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Most children find it very difficult to explain exactly what the words

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Most children find it very difficult to explain exactly what the words [#permalink]

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New post 27 Sep 2017, 01:32
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Most children find it very difficult to explain exactly what the words they use mean when those words do not refer to things that can be seen or touched. Yet since children are able to use these words to convey the feelings and emotions they are obviously experiencing, understanding what a word means clearly does not depend on being able to explain it.

Which one of the following principles, if accepted, would provide the most justification for the conclusion?

(A) The fact that a task is very difficult for most people does not mean that no one can do it.

(B) Anyone who can provide an exact explanation of a word has a clear understanding of what that word means.

(C) Words that refer to emotions invariably have less narrowly circumscribed conventional meanings than do word that refer to physical objects.

(D) When someone appropriately uses a word to convey something that he or she is experiencing, that person understands what that word mean.

(E) Words can be explained satisfactorily only when they refer to things that can be seen or touched.

Source: LSAT

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Re: Most children find it very difficult to explain exactly what the words [#permalink]

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New post 27 Sep 2017, 08:52
(A) The fact that a task is very difficult for most people does not mean that no one can do it. - - Out of scope of the argument. We are not talking about how difficult a task is for someone, but about how the ability to explain something affects their understanding about the concerned thing.

(B) Anyone who can provide an exact explanation of a word has a clear understanding of what that word means. - This would weaken the argument.

(C) Words that refer to emotions invariably have less narrowly circumscribed conventional meanings than do word that refer to physical objects. - This choice talks about the attributes of different kinds of words but doesn't justify the conclusion that "Children who could convey their experiences using words whose meanings they couldn't explain could be considered to have understood those words"

(D) When someone appropriately uses a word to convey something that he or she is experiencing, that person understands what that word mean. - Correct. If we use this in the sentence, it would make the argument stronger and provide ample justification.

(E) Words can be explained satisfactorily only when they refer to things that can be seen or touched. - This has a narrow scope and very extreme language.
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Re: Most children find it very difficult to explain exactly what the words [#permalink]

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New post 14 Dec 2017, 04:00
broall wrote:
Most children find it very difficult to explain exactly what the words they use mean when those words do not refer to things that can be seen or touched. Yet since children are able to use these words to convey the feelings and emotions they are obviously experiencing, understanding what a word means clearly does not depend on being able to explain it.

Which one of the following principles, if accepted, would provide the most justification for the conclusion?

(A) The fact that a task is very difficult for most people does not mean that no one can do it.

(B) Anyone who can provide an exact explanation of a word has a clear understanding of what that word means.

(C) Words that refer to emotions invariably have less narrowly circumscribed conventional meanings than do word that refer to physical objects.

(D) When someone appropriately uses a word to convey something that he or she is experiencing, that person understands what that word mean.

(E) Words can be explained satisfactorily only when they refer to things that can be seen or touched.

Source: LSAT



Since this is a Principle (support) question, our first stop is going to be at the argument core!

PREMISE: 1) Kids have difficulty explaining certain words.
2) Kids use those same words to convey things they are experiencing.
CONCLUSION: Understanding a word must not depend on being able to explain the word.

The first thing to notice is that the idea of "understanding" shows up for the first time in the conclusion. Where did that come from?

Now, you raise an interesting concern about whether the kids are actually using the words correctly, or "appropriately" (as (D) says). But the premise says that the kids are using the words to convey things that "they are obviously experiencing." If they kids are in fact experiencing the feeling/emotion, then they would be using the word correctly/appropriately!

Okay, so in this core, we have kids who both 1) can't explain emotion-words and 2) use emotion-words correctly in reference to their experiences. From the, the author decides that understanding doesn't necessarily require being able to explain. In other words, these kids must be evidence for how one can show understanding, despite not being able to explain!

The author must be assuming that this situation is evidence of "understanding" - otherwise, this argument makes no sense! So, why does the author think the kids have understanding? The only relevant premise is the fact that the kids use the words. Those are the two ideas we need to connect!

If [using a word to convey real experience] always meant that you had [understanding], then these kids would have understanding. And since they can't explain the words, they would be prime examples of people who had understanding, and yet couldn't explain the words. This would support the conclusion that understanding does NOT depend on the ability to explain - these kids prove it!

This is precisely what (D) gives us. Nothing in it strays too far from the argument. We know from the premises that children use the words to express things they are "obviously experiencing", so that matches "appropriately uses a word". Now, we DON'T know that these children understand - that's the very thing we are trying to support!! If (D) is true, then the kids in the stimulus WOULD understand!

The correct answer here, as principle (support) answers often do, connects an idea in the premise to an idea in the conclusion in a conditional language format. (IF [premise-idea], THEN [conclusion-idea]).


Let's take a quick spin through the incorrect answers:
(A) First, the argument never said that explaining words was difficult for most people, just most children. But more importantly, we aren't trying to support a conclusion that some kids CAN explain - rather that understanding may not require explaining.

(B) Now, this taps into the idea of "understanding", which we know we want. And it's a conditional statement that gets me to that goal! But this conditional is triggered when someone CAN provide an explanation of a word - and our kids can't do that. So, this doesn't help us show that these kids have understanding!

(C) The scope of the definition of the words is not relevant. This might explain WHY kids have trouble explaining them, but that doesn't help us get from premise to conclusion. Premise explainers don't help!

(E) Another premise explainer! This conditional translates to: If [words can be explained], then [words about see/touch]. This explains why those abstract words are hard for kids to explain, but doesn't help us prove that any understanding is going on!
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Re: Most children find it very difficult to explain exactly what the words [#permalink]

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New post 14 Dec 2017, 07:36
Most children find it very difficult to explain exactly what the words they use mean when those words do not refer to things that can be seen or touched. Yet since children are able to use these words to convey the feelings and emotions they are obviously experiencing, understanding what a word means clearly does not depend on being able to explain it.

Which one of the following principles, if accepted, would provide the most justification for the conclusion?

(A) The fact that a task is very difficult for most people does not mean that no one can do it. -We are not talking about a difficult task.

(B) Anyone who can provide an exact explanation of a word has a clear understanding of what that word means. -This is the opposite of the premise

(C) Words that refer to emotions invariably have less narrowly circumscribed conventional meanings than do word that refer to physical objects. -We are not comparing the meanings of different variety of words

(D) When someone appropriately uses a word to convey something that he or she is experiencing, that person understands what that word mean. -Correct. If children are able to express themselves without being able to explain themselves, then the conclusion of the argument will be strengthened.

(E) Words can be explained satisfactorily only when they refer to things that can be seen or touched. -Out of scope
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Re: Most children find it very difficult to explain exactly what the words   [#permalink] 14 Dec 2017, 07:36
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