy, then I am necessarily comparing it to something else (often, that other thing would be specified in both the RC passage and in the question). For example, I could compare and contrast President Clinton's foreign policy with the foreign policy of Reagan, or GW Bush, or Eisenhower, or Truman, etc. etc. I could even compare and contrast President Clinton's foreign policy with the foreign policy of some other contemporary world leader --- Mitterand, John Major, Yeltsin, Deng Xiaoping, etc. etc. Compare and contrast necessarily involves looking at President Clinton's foreign policy in relation to some other foreign policy. I have to look at more than one thing.

Pros & cons happen within, but compare & contrast happens between.
Pros & cons focus on the good vs. the bad of a single thing.
Compare & contrast necessarily involves at least two different things.

Does that make sense?

Mike

Thank You Mike! +1 Kudos

Thanks again for the lucid explanation ! Very much clear now!
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Re: Pros and Cons Versus Compare and Contrast [#permalink]

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24 Sep 2012, 19:14
mikemcgarry wrote:
monsoon1 wrote:
Pros and Cons Versus Compare and Contrast

I usually get confused when the main point of a passage has two of its answer choices mentioning as below:

1) "The author is discussing the pros and cons of the theories "
2) "The author is comparing and contrasting the theories "

Could someone please explain the exact meaning & their appropriate usages with relevant examples ?

I'm happy to help with this.

Let's make this specific and concrete, for clarity. Let say, for the sake of argument, we are discussing President Clinton's foreign policy over his 8 year term.

If I discuss the pros and cons of President Clinton's foreign policy, then I am only discussing President Clinton's foreign policy and no other foreign policy. I am comparing the good parts, the strengths, of President Clinton's foreign policy to the weakness & oversights & shortcomings of this same policy. The entire focus is just on President Clinton's foreign policy, the good and the bad about that one policy. I am just looking at that one thing.

If am asked to compare and contrast President Clinton's foreign policy, then I am necessarily comparing it to something else (often, that other thing would be specified in both the RC passage and in the question). For example, I could compare and contrast President Clinton's foreign policy with the foreign policy of Reagan, or GW Bush, or Eisenhower, or Truman, etc. etc. I could even compare and contrast President Clinton's foreign policy with the foreign policy of some other contemporary world leader --- Mitterand, John Major, Yeltsin, Deng Xiaoping, etc. etc. Compare and contrast necessarily involves looking at President Clinton's foreign policy in relation to some other foreign policy. I have to look at more than one thing.

Pros & cons happen within, but compare & contrast happens between.
Pros & cons focus on the good vs. the bad of a single thing.
Compare & contrast necessarily involves at least two different things.

Does that make sense?

Mike

Mike,

Does "Evaluate" (a theory, some research wok, a plan etc.) mean analysing positives and negatives of the respective subject/subjects?
Magoosh GMAT Instructor
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Re: Pros and Cons Versus Compare and Contrast [#permalink]

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25 Sep 2012, 08:15
monsoon1 wrote:
Mike,
Does "Evaluate" (a theory, some research wok, a plan etc.) mean analysing positives and negatives of the respective subject/subjects?

Yes, the word "evaluate" literally means "give the value of" or "assess the value of" --- in other words, "say how valuable it is." When the question asks you to "evaluate", the question is asking for something thorough --- what are the strengths? what are the weaknesses? how realistic is it? how widely applicable is it? what are obvious points of support for it? what are obvious objections to it?
In short, yes, when the question say "evaluate", it's asking for the good, the bad, and the ugly.
Does that make sense?
Mike
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Mike McGarry
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Re: Pros and Cons Versus Compare and Contrast [#permalink]

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27 Sep 2012, 11:26
mikemcgarry wrote:
monsoon1 wrote:
Mike,
Does "Evaluate" (a theory, some research wok, a plan etc.) mean analysing positives and negatives of the respective subject/subjects?

Yes, the word "evaluate" literally means "give the value of" or "assess the value of" --- in other words, "say how valuable it is." When the question asks you to "evaluate", the question is asking for something thorough --- what are the strengths? what are the weaknesses? how realistic is it? how widely applicable is it? what are obvious points of support for it? what are obvious objections to it?
In short, yes, when the question say "evaluate", it's asking for the good, the bad, and the ugly.
Does that make sense?
Mike

Thanks, Mike ! Makes sense
Re: Pros and Cons Versus Compare and Contrast   [#permalink] 27 Sep 2012, 11:26
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