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# Springfield Fire Commissioner: The vast majority of false fire alarms

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Springfield Fire Commissioner: The vast majority of false fire alarms  [#permalink]

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22 Sep 2017, 05:50
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Springfield Fire Commissioner: The vast majority of false fire alarms are prank calls made anonymously from fire alarm boxes on street corners. Since virtually everyone has access to a private telephone, these alarm boxes have outlived their usefulness. Therefore, we propose to remove the boxes. Removing the boxes will reduce the number of prank calls without hampering people's ability to report a fire.

Which of the following, if true, most strongly supports the claim that the proposal, if carried out, will have the announced effect?

(A) The fire department traces all alarm calls made from private telephones and records where they came from.

(B) Maintaining the fire alarm boxes costs Springfield approximately five million dollars annually.

(C) A telephone call can provide the fire department with more information about the nature and size of a fire than can an alarm placed from an alarm box.

(D) Responding to false alarms significantly reduces the fire department's capacity for responding to fires.

(E) On any given day, a significant percentage of the public telephones in Springfield are out of service.

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Re: Springfield Fire Commissioner: The vast majority of false fire alarms  [#permalink]

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22 Sep 2017, 05:51
1
2
The "announced effect" is that removing the fire alarm boxes on street corners "will reduce the number of prank calls without hampering people's ability to report a fire."

Why does the commissioner believe that removing those alarm boxes will reduce the number of prank calls? "The vast majority of false fire alarms are prank calls made anonymously from fire alarm boxes." The commissioner implies that it would be more difficult to make anonymous prank calls from private telephones rather than from public fire alarm boxes on street corners, but what if that isn't the case?

Also, what if removing those public fire alarm boxes limits people's ability to report fires? According to the commissioner, this is not a problem "since virtually everyone has access to a private telephone."

Which of the following, if true, most strongly supports the claim that the proposal, if carried out, "will reduce the number of prank calls without hampering people's ability to report a fire."?

Quote:
(A) The fire department traces all alarm calls made from private telephones and records where they came from.

The commissioner claims that the number of prank calls would be reduced if people could only report fires with private telephones rather than with public fire alarm boxes. But what if people could still make anonymous reports from their private telephones? That would weaken the commissioners argument. Choice (A) assures us that the private calls will, in fact, be traced, likely discouraging people from making prank calls from their private telephones. Thus, (A) supports the commissioner's claim.

Quote:
B) Maintaining the fire alarm boxes costs Springfield approximately five million dollars annually.

The cost of maintaining the fire alarm boxes has nothing to do with the effect that removing those boxes would have on the number of prank calls or people's ability to report fires. Eliminate (B).

Quote:
(C) A telephone call can provide the fire department with more information about the nature and size of a fire than can an alarm placed from an alarm box.

Choice (C) describes a possible advantage of reporting fires with private telephones instead of fire alarm boxes. However, as with choice (B), this has nothing to do with the effect that removing those boxes would have on the number of prank calls or people's ability to report fires. (C) is out.

Quote:
(D) Responding to false alarms significantly reduces the fire department's capacity for responding to fires.

Choice (D) explains a negative consequence of prank calls but does give us any reason to believe that removing the fire alarm boxes would reduce the number of prank calls. Eliminate (D).

Quote:
(E) On any given day, a significant percentage of the public telephones in Springfield are out of service.

Choice (E) might strengthen the commissioner's claim that the "alarm boxes have outlived their usefulness," but it does not support the commissioner's claim that the proposal "will reduce the number of prank calls without hampering people's ability to report a fire." Eliminate (E).

Choice (A) is the best answer.
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Re: Springfield Fire Commissioner: The vast majority of false fire alarms  [#permalink]

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27 Sep 2018, 12:35
1
MikeScarn wrote:
Are we sure this is an OG question?

I don't see the direct correlation between [A] and the question stem.

Ninja's explanation for [A]: "The commissioner claims that the number of prank calls would be reduced if people could only report fires with private telephones rather than with public fire alarm boxes. But what if people could still make anonymous reports from their private telephones? That would weaken the commissioners argument. Choice (A) assures us that the private calls will, in fact, be traced, likely discouraging people from making prank calls from their private telephones. Thus, (A) supports the commissioner's claim."

So the FD has the ability to trace calls from private phones... Okay, do we know for sure that this means that prank calls will be reduced? What if stupid kids think they can *69? What if it's not public knowledge that the FD can trace calls, then people would still do prank calls.

The premise talks about anonymous prank calls. The conclusion only talks about prank calls. It never explicit says "anonymous. I see this as a noteworthy gap.

[A] talks about removing anonymity. Okay... but the proposal only aims to reduce prank calls, anonymous or not anonymous. I feel like [A] is irrelevant. How can we just assume that tracing calls will lead to people not making prank calls?

I am new to CR, so I am just trying to understand what is wrong with my reasoning. Thanks!

Welcome to the wonderful world of CR, where we sometimes spend way too much energy agonizing over logical perfection when all we have to do is pick the best of 5 choices -- orthe least-bad of the 5 answer choices.

• Anonymous prank calls are a subset of all prank calls. In fact, we're told immediately and explicitly in the passage that anonymous prank calls are the vast majority of false fire alarms.
• Like you've pointed out, the key connection between the stem and choice (A) is that anonymity. The commissioner says that the vast majority of false fire alarms are prank calls made anonymously. Choice (A) states that the fire department traces all alarm calls. If you succeed in tracing a call, by definition it cannot be anonymous anymore. The logic of this argument focuses on the role of anonymous prank calls, and since we're asked what can strengthen the argument, it's OK for us to keep that focus.
• The only gap left here is potential other ways that prank callers could remain anonymous. The content of the call, or the type of prank call, is irrelevant to the proposal's logic -- which is that you can deter the vast majority of prank calls by removing the ability to make those calls anonymously.

One more general takeaway is to remember what we're being asked:

Quote:
Which of the following, if true, most strongly supports the claim that the proposal, if carried out, will have the announced effect?

We're looking for the choice that does the most to strengthen this argument. The right answer choice doesn't have to 100% prove the argument with airtight logic. In this case, sure, we can think of hypothetical prank callers who themselves don't care at all about being anonymous. But this doesn't change the fact that (A) is definitely doing more than any other choice to strengthen the argument.

If we approach this kind of question looking for a magic bullet, we may never be satisfied. But if we eliminate every choice that doesn't strengthen the argument and keep the one that does a better job than the other four, we'll be able to finish the question and move right along.

I hope this helps!
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Re: Springfield Fire Commissioner: The vast majority of false fire alarms  [#permalink]

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22 Sep 2017, 06:32
Hi,

Quote:
Removing the boxes will reduce the number of prank calls without hampering people's ability to report a fire.

Removing the boxes will have following effects:

1. will reduce the number of prank calls, and

2. not hamper people's ability to report to a fire.

Options:

(A) Strengthen the point no. 1. So keep it.

(B) Cost is not an issue. Out of scope

(C) Detail of fire is not the main point or conclusion of the argument. Out.

(D) Talks about improvement in capacity for responding to fire. This doesn't strengthen either 1 or 2.

(E) This weakens the point no. 2. Out.

Thanks.
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Re: Springfield Fire Commissioner: The vast majority of false fire alarms  [#permalink]

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22 Sep 2017, 10:34
Conclusion: Removing the boxes will reduce the number of prank calls without hampering people's ability to report a fire.

Option A: The fire department traces all alarm calls made from private telephones and records where they came from.

Since the fire department can trace all alarm calls made from private telephones, the number of prank calls will reduce. This option clearly strengthens the author's conclusion
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Re: Springfield Fire Commissioner: The vast majority of false fire alarms  [#permalink]

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22 Sep 2017, 11:18
1
Springfield Fire Commissioner: The vast majority of false fire alarms are prank calls made anonymously from fire alarm boxes on street corners. Since virtually everyone has access to a private telephone, these alarm boxes have outlived their usefulness. Therefore, we propose to remove the boxes. Removing the boxes will reduce the number of prank calls without hampering people's ability to report a fire.

Which of the following, if true, most strongly supports the claim that the proposal, if carried out, will have the announced effect?

(A) The fire department traces all alarm calls made from private telephones and records where they came from. -Correct. If the fire department is able to trace calls then the private phones can easily replace the street phone boxes.

(B) Maintaining the fire alarm boxes costs Springfield approximately five million dollars annually. -We are not worried about the cost of maintenance

(C) A telephone call can provide the fire department with more information about the nature and size of a fire than can an alarm placed from an alarm box. -We are worried about the prank calls and not the information on fire

(D) Responding to false alarms significantly reduces the fire department's capacity for responding to fires. -We know this information. This is just an inference

(E) On any given day, a significant percentage of the public telephones in Springfield are out of service. -This weakens the argument. If private phones are mostly out of service then the fire alarms on the streets can't be taken out of service.
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Re: Springfield Fire Commissioner: The vast majority of false fire alarms  [#permalink]

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14 Apr 2018, 06:27
Springfield Fire Commissioner: The vast majority of false fire alarms are prank calls made anonymously from fire alarm boxes on street corners. Since virtually everyone has access to a private telephone, these alarm boxes have outlived their usefulness. Therefore, we propose to remove the boxes. Removing the boxes will reduce the number of prank calls without hampering people's ability to report a fire.

Which of the following, if true, most strongly supports the claim that the proposal, if carried out, will have the announced effect?

This is a strengthen the argument question.
Like weaken, strengthen questions also require us to isolate the conclusion. As we will be looking for the answer that makes our belief stronger on the premise-conclusion relationship such as analogies, survey, reports, statistical data etc.
Also, protect the missing information
a) by keeping any option that fills the gap
b) by eliminating the answer that attacks the missing information
Expert suggestions: How do we know if what these experts or analysts think, matters? Eliminate any option that has the expert’s opinion.

Similarly, either introducing other examples doesn’t strengthen or introducing exceptions doesn’t weaken since in both the cases, there is just no way to automatically know that those other cases carry a sufficient resemblance to who or what the argument is about.

Conclusion: Removing the boxes will reduce the number of prank calls without hampering people's ability to report a fire.
Missing information: Fire department will somehow know which calls are the legit calls.

(A) The fire department traces all alarm calls made from private telephones and records where they came from.
If the fire department traces all alarm calls made from private telephones and records where they came from then it will be in a position to know whether the call is a legit call. Let's keep this option.

(B) Maintaining the fire alarm boxes costs Springfield approximately five million dollars annually.
Cost is out of scope. Eliminate.

(C) A telephone call can provide the fire department with more information about the nature and size of a fire than can an alarm placed from an alarm box.
It's a general information which doesn't help to further solidify our trust on the conclusion. Eliminate.

(D) Responding to false alarms significantly reduces the fire department's capacity for responding to fires.
This option also presents a general information which doesn't help.

(E) On any given day, a significant percentage of the public telephones in Springfield are out of service.
Wow! but who cares, eliminate.
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Re: Springfield Fire Commissioner: The vast majority of false fire alarms  [#permalink]

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19 May 2018, 06:05
GMATNinja wrote:
The "announced effect" is that removing the fire alarm boxes on street corners "will reduce the number of prank calls without hampering people's ability to report a fire."

Why does the commissioner believe that removing those alarm boxes will reduce the number of prank calls? "The vast majority of false fire alarms are prank calls made anonymously from fire alarm boxes." The commissioner implies that it would be more difficult to make anonymous prank calls from private telephones rather than from public fire alarm boxes on street corners, but what if that isn't the case?

Also, what if removing those public fire alarm boxes limits people's ability to report fires? According to the commissioner, this is not a problem "since virtually everyone has access to a private telephone."

Which of the following, if true, most strongly supports the claim that the proposal, if carried out, "will reduce the number of prank calls without hampering people's ability to report a fire."?

Quote:
(A) The fire department traces all alarm calls made from private telephones and records where they came from.

The commissioner claims that the number of prank calls would be reduced if people could only report fires with private telephones rather than with public fire alarm boxes. But what if people could still make anonymous reports from their private telephones? That would weaken the commissioners argument. Choice (A) assures us that the private calls will, in fact, be traced, likely discouraging people from making prank calls from their private telephones. Thus, (A) supports the commissioner's claim.

Quote:
B) Maintaining the fire alarm boxes costs Springfield approximately five million dollars annually.

The cost of maintaining the fire alarm boxes has nothing to do with the effect that removing those boxes would have on the number of prank calls or people's ability to report fires. Eliminate (B).

Quote:
(C) A telephone call can provide the fire department with more information about the nature and size of a fire than can an alarm placed from an alarm box.

Choice (C) describes a possible advantage of reporting fires with private telephones instead of fire alarm boxes. However, as with choice (B), this has nothing to do with the effect that removing those boxes would have on the number of prank calls or people's ability to report fires. (C) is out.

Quote:
(D) Responding to false alarms significantly reduces the fire department's capacity for responding to fires.

Choice (D) explains a negative consequence of prank calls but does give us any reason to believe that removing the fire alarm boxes would reduce the number of prank calls. Eliminate (D).

Quote:
(E) On any given day, a significant percentage of the public telephones in Springfield are out of service.

Choice (E) might strengthen the commissioner's claim that the "alarm boxes have outlived their usefulness," but it does not support the commissioner's claim that the proposal "will reduce the number of prank calls without hampering people's ability to report a fire." Eliminate (E).

Choice (A) is the best answer.

I have a small question about this...I totally agree that answer choice A is correct. When I did the question, I reasoned for answer choice E that removing "fire alarm boxes" won't have any effect on the number of prank calls because those pesky kids would just go to the "public telephones" and make their anonymous call from there. Therefore, because most of those "public telephones" are out of service, the number of anonymous prank calls would reduce by removing the "fire alarm boxes"

Any way to challenge that logic?
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Re: Springfield Fire Commissioner: The vast majority of false fire alarms  [#permalink]

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20 May 2018, 02:08
nrxbra001
Answer Choice E would weaken our conclusion that removing fire alarm boxes would led to reduction in no. of prank calls. Since most of the public telephones in Springfield are out of service in that case fire alarm boxes have to be kept in service. We cannot remove fire alarm boxes in that case
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Re: Springfield Fire Commissioner: The vast majority of false fire alarms  [#permalink]

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20 May 2018, 16:53
nrxbra001 wrote:
GMATNinja wrote:
The "announced effect" is that removing the fire alarm boxes on street corners "will reduce the number of prank calls without hampering people's ability to report a fire."

Why does the commissioner believe that removing those alarm boxes will reduce the number of prank calls? "The vast majority of false fire alarms are prank calls made anonymously from fire alarm boxes." The commissioner implies that it would be more difficult to make anonymous prank calls from private telephones rather than from public fire alarm boxes on street corners, but what if that isn't the case?

Also, what if removing those public fire alarm boxes limits people's ability to report fires? According to the commissioner, this is not a problem "since virtually everyone has access to a private telephone."

Which of the following, if true, most strongly supports the claim that the proposal, if carried out, "will reduce the number of prank calls without hampering people's ability to report a fire."?

Quote:
(A) The fire department traces all alarm calls made from private telephones and records where they came from.

The commissioner claims that the number of prank calls would be reduced if people could only report fires with private telephones rather than with public fire alarm boxes. But what if people could still make anonymous reports from their private telephones? That would weaken the commissioners argument. Choice (A) assures us that the private calls will, in fact, be traced, likely discouraging people from making prank calls from their private telephones. Thus, (A) supports the commissioner's claim.

Quote:
B) Maintaining the fire alarm boxes costs Springfield approximately five million dollars annually.

The cost of maintaining the fire alarm boxes has nothing to do with the effect that removing those boxes would have on the number of prank calls or people's ability to report fires. Eliminate (B).

Quote:
(C) A telephone call can provide the fire department with more information about the nature and size of a fire than can an alarm placed from an alarm box.

Choice (C) describes a possible advantage of reporting fires with private telephones instead of fire alarm boxes. However, as with choice (B), this has nothing to do with the effect that removing those boxes would have on the number of prank calls or people's ability to report fires. (C) is out.

Quote:
(D) Responding to false alarms significantly reduces the fire department's capacity for responding to fires.

Choice (D) explains a negative consequence of prank calls but does give us any reason to believe that removing the fire alarm boxes would reduce the number of prank calls. Eliminate (D).

Quote:
(E) On any given day, a significant percentage of the public telephones in Springfield are out of service.

Choice (E) might strengthen the commissioner's claim that the "alarm boxes have outlived their usefulness," but it does not support the commissioner's claim that the proposal "will reduce the number of prank calls without hampering people's ability to report a fire." Eliminate (E).

Choice (A) is the best answer.

I have a small question about this...I totally agree that answer choice A is correct. When I did the question, I reasoned for answer choice E that removing "fire alarm boxes" won't have any effect on the number of prank calls because those pesky kids would just go to the "public telephones" and make their anonymous call from there. Therefore, because most of those "public telephones" are out of service, the number of anonymous prank calls would reduce by removing the "fire alarm boxes"

Any way to challenge that logic?

The availability of public telephones is actually irrelevant if you consider the given fact that "virtually everyone has access to a private telephone." If the fire department didn't trace those calls, the calls made from private telephones would be just as anonymous as calls made from public telephones.

Until we know that (A) is true, we have no reason to believe that the pesky kids won't just use their private phones to make prank calls. If we did know that (A) were true, then (E) might help support the claim. But we also don't know anything about the number of public phones in Springfield or the exact percentage that are out of order.

Notice that the passage actually does NOT say that most public phones are out of service. A significant percentage could be 20%, 50%, 70%... or even something as small as 5% or 10%. Significant just means "sufficiently great or important to be worthy of attention." What qualifies as "significant" depends on the context. For example, if I said that 5% of the people in your country had contracted a highly-contagious, lethal virus, I think you'd agree that 5% is a significant percentage!

Also, how many public phones are there? If there are only a small number of public phones, the fact that a significant percentage are out of service may or may not change things very much.

(E) might help, but since we are looking for the answer choice that "most strongly supports the claim," (A) is a much better answer.
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Re: Springfield Fire Commissioner: The vast majority of false fire alarms  [#permalink]

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05 Jun 2018, 04:45
souvik101990 wrote:

Springfield Fire Commissioner: The vast majority of false fire alarms are prank calls made anonymously from fire alarm boxes on street corners. Since virtually everyone has access to a private telephone, these alarm boxes have outlived their usefulness. Therefore, we propose to remove the boxes. Removing the boxes will reduce the number of prank calls without hampering people's ability to report a fire.

Hi Expert,
I'm confused about the word We in red part. Here, all the stuffs are said by Springfield Fire Commissioner, NOT by ''prank callerS" right? In this argument, We is plural, but Springfield Fire Commissioner IS singular. So, my question is: HOW do someone know that the plural form We has been used in stead of the singular form Springfield Fire Commissioner
Thanks...
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Re: Springfield Fire Commissioner: The vast majority of false fire alarms  [#permalink]

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09 Jun 2018, 21:31
souvik101990 wrote:
Springfield Fire Commissioner: The vast majority of false fire alarms are prank calls made anonymously from fire alarm boxes on street corners. Since virtually everyone has access to a private telephone, these alarm boxes have outlived their usefulness. Therefore, we propose to remove the boxes. Removing the boxes will reduce the number of prank calls without hampering people's ability to report a fire.

Hi Expert,

I'm confused about the word We in red part. Here, all the stuffs are said by Springfield Fire Commissioner, NOT by ''prank callerS" right? In this argument, We is plural, but Springfield Fire Commissioner IS singular. So, my question is: HOW do someone know that the plural form We has been used in stead of the singular form Springfield Fire Commissioner

Thanks...

AsadAbu, that's a perfectly reasonable thing to worry about on sentence correction, but it shouldn't really be a concern on CR.

It’s true that only one person, the Commissioner, is speaking. However, the commissioner of a fire department is the head of that department, just like the CEO is the head of a corporation. If I’m the head of my organization, and I’m announcing a new decision made by the organization, then it makes perfect sense to represent the entire organization, speaking on behalf of us and explaining why we have concluded that this is the right course of action.

I hope this helps!
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Re: Springfield Fire Commissioner: The vast majority of false fire alarms  [#permalink]

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20 Jun 2018, 13:58
GMATNinja wrote:
souvik101990 wrote:
Springfield Fire Commissioner: The vast majority of false fire alarms are prank calls made anonymously from fire alarm boxes on street corners. Since virtually everyone has access to a private telephone, these alarm boxes have outlived their usefulness. Therefore, we propose to remove the boxes. Removing the boxes will reduce the number of prank calls without hampering people's ability to report a fire.

Hi Expert,

I'm confused about the word We in red part. Here, all the stuffs are said by Springfield Fire Commissioner, NOT by ''prank callerS" right? In this argument, We is plural, but Springfield Fire Commissioner IS singular. So, my question is: HOW do someone know that the plural form We has been used in stead of the singular form Springfield Fire Commissioner

Thanks...

AsadAbu, that's a perfectly reasonable thing to worry about on sentence correction, but it shouldn't really be a concern on CR.

I hope this helps!

RonPurewal says: GMAT exam (include CR) is never tricky, or disingenuous, or purposely obtuse. Don't you think that the word ''we'' makes the CR tricky, or disingenuous, or purposely obtuse?
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Re: Springfield Fire Commissioner: The vast majority of false fire alarms  [#permalink]

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23 Jun 2018, 09:09
1
RonPurewal wrote:
GMAT exam (include CR) is never tricky, or disingenuous, or purposely obtuse. Don't you think that the word ''we'' makes the CR tricky, or disingenuous, or purposely obtuse?
Thanks__

I'm with RonPurewal in this case.

Going back to the prompt, let's ask ourselves one question: If "We" does not refer to the fire department, then whom could it possibly refer to in this prompt?
• Prank callers are not on the Fire Commissioner's side. He wouldn't put himself in the same group as the people he's trying to stop.
• If the pronoun were referring to people reporting fires, it would take the form "they." Also, people reporting fires are the group that the fire department is trying to serve. It makes no sense for the Fire Commissioner to put himself in the same grammatical group as them, especially when proposing a department decision.

Remember, this is not an SC question, so none of the pronouns in the prompt are open to question. If the GMAT were designing this question to make us doubt the reasonable usage of pronouns, then it probably would be obtuse. But what we see here is very straightforward usage, in line with what we'd expect in any managerial scenario.

Plus, the question we're asked does not call into question who is saying what, so we shouldn't spend precious time coming up with alternate interpretations or thinking of ways we'd prefer to write the prompt. We should stay focused on answering the the question about this proposal.

I hope this helps!
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Re: Springfield Fire Commissioner: The vast majority of false fire alarms  [#permalink]

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13 Sep 2018, 06:28
Are we sure this is an OG question?

I don't see the direct correlation between [A] and the question stem.

Ninja's explanation for [A]: "The commissioner claims that the number of prank calls would be reduced if people could only report fires with private telephones rather than with public fire alarm boxes. But what if people could still make anonymous reports from their private telephones? That would weaken the commissioners argument. Choice (A) assures us that the private calls will, in fact, be traced, likely discouraging people from making prank calls from their private telephones. Thus, (A) supports the commissioner's claim."

So the FD has the ability to trace calls from private phones... Okay, do we know for sure that this means that prank calls will be reduced? What if stupid kids think they can *69? What if it's not public knowledge that the FD can trace calls, then people would still do prank calls.

The premise talks about anonymous prank calls. The conclusion only talks about prank calls. It never explicit says "anonymous. I see this as a noteworthy gap.

[A] talks about removing anonymity. Okay... but the proposal only aims to reduce prank calls, anonymous or not anonymous. I feel like [A] is irrelevant. How can we just assume that tracing calls will lead to people not making prank calls?

I am new to CR, so I am just trying to understand what is wrong with my reasoning. Thanks!

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Re: Springfield Fire Commissioner: The vast majority of false fire alarms &nbs [#permalink] 13 Sep 2018, 06:28
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