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Springfield Fire Commissioner: The vast majority of false fire alarms

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At a dinner party, 40 percent of the guests wore both jackets and ties  [#permalink]

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New post 17 Apr 2018, 17:01
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?
May I've your opinion, please?
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At a dinner party, 40 percent of the guests wore both jackets and ties  [#permalink]

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New post 17 Apr 2018, 19:15
AsadAbu wrote:
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?
May I've your opinion, please?
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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At a dinner party, 40 percent of the guests wore both jackets and ties  [#permalink]

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New post 17 Apr 2018, 19:25
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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Springfield Fire Commissioner: The vast majority of false fire alarms  [#permalink]

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New post 17 Apr 2018, 21:33
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 -- or the least-bad of the 5 answer choices. :)

You might want to check out this article for some foundational approaches to these questions, but here are some thoughts about this particular question:

  • 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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New post 13 Dec 2018, 13:33
GMATNinja wrote:
AsadAbu wrote:
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?
May I've your opinion, please?
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!

Thanks for your broad explanation. :) :)
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Re: Springfield Fire Commissioner: The vast majority of false fire alarms  [#permalink]

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New post 13 Dec 2018, 13:44
Quote:
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.

Thanks GMATNinja for your above helpful comment.
Another query:
So, can I add another possible correct answer (F) for this CR? I mean: Is F legit choice for this CR?
F) Springfield just enacted a new law that mandates a minimum 30-year prison term for prank-calling the fire department.

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

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New post 01 Jan 2019, 15:43
GMATNinja wrote:

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).

The green part is okay (E doesn't support the commissioner's proposal) , because the correct choice is A :) . So, What E actually does? Does it weaken the commissioner's proposal only or is it irrelevant too?
Thanks__
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Re: Springfield Fire Commissioner: The vast majority of false fire alarms  [#permalink]

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New post 20 Jan 2019, 04:13
AsadAbu wrote:
GMATNinja wrote:

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).

The green part is okay (E doesn't support the commissioner's proposal) , because the correct choice is A :) . So, What E actually does? Does it weaken the commissioner's proposal only or is it irrelevant too?
Thanks__

(E) has zero impact on the idea that removing the alarm boxes "will reduce the number of prank calls." The availability of public telephones has zero impact on that. So (E) is basically irrelevant to the commissioner's claim about the proposal, and that's what we really care about.

AsadAbu wrote:
Quote:
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.

Thanks GMATNinja for your above helpful comment.
Another query:
So, can I add another possible correct answer (F) for this CR? I mean: Is F legit choice for this CR?
F) Springfield just enacted a new law that mandates a minimum 30-year prison term for prank-calling the fire department.

Thanks__

To be honest, I don't recommend creating your own answer choices as a way of understanding the argument. That's nothing something we'd ever do when taking the test, and ultimately we're trying to improve our ability to answer each question as it is designed and presented. If your answer choice isn't something that the GMAT would actually include in a question, why spend your time worrying about it? So stick with EXACTLY what's in the question, and don't worry about the rest.

I hope this helps!
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Need an expert reply?
Hit the request verbal experts' reply button -- and please be specific about your question. Feel free to tag @GMATNinja in your post. Priority is always given to official GMAT questions.

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

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New post 10 Feb 2019, 08:34
So this question is asking to support the premise and not the conclusion? Isn't it? As I squared in A and D, A supports the premise and D supports the conclusion. One has to choose wisely.

Am I correct in holding this view?
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Re: Springfield Fire Commissioner: The vast majority of false fire alarms   [#permalink] 10 Feb 2019, 08:34

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