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Mystery stories often feature a brilliant detective and the

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New post Updated on: 29 Oct 2016, 22:03
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Mystery stories often feature a brilliant detective and the detective’s dull companion. Clues are presented in the story, and the companion wrongly infers an inaccurate solution to the mystery using the same clues that the detective uses to deduce the correct solution. Thus, the author’s strategy of including the dull companion gives readers a chance to solve the mystery while also diverting them from the correct solution.
Which one of the following is most strongly supported by the information above?
(A) Most mystery stories feature a brilliant detective who solves the mystery presented in the story.
(B) Mystery readers often solve the mystery in a story simply by spotting the mistakes in the reasoning of the detective’s dull companion in that story.
(C) Some mystery stories give readers enough clues to infer the correct solution to the mystery.
(D) The actions of the brilliant detective in a mystery story rarely divert readers from the actions of the detective’s dull companion.
(E) The detective’s dull companion in a mystery story generally uncovers the misleading clues that divert readers from the mystery’s correct solution.

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Originally posted by noboru on 27 Sep 2009, 11:24.
Last edited by Skywalker18 on 29 Oct 2016, 22:03, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: *700* Mystery stories often feature a brilliant detective and the dete  [#permalink]

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New post 12 Apr 2015, 19:36
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The thing is that "most" has a formal logical meaning: it means "more than 50%." Therefore, unless we can clarify that more than half of all the mystery stories in the world match the description in the stimulus, we can't choose (A).

For example, it would be acceptable to say that "NBA players are often over 7 feet in height." There certainly are a lot more 7+ feet people in the NBA than in the regular population! However, it would be inaccurate to say that "most NBA players are over 7 feet in height," since the majority of players aren't.

Similarly, if you see the word "most" in a stimulus, it gives you a lot of information. If I tell you that "Most race-car drivers have one-syllable names," you can deduce that "There are more race-car drivers with one-syllable names than there are with three-syllable names." It's a very powerful word!

Notice the word "some" in the correct answer choice. This is exactly the kind of word you're looking for in an Inference Question (much like the equally good word, "can"). The only formal logical definition of "some" is "more than zero," so as long as we have evidence that one such mystery story matches the description above (we do know this much from the stimulus), it's acceptable.

Takeaways:

1) The words "some" and "can" imply any number, one or more. That's all they imply, so they give very little information if they appear in the stimulus, and are very commonly found in right answers on Inference questions.

2) The word "most" implies greater than half, so if it appears in the stimulus, it tells you a lot, and if it appears in an answer choice, it needs specific evidence to support it.

3) The words "often" and "many" don't really have any formal definition -- don't ascribe to them anything beyond the meaning of "some."
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Re: Mystery stories often feature a brilliant detective and the  [#permalink]

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New post 30 Jun 2010, 02:00
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This question has be now been fully explained, but it sounds like there is some confusion as to how to a approach an inference question:

What is an inference? An inference is what must be true if the conclusion is true!

How do you find the inference? Focus on the conclusion! Your answer must repeat the conclusion (or some part of the conclusion) without countering any of the premises.

Your job in answering this question is to repeat (as closely as possible) the sentence, "the author’s strategy... gives readers a chance to solve the mystery while also diverting them from the correct solution."

C ("Some mystery stories give readers enough clues to infer the correct solution to the mystery") is not perfect, but is the sentence closest to this one.

Hope that helps with future inference problems!

(More on inference questions can be found in CR Lesson 2 at gmaxonline!)

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New post 29 Jun 2010, 14:38
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Hi,

several posters have already posted the OA: it's C.

Because the brilliant detective uses presented clues to solve the mystery, we can infer that some mystery stories give readers enough clues to solve the mystery (whether or not readers will actually use these clues is a different issue).

Choice A cannot be inferred because of "most". We can't infer from "often" in the passage to "most" in choice A.

We can't infer what fraction of readers actually solve the mystery (or indeed if any of them actually do). Thus, choice B cannot be inferred.

Similarly, we can't infer what effect the story has on the readers' interpretation, or on what the reader chooses to attend to (or not attend to). Thus, choices D and E cannot be inferred.
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New post 30 Jun 2010, 02:16
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Thanks, Sara!

Focusing on the main point (or conclusion) is indeed a GREAT way of approaching inference questions. In particular, if you see an answer choice that states the main point, which itself wasn't stated in the passage but was clearly implied by the passage, then that is the correct answer. Here, the test-maker is testing whether the student can judge what conclusion the passage was intended or designed to support. That's why focusing on the conclusion is a good strategy.

I would, however, add that the right answer to an inference question may simply be necessarily true based on any one (or more) statements in the passage. That is, it doesn't necessarily have to relate to the conclusion.

In fact, in some inference questions (such as this one for example!), there won't even be a conclusion; instead, there may just be a collection of facts, and we have to arrive at a deduction by combining two or more of those facts. In abstract:

If x, then y.
If y, then z.

Inference: If x, then z.

In this abstracted example, the passage was simply two facts (or two conditional statements to be accurate), and the correct answer is something that the combination of those statements proves must be true.
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New post 30 Jun 2010, 06:52
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Hi Testluv,

Although I agree with your explanation of a tricky problem, I think it is important to differentiate between inference and conclusion questions.

When given a list of facts (and no conclusion), as in the hypothetical example you have offered, the question will be, "what conclusion can be drawn?" The test taker's job is, then, to synthesize the facts (premises) given.

An inference, however, is something that must be true if what is written is true. But premises are always true, so an inference is never based on a premise. If the question asks for an inference, the inference really is always based on the conclusion, which will indeed appear in the argument. Again, if there is no conclusion in the argument, the question will ask the test taker to provide a conclusion (not an inference).

GMAX Tip: Read the question before you read the argument! This way you will know ahead of time whether your job is to synthesize all the facts or repeat (more or less) the conclusion (or a part of the conclusion). In other words, reading the question first tells you where to focus.

More CR tips and tricks at gmaxonline!

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New post 30 Jun 2010, 13:41
Hi Sarai,

thanks for your response. I completely agree that inference questions are not the same as main point questions. Also, I agree with the tip you mentioned: starting with the question stem is in fact step 1 of the Kaplan method for CR.

Not surprisingly though, I disagree with some of what you have said. :)

I would argue that in my example, the question stem could easily have been:

"which of the following can be properly inferred?"

or

"if the statements above are true, which of the following must be true?"

Quote:
When given a list of facts (and no conclusion), as in the hypothetical example you have offered, the question will be, "what conclusion can be drawn?" The test taker's job is, then, to synthesize the facts (premises) given.

An inference, however, is something that must be true if what is written is true. But premises are always true, so an inference is never based on a premise


No, actually asking "what conclusion can be drawn?" is the exact same thing as asking "what can be properly inferred?". If mere factual statements strictly imply a new idea, then that new idea IS (by definition) a proper inference.

There are several examples of official GMAT inference questions in which the question stem reads "which of the following is most supported by the information above?" or "which of the follwing can be properly inferred?", and in which the passage is nothing more than a collection of facts without a cleary conclusionary statement. Moreover, in ALL inference questions, we must treat every statement in the passage as necessarily true (whether you choose to call it conclusin or evidence).
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Re: Mystery stories often feature a brilliant detective and the  [#permalink]

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New post 03 Jul 2010, 09:31
Hi Testluv
I opened the Verbal Bible from Jeff Sackmann and I agree with your statement. Please can you shed some light on the following lines - I never really thought about scope when answering Inference questions.


One defini…tion of inference is, "A position arrived at by reasoning from
premises." That's a reasonable summary of what you're doing on a CR in-
ference question. Unlike assumption-based questions, in which the passage
includes evidence and a conclusion, the passages of inference-based questions
may not have a conclusion. Instead, you should treat them as a block of evi-
dence or, in terms of that defi…nition, a series of premises. The correct answer
will be the most logical conclusion drawn from them.


The most important concept in inference questions is that of scope. In a
three-sentence passage, you get very little information. Some of the details
might …t together, and others might appear irrelevant. The correct answer
will follow from the limited information you're given, but it won't rely on any
other information. More wrong answer choices in inference questions are wrong
because they are off-topic than any other reason.




Thanks

Testluv wrote:
As far as I know, an inference is an "implied conclusion", in other words an idea that a set of facts proves must be true. Are you working with some different definition of "inference"?
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New post 03 Jul 2010, 10:02
Hi nusmavrik,

thanks for the question. First of all, I will point out that just because something is called a "bible" doesn't mean it's gospel truth. :P

However, the lines you've quoted from that book are certainly good advice.

The right answer to any inference question is something that the passage proved must be true. Therefore, the four wrong answers are things that could (or must) be false.

The farther from the scope of a passage an answer choice strays, the less likely it is that the passage will have proven that it is necessarily true, and the more likely it is something that coud be false.

For example, let's say a passage states:

"All televisions are blue."

and we have an answer choice that states:

a) All martians are green.

Because the passage never talked about choice A (ie, because choice A is outside the scope), choice A could easily be false, and is therefore incorrect.

In an inference question, you should treat the passage as your universe. Everything in that universe MUST BE TRUE. Everything outside of that universe could be true or could be false--you have no idea. Because the passage has to prove that the right answer must be true, the farther an answer choice strays from the scope of the passage, the less likely it is that the passage proved that that choice must be true--the more likely it is to be a choice that could be false--a wrong answer.
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New post 03 Jul 2010, 11:50
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Hi nusmavrik,

in main point questions, we should be partial to contrast keywords ("but"; "yet"; "however"). Beware of conclusion keywords in these question types; they will often signal an intermediate conclusion not the main point (the test-maker, knowing that you will be naturally drawn to conclusion keywords, does this on purpose).

More tips for this question type:
--use the contrast keywords to think about the author's intent in arguing.
--look for a choice that sums up the gist of the passage; stay away from choices that are technical.

The first sentence of this passage begins with the word "although".

Thus, the author's main point is that exercise serves not just the body but also the mind; ie, exercise serves more than one purpose. Choice E matches this prediction, and is the correct answer.

On test-day, because choice E matches our analysis and prediction, we should select it without worrying about choice B (you dont' get rewarded for figuring out why wrong answers are wrong--you only get rewarded for announcing the correct answer--don't overuse POE).

For review purposes, however, let's consider choice B.

We know that he thinks that exercise serves a mental purpose (not just a physical one). Does this mean that he thinks that exercise is a mental activity?...nope. (And even if he did, a) we can't infer that from what he has written, and b) even if we could infer that from what he has written, it is not his main point).
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New post 10 Jul 2013, 15:41
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ruchikaarya41 wrote:
what is the OA my ans is E, i am not convinced with B or A , plz explain the correct ans
What does the ans choice look for when it is asking to 'support the information above'


Hi ruchikaarya41.

I'm glad to help. OA is C. The question is "inferred question". You must use information from the stimulus to infer a correct answer. So be aware that No new info accepted.

ANALYZE THE STIMULUS:

Fact 1: Mystery stories often feature a brilliant detective and the detective’s dull companion
Fact 2: Clues are presented in the story, and the companion wrongly infers an inaccurate solution to the mystery using the same clues that the detective uses to deduce the correct solution.
Conclusion: the author’s strategy of including the dull companion gives readers a chance to solve the mystery while also diverting them from the correct solution.

ANALYZE EACH ANSWER:

(A) Most mystery stories feature a brilliant detective who solves the mystery presented in the story.
Wrong.The stimulus does say “most”.

(B) Mystery readers often solve the mystery in a story simply by spotting the mistakes in the reasoning of the detective’s dull companion in that story.
Wrong. The stimulus does not say “readers often solve….”. The stimulus only says there is a chance for readers to solve the mystery.

(C) Some mystery stories give readers enough clues to infer the correct solution to the mystery.
Correct. The conclusion says: “the author’s strategy gives readers a chance to solve the mystery” ==> C is a paraphrase of the conclusion.

(D) The actions of the brilliant detective in a mystery story rarely divert readers from the actions of the detective’s dull companion.
Wrong. Nothing about “detective rarely divert readers from the action of the dull companion” ==> Wrong.

(E) The detective’s dull companion in a mystery story generally uncovers the misleading clues that divert readers from the mystery’s correct solution.
Wrong. SHELL GAME. This is a reverse answer. The stimulus says: the dull companion generally explores the clues that may help readers to get the correct solution. But E says: the dull companion generally explores the clues that divert readers from the correct solution ==> E means: the clues avoid readers from getting the correct solutions ==> Wrong.

Hope it helps.
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New post 25 Jul 2017, 01:18
noboru wrote:
Mystery stories often feature a brilliant detective and the detective’s dull companion. Clues are presented in the story, and the companion wrongly infers an inaccurate solution to the mystery using the same clues that the detective uses to deduce the correct solution. Thus, the author’s strategy of including the dull companion gives readers a chance to solve the mystery while also diverting them from the correct solution.
Which one of the following is most strongly supported by the information above?
(A) Most mystery stories feature a brilliant detective who solves the mystery presented in the story.
(B) Mystery readers often solve the mystery in a story simply by spotting the mistakes in the reasoning of the detective’s dull companion in that story.
(C) Some mystery stories give readers enough clues to infer the correct solution to the mystery.
(D) The actions of the brilliant detective in a mystery story rarely divert readers from the actions of the detective’s dull companion.
(E) The detective’s dull companion in a mystery story generally uncovers the misleading clues that divert readers from the mystery’s correct solution.

LSAT


We are looking for the inference from the argument.
The argument says: The author’s strategy of including the dull companion gives readers a chance to solve the mystery while also diverting them from the correct solution.
The author implies that including the dull companion helps readers follow the clues as followed by the companion and diverts them from the actual clues and hence from the correct solution. The implication is that diversion is needed from the correct solution. This means that at least some stories do provide enough clues to arrive at the correct solution. So (C) is correct.

Let's look at why (B) and (E) do not make sense.

(B) Mystery readers often solve the mystery in a story simply by spotting the mistakes in the reasoning of the detective’s dull companion in that story.

This is not implied by the argument. We are given that the dull companion diverts the reader from the correct solution. So it seems that the readers often arrive at the incorrect solution, as presented by the dull companion. The argument doesn't imply that the readers are able to spot the mistakes in the companion's reasoning. So this is not correct.

(E) The detective’s dull companion in a mystery story generally uncovers the misleading clues that divert readers from the mystery’s correct solution.

We know that clues are given. But we are given that the companion wrongly infers them. We are not given that the clues are misleading.
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New post 15 Sep 2017, 03:13
Sebastian Shoaib wrote:
IMO (C) can't be correct because it says "some mystery stories" while the passage says "Mystery stories often", which would mean 'most stories' not 'some stories'. I'll go with (B).


If something is true for many mystery stories, it is certainly true for "some". Also, "some" means "at least one".
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New post 16 Oct 2017, 20:47
GMAT888 wrote:
Agree it's B. Since the dull companion helps readers solve the mystery, we can conclude that readers do so by spotting the mistakes of the dull companion.



It cannot be B because you cannot justify that from the passage; the passage states that '...the author's strategy of including the dull companion gives readers a chance to solve the mystery.." It doesn't say that most readers actually solve the mystery. Being given the chance to attend business school is not the same as actually attending business school.

The question stem "which of the following is most strongly supported by the information...;" this means that the correct answer should be a conclusion/main point of the passage. The last sentence contains the conclusion indicator, "Thus" and what follows is the conclusion. Hence, the correct answer is C.
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