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QOTD: Guidebook writer: I have visited hotels throughout the country

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QOTD: Guidebook writer: I have visited hotels throughout the country [#permalink]

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New post 15 Nov 2017, 05:17
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Guidebook writer: I have visited hotels throughout the country and have noticed that in those built before 1930 the quality of the original carpentry work is generally superior to that in hotels built afterward. Clearly carpenters working on hotels before 1930 typically worked with more skill, care, and effort than carpenters who have worked on hotels built subsequently.

Which of the following, if true, most seriously weakens the guidebook writer’s argument?

(A) The quality of original carpentry in hotels is generally far superior to the quality of original carpentry in other structures, such as houses and stores.

(B) Hotels built since 1930 can generally accommodate more guests than those built before 1930.

(C) The materials available to carpenters working before 1930 were not significantly different in quality from the materials available to carpenters working after 1930.

(D) The better the quality of original carpentry in a building, the less likely that building is to fall into disuse and be demolished.

(E) The average length of apprenticeship for carpenters has declined significantly since 1930.


Verbal Question of The Day: Day 157: Critical Reasoning


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QOTD: Guidebook writer: I have visited hotels throughout the country [#permalink]

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New post 15 Nov 2017, 05:18
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Here we have a know-it-all guidebook writer who comes to the following conclusion: "carpenters working on hotels before 1930 typically worked with more skill, care, and effort than carpenters who have worked on hotels built subsequently." How does the guidebook write arrive at that conclusion? (And if you prefer your explanations in video form, check out our YouTube webinar on strengthen, weaken, and assumption questions.)

  • The writer has visited hotels throughout the country. From the context, we can infer that the writer has visited hotels built both before 1930 and after (or in) 1930.
  • The writer has "noticed that in those built before 1930 the quality of the original carpentry work is generally superior to that in hotels built afterward." Okay, so the writer has been observing the quality of the original carpentry work while staying at hotels throughout the country. Apparently, the writer has found the quality of the carpentry work in the pre-1930 hotels to be superior to the quality of the carpentry work in the post-1930 hotels.
  • Next, the author tries to EXPLAIN these observations. Why is the quality better in the pre-1930s hotel? If the carpenters who worked on hotels before 1930 typically worked with more skill, care, and effort than later carpenters, that would certainly explain the difference in quality.

Based on the evidence, the author has concluded that a POSSIBLE explanation is the correct explanation, but is that actually the case? We need to find the answer choice that most seriously weakens the author's argument:

Quote:
(A) The quality of original carpentry in hotels is generally far superior to the quality of original carpentry in other structures, such as houses and stores.

We are trying to explain the quality difference between pre-1930 hotels and post-1930 hotels. How the quality in hotels generally compares to the quality in houses, stores, etc., has no relevance and does not help us evaluate the author's argument or conclusion. Eliminate (A).

Quote:
(B) Hotels built since 1930 can generally accommodate more guests than those built before 1930.

Okay, post-1930 hotels can accommodate more guests, but does that impact the quality of the carpentry? Perhaps we could dream up a reason why the higher capacity would negatively affect the original carpentry, but that would require making our own assumptions and introducing ideas not found in the passage. On its own, choice (B) does not help us evaluate the author's argument or conclusion, so it can be eliminated.

Quote:
(C) The materials available to carpenters working before 1930 were not significantly different in quality from the materials available to carpenters working after 1930.

If the materials available to carpenters working before 1930 WERE significantly different in quality, then that would possibly explain the difference in the quality of the carpentry. Having such an alternate explanation would indeed weaken the author's argument. But choice (C) tells us that this alternate explanation is not valid. This only strengthens the author's argument, so eliminate (C).

Quote:
(D) The better the quality of original carpentry in a building, the less likely that building is to fall into disuse and be demolished.

Choice (D) implies that buildings with low-quality carpentry are likely to fall into disuse and be demolished. So what about the low-quality hotels built before 1930? Well, if choice (D) is true, it is likely that those old, low-quality hotels have fallen into disuse and been demolished. If that's the case, most of the pre-1930s hotels that have NOT been demolished are likely to have HIGH-quality carpentry.

Now the author's argument is in trouble. The author says, "Most of the pre-1930 hotels have better quality. Therefore, pre-1930 carpenters were better." But what if many or even most of the hotels built before 1930 are no longer there? What if they had low-quality carpentry and were already demolished? Perhaps most of the low-quality pre-1930 hotels have been demolished and most of the high-quality pre-1930 hotels are still standing. If (D) is true, then we have no idea what proportion of hotels built before 1930 were high/low-quality. In other words, the writer's data only includes pre-1930 hotels that are still standing and does not take into account pre-1930 hotels that have already been demolished.

Although choice (D) doesn't necessarily disprove the author's conclusion, it certainly weakens the author's reasoning by offering an alternative way to explain the writer's observations. We can no longer conclude that the author's POSSIBLE explanation is the correct one. Now we need more information to reach a logical conclusion. Thus, choice (D) looks good.

Quote:
(E) The average length of apprenticeship for carpenters has declined significantly since 1930.

This might imply that today's carpenters are less skilled when they begin working than were pre-1930 carpenters. This, in turn, might explain why carpenters work with less skill, care, and effort today, but that would only serve to strengthen the author's argument. Eliminate (E).

(D) is the best answer.
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Re: QOTD: Guidebook writer: I have visited hotels throughout the country [#permalink]

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New post 15 Nov 2017, 08:01
Guidebook writer: I have visited hotels throughout the country and have noticed that in those built before 1930 the quality of the original carpentry work is generally superior to that in hotels built afterward. Clearly carpenters working on hotels before 1930 typically worked with more skill, care, and effort than carpenters who have worked on hotels built subsequently.

Which of the following, if true, most seriously weakens the guidebook writer’s argument?

(A) The quality of original carpentry in hotels is generally far superior to the quality of original carpentry in other structures, such as houses and stores. -Invalid comparison

(B) Hotels built since 1930 can generally accommodate more guests than those built before 1930. -out of scope

(C) The materials available to carpenters working before 1930 were not significantly different in quality from the materials available to carpenters working after 1930. -This strengthens the argument

(D) The better the quality of original carpentry in a building, the less likely that building is to fall into disuse and be demolished. -Correct. So the bad old buildings have already fallen and hence can't be compared with today's buildings

(E) The average length of apprenticeship for carpenters has declined significantly since 1930. -Apprenticeship? out of scope
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Re: QOTD: Guidebook writer: I have visited hotels throughout the country [#permalink]

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New post 15 Nov 2017, 19:14
Quote:
Guidebook writer: I have visited hotels throughout the country and have noticed that in those built before 1930 the quality of the original carpentry work is generally superior to that in hotels built afterward. Clearly carpenters working on hotels before 1930 typically worked with more skill, care, and effort than carpenters who have worked on hotels built subsequently.

Which of the following, if true, most seriously weakens the guidebook writer’s argument?

(A) The quality of original carpentry in hotels is generally far superior to the quality of original carpentry in other structures, such as houses and stores.

(B) Hotels built since 1930 can generally accommodate more guests than those built before 1930.

(C) The materials available to carpenters working before 1930 were not significantly different in quality from the materials available to carpenters working after 1930.

(D) The better the quality of original carpentry in a building, the less likely that building is to fall into disuse and be demolished.



I feel D as well. It is the only weakener.
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Re: QOTD: Guidebook writer: I have visited hotels throughout the country [#permalink]

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New post 15 Nov 2017, 23:32
E.the less apprenticeship implies less time spent and thus the Carpenters were not given ample time to showcase their skill, and give more care and effort.Thus it weakens the fact that Carpenters before 1930 are more skilled,took more care and effort..

Moreover In D it's saying better the quality least the likelihood of it going out of business ,how is that weakening ??

Correct me if I am wrong

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Re: QOTD: Guidebook writer: I have visited hotels throughout the country [#permalink]

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New post 16 Nov 2017, 16:54
Sumusumu wrote:
E.the less apprenticeship implies less time spent and thus the Carpenters were not given ample time to showcase their skill, and give more care and effort.Thus it weakens the fact that Carpenters before 1930 are more skilled,took more care and effort..

Moreover In D it's saying better the quality least the likelihood of it going out of business ,how is that weakening ??

Correct me if I am wrong

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D is correct because the author's method of comparison is vulnerable to survivorship bias: if only hotels with the highest quality carpentry work survived, and you compare the carpentry work of those to that of recently constructed hotels, obviously such comparison may not be fair and may lead to the wrong conclusion. To strengthen the argument, author would need to specify that s/he picked recently constructed hotels with the best carpentry work for comparison.
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QOTD: Guidebook writer: I have visited hotels throughout the country [#permalink]

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New post 14 Dec 2017, 13:09
souvik101990 wrote:
Quote:
(B) Hotels built since 1930 can generally accommodate more guests than those built before 1930.
Okay, post-1930 hotels can accommodate more guests, but does that impact the quality of the carpentry? Perhaps we could dream up a reason why the higher capacity would negatively affect the original carpentry, but that would require making our own assumptions and introducing ideas not found in the passage. On its own, choice (B) does not help us evaluate the author's argument or conclusion, so it can be eliminated.


I stuck in this question between B and D and I don't understand why D is better. In D we also need to "dream up" something, which is not in the passage itself, namely we need to assume the year at which Guidebook writer made his visits. Answer D is correct if visits are made nowadays, but what about if the visites made in 1940? Then D logic flaws, because not too many hotels built before 30es had been demolished at that time, while greater accomodation in choice B could mean greater expluatation rate which impact the quality of carpentry. Passage doesn't tell us the time when guidebok writer made his conslusions and visits, so for me B looks stronger as the higher expluatation rate would cause damage to carpentry quickly, therefore argument in B can be applied in most of the cases disregarding time when visits were made.
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Re: QOTD: Guidebook writer: I have visited hotels throughout the country [#permalink]

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New post 15 Dec 2017, 08:38
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DimitriK wrote:
souvik101990 wrote:
Quote:
(B) Hotels built since 1930 can generally accommodate more guests than those built before 1930.
Okay, post-1930 hotels can accommodate more guests, but does that impact the quality of the carpentry? Perhaps we could dream up a reason why the higher capacity would negatively affect the original carpentry, but that would require making our own assumptions and introducing ideas not found in the passage. On its own, choice (B) does not help us evaluate the author's argument or conclusion, so it can be eliminated.


I stuck in this question between B and D and I don't understand why D is better. In D we also need to "dream up" something, which is not in the passage itself, namely we need to assume the year at which Guidebook writer made his visits. Answer D is correct if visits are made nowadays, but what about if the visites made in 1940? Then D logic flaws, because not too many hotels built before 30es had been demolished at that time, while greater accomodation in choice B could mean greater expluatation rate which impact the quality of carpentry. Passage doesn't tell us the time when guidebok writer made his conslusions and visits, so for me B looks stronger as the higher expluatation rate would cause damage to carpentry quickly, therefore argument in B can be applied in most of the cases disregarding time when visits were made.

Yes, you have a point. Maybe all of the hotels visited were built between 1920 and 1940, the writer was traveling in 1940, and none of the hotels, even those with poor quality, have had time to fall into disuse. Choice (D) does not PROVE that the argument is flawed. But remember, we are looking for the choice that MOST seriously weakens the argument.

So let's start with choice (B). In order for that to be a weakener, you have to completely invent the idea that a larger capacity would negatively affect the carpentry. Where do you see something in the passage to support that theory? You don't. It is EQUALLY likely that a larger capacity POSITIVELY affects the carpentry for some reason. The passage doesn't give us any indication either way. So if you want choice (B) to be a weakener, you have to inject your own theory that larger capacity is bad for the carpentry.

As for choice (D), even if the passage were written in 1940, this would still weaken the argument. The author says, "hey look, the quality is generally better in hotels built before 1930!" Choice (D) tells us that some of the pre-1930 hotels with poor carpentry may have already been demolished. Sure, this doesn't prove that the author's argument is false, but at the very least it makes us doubt whether the pre-1930 hotels still in existence are actually representative of ALL pre-1930s hotels. Choice (D) adds a seed of doubt to the author's argument, so, without inventing anything, we've weakened the argument.

Furthermore, based on the tone and contextual clues of the passage, it doesn't seem likely that this passage was written soon after 1930. The author is comparing hotels from two different eras. If it were truly 1940, the author would likely refer to "hotels built within the last ten years". In order to draw general conclusions about hotels from each era, would it make sense if one era were 10 years long and the other were 100+ years long? Probably not... it seems as though the auther has at least a few decades of data both before and after 1930. We don't know for sure when the passage was written, but the author seems to be comparing new hotels to old hotels, not 20-year-old hotels to 10-year-old hotels.

Regardless, as described above, choice (D) is a weakener either way.
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Re: QOTD: Guidebook writer: I have visited hotels throughout the country [#permalink]

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New post 15 Dec 2017, 10:25
GMATNinjaTwo wrote:
So let's start with choice (B). In order for that to be a weakener, you have to completely invent the idea that a larger capacity would negatively affect the carpentry. Where do you see something in the passage to support that theory? You don't. It is EQUALLY likely that a larger capacity POSITIVELY affects the carpentry for some reason. The passage doesn't give us any indication either way. So if you want choice (B) to be a weakener, you have to inject your own theory that larger capacity is bad for the carpentry.

As for choice (D), even if the passage were written in 1940, this would still weaken the argument. The author says, "hey look, the quality is generally better in hotels built before 1930!" Choice (D) tells us that some of the pre-1930 hotels with poor carpentry may have already been demolished. Sure, this doesn't prove that the author's argument is false, but at the very least it makes us doubt whether the pre-1930 hotels still in existence are actually representative of ALL pre-1930s hotels. Choice (D) adds a seed of doubt to the author's argument, so, without inventing anything, we've weakened the argument.

Furthermore, based on the tone and contextual clues of the passage, it doesn't seem likely that this passage was written soon after 1930. The author is comparing hotels from two different eras. If it were truly 1940, the author would likely refer to "hotels built within the last ten years". In order to draw general conclusions about hotels from each era, would it make sense if one era were 10 years long and the other were 100+ years long? Probably not... it seems as though the auther has at least a few decades of data both before and after 1930. We don't know for sure when the passage was written, but the author seems to be comparing new hotels to old hotels, not 20-year-old hotels to 10-year-old hotels.

Regardless, as described above, choice (D) is a weakener either way.


Yes, I see your point now. Thanks!
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Re: QOTD: Guidebook writer: I have visited hotels throughout the country [#permalink]

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New post 18 Feb 2018, 14:18
(D) The better the quality of original carpentry in a building, the less likely that building is to fall into disuse and be demolished.

I think choice D is not a weakener of the argument, but it is weakening the reasoning on which the Guidebook Writer's conclusion is based.
This is perhaps a question type similar to "Flaw the Reasoning" type question where we weaken the reasoning and not the conclusion
Re: QOTD: Guidebook writer: I have visited hotels throughout the country   [#permalink] 18 Feb 2018, 14:18
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