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The special role of “Only” in statements

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The special role of “Only” in statements  [#permalink]

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New post Updated on: 21 Mar 2018, 23:15
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Words such as “only”, “all”, “each”, “every” add special context when added to statements. In this article, we will study how “only” impacts the meaning of a statement and the inferences that you can draw from the same.

While our focus in this article is to learn to draw inferences from single statements, the learnings from this e-GMAT article will help you
1. Prethink in CR questions
2. Solve inference questions in both CR and RC
3. Reject incorrect answer choices

Context from e-GMAT course

This article is a part of skill building part of e-GMAT Inference module. Some of the examples taken in this article are from the same . You may click here to take a look at a few video lessons.

Statement 1

Lets start with a simple example:

Only multi-story buildings in California were destroyed in the earthquake in 1989.


Let’s first read the passage and understand its meaning.

This passage talks about impact of an earthquake that happened in the year 1989 in California. It indicates that in this earthquake ONLY the multi-story buildings were destroyed. Now the passage explicitly states that ONLY multi story buildings were destroyed. Carefully observe the word “only”.

Now based on this, lets take a look at a few statements and see which ones we can infer.

1. Single-story buildings in California were not destroyed in the earthquake in 1989.
2. Single-story buildings in California survived in the earthquake in 1989.
3. Multi-story buildings in California did not survive in the earthquake in 1989.


Choice #1 – Single-story buildings …


Because the given statement explicitly states that ONLY multi-story buildings were destroyed in the specified earthquake, we can surely understand that single-story buildings were not destroyed in this earthquake. Therefore, statement 1 is surely an inference:

Single-story buildings in California were not destroyed in the earthquake in 1989.



Notice how by understanding the meaning of the given statement, we could come up with this inference. And notice what we did – we simply understood the entities being talked about in the passage. Think about it this way –

When the author talks about multi-story buildings and he explicitly states that ONLY these buildings were impacted, he indirectly also talks about the other kind of structures - that is the buildings that are not multi-story i.e. single-story buildings or bridges for that matter. So, we get to know that these other structures were not impacted. And hence we can draw inference about these other structures – in the case of statement 1 about the single-story buildings.

So always watch out for words such as “only”. If the author uses the word “only”, then by presenting information about a specific entity, the author also provides information about the other possible entities that may exist.
Quote:
“If the author uses the word “only”, then by presenting information about a specific entity, the author also (indirectly) provides information about the other possible entities that may exist.”


Choice #2 - Single-story buildings in California survived in the earthquake in 1989

Single-story buildings in California survived in the earthquake in 1989.


Can we infer the above? Surely, we can. Statement #2 is essentially the same as #1 with verb changed. Here we took statement 1 and we changed the context of the verb and we arrived at statement 2 as an inference.

Now look at statement 3 and indicate if it can be inferred from the given statement:

Choice #3 – Multi-Story buildings in California …

Multi-story buildings in California did not survive in the earthquake in 1989.


We cannot infer statement 3 based on the given statement. Let’s see why:

Evaluating using a simple example

For this purpose, we will consider an example scenario for the passage. And for the sake of representation on this diagram, we will consider small numbers. Let’s say there were 5 multi-story buildings in California (yes, pretty small numbers). And when the earthquake happened, 3 buildings were destroyed. Now per the passage, all these 3 buildings were multi-story buildings. Thus, in the end 2 multi-story buildings were left intact.

So, in this example scenario for the passage, 2 multi-story buildings were indeed left intact or these 2 were not destroyed in the earthquake. And clearly, you can see that the information in the passage goes against what statement 3 states.

Evaluating using Logic
We will also look at this from just the perspective of words.

Statement 3 tells us that multi-story buildings did not survive the earthquake. i.e. none of the multi-story buildings survived the earthquake. Or in other words, all multi-story buildings were destroyed in this earthquake.

Now let’s see if the information in the passage supports this statement.
• Per the passage, we understand that only multi-story buildings were destroyed.
• So, this means that all the buildings that were destroyed were multi-story buildings.
• But see, it does not mean that all the multi-story buildings were destroyed. As we saw in the example considered above, it could be the case that only 3 out of the 5 multi storey buildings could have been destroyed. In such case too, the given information "ONLY multi-story buildings were destroyed..." stands valid.

Thus, the passage does not support statement 3 and hence statement 3 cannot be inferred from the passage.

TakeAway

So to understand what can and what cannot be inferred, at e-GMAT we recommend that first understand the information in the passage and see what entities the given statement talks about. In this case, because of use of word “only”, we automatically got to know about the other kind of entities that exist. And hence we could draw inferences regarding those entities as well.
With this understanding, let’s now take up a full length Inference question.


Inference Question

To eliminate fake news, which is published primarily by bots on its platform, Facebook created a mechanism called Related Articles Correlation (RAC). RAC engine evaluates the content of any article posted on Facebook against the content in trusted related articles using a test called the smell test. Only those articles that pass this test will be published on Facebook. In an expansive study, only articles written by college educated graduates passed the smell test.

If the information above is true, it can be reasonably inferred that

A. Articles published by most sophisticated bots that have been successful in generating content that has fooled most human evaluators will not be published on Facebook.
B. In the near future, all fake content on Facebook will disappear.
C. In many cases, RAC engine will reject articles published by well-educated graduates, especially if these articles do not mention the same information that is mentioned in the corresponding trusted articles.
D. Even the most sophisticated bots that are currently in development are not likely to pass the smell test.
E. The amount of fake news floating on the internet will reduce to a fraction of its present amount as RAC mechanism is implemented by Facebook.
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Originally posted by egmat on 21 Mar 2018, 10:44.
Last edited by egmat on 21 Mar 2018, 23:15, edited 5 times in total.
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Re: The special role of “Only” in statements  [#permalink]

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New post 21 Mar 2018, 19:25
urvashis09 - Thank you for submitting the answer. Can you provide your reasoning to support your answer. In other words, why do you thing the platform will reject articles written by well-educated humans.

-Rajat
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Re: The special role of “Only” in statements  [#permalink]

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New post 21 Mar 2018, 19:46
The argument says that RAC evaluates the content against the content in trusted related articles and only the articles that pass will be published. Also, in a study, only articles written by college graduates passed the smell test. So we have two key sources of information before we look at the answer choices:
A. Articles published by most sophisticated bots that have been successful in generating content that has fooled most human evaluators will not be published on Facebook. Information about other successful bots is nowhere stated in the argument hence, this cannot be inferred.
B. In the near future, all fake content on Facebook will disappear. The outcome of using of RAC cannot be inferred from the information given. Exaggerated.
C. In many cases, RAC engine will reject articles published by well-educated graduates, especially if these articles do not mention the same information that is mentioned in the corresponding trusted articles. According to a study, only articles written by college graduates passed the smell test. That means these articles must have had the content similar to that in the trusted articles. But if the articles do not have the same information as in the corresponding trusted articles then they will be rejected as it is the primary condition for passing the smell test. Correct.
D. Even the most sophisticated bots that are currently in development are not likely to pass the smell test. No information in the argument about most sophisticated bots. Can't be inferred.
E. The amount of fake news floating on the internet will reduce to a fraction of its present amount as RAC mechanism is implemented by Facebook. Extreme and exaggerated. The results of using this mechanism is out of scope.
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Re: The special role of “Only” in statements  [#permalink]

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New post 21 Mar 2018, 21:18
IMO C

Primary facts:
1. Only articles that have content not necessarily similar but the roots of which can be found in the trusted articles will be published
2. Only articles by CEG passed the smell test.

Answer choices:
A. Too strong. Will not be published is exaggerated. We do not know the outcome for sure.

B. Near future. Exaggerated

C. Let's look into it. RAC will not publish articles whose content does not have a base mentioned or discussed in the trusted articles. Even though the answer choice says " do not have the similar content will not be posted " we still can infer from our facts that the base could be stretched to similar content. ( I still don't know whether the content has to be similar ..but let's keep it )

D. Again this is a prediction. We cannot know for sure. Some may still be able to put up the fake news by passing the smell test.

E. This one is a bit tricky. Yes the RAC has implemented the mechanism for a particular reason . But can we for sure? Wait there it is. The answer choice says amount of fake news posted on the INTERNET will reduce. This is exaggeration. FACEBOOK has implemented the mechanism on ITS platform so the mechanism helping eliminate the fake news on the internet is like referring to a spoon as a kitchen. Hence wrong.

Therefore C is the best amongst the above.

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Re: The special role of “Only” in statements  [#permalink]

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New post 21 Mar 2018, 23:00
AdityaHongunti and urvashis09

Thank you for posting your analysis. I hope you read this article. In this article we have have a passage:

Only multi-story buildings in California were destroyed in the earthquake in 1989

Based on this statement, can you infer either of the statements below?

1. No multi-story building in California survived the 1989 earthquake?
2. Many multi-story buildings in California survived the 1989 California earthquake

Read the article if you need help.

-Rajat
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Re: The special role of “Only” in statements  [#permalink]

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New post 21 Mar 2018, 23:11
None of the statements can be inferred.

As per your example if there are 5 multi storey buildings..either all 5 or 3 may be destroyed so 1 is not true. 2nd statement says many were destroyed . Maybe 2 were destroyed or maybe all 5 so the number of survival cannot be determined. I don't think either of the statements must be true.

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Re: The special role of “Only” in statements  [#permalink]

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New post 21 Mar 2018, 23:11
egmat wrote:
AdityaHongunti and urvashis09

Thank you for posting your analysis. I hope you read this article. In this article we have have a passage:

Only multi-story buildings in California were destroyed in the earthquake in 1989

Based on this statement, can you infer either of the statements below?

1. No multi-story building in California survived the 1989 earthquake?
2. Many multi-story buildings in California survived the 1989 California earthquake

Read the article if you need help.

-Rajat



Hi Rajat,


Thank you for the question. As per my understanding-

1. No multi-story building in California survived the 1989 earthquake? This statement cannot be inferred. Since the statement says only multi-story buildings were destroyed. That means either few or all of multi story buildings were destroyed. There must be different kinds of buildings and of those different sets of buildings, only one set-multi story were destroyed. But the statement does not say "all" were destroyed. So either all or few buildings of that particular set were destroyed. Hence the fact definitely negates the given statement.

2. Many multi-story buildings in California survived the 1989 California earthquake. This statement cannot be inferred. Again, of that particular set of buildings, maybe few, maybe all, maybe one but all were destroyed. We cannot be sure, hence this statement cannot be inferred.
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Re: The special role of “Only” in statements &nbs [#permalink] 21 Mar 2018, 23:11
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