Critical reasoning questions form a crucial part of various competitive exams. The key to solving many critical reasoning and inference based questions is correctly identifying the conclusion.
‘Conclusion’ means the point that the author is trying to prove based on the given facts. It is the opinion, position or judgment reached after considering the given facts or premise. Let’s take an example: if your friend tells you about a new movie which is based on a novel by a famous author and the main actor in the movie will be Salman Khan. And then he goes on to add that, he is sure this movie is going to be a super hit.
Now, this opinion is derived from the given facts thus the conclusion is that the movie is going to be a super hit.
Strategy to identify the conclusion:
Answer the question: What is the author trying to prove? Conclusion is often preceded by words showing opinion, judgment ,prediction or conclusion like conclude that, contend that, believe that, hypothesize that, clearly. Such wording allows you to identify the conclusion in no time.
At times, the conclusion is the recommendation given by the author. For example: Company XYZ has suffered huge losses this quarter; therefore they should do a thorough analysis of their strategies.
There are certain conjunctions which help us in identifying the conclusion, which normally occurs after such words. These are: therefore, thus, consequently, hence, so, which means that, it follows that, etc.
Critical Reasoning: Concepts & Practice
Let’s look at the following examples and identify the conclusion:
Example 1: The FDA should stop all cigarette sales immediately. After all, cigarette smoking is the leading preventable cause of death.
Solution: The FDA should stop all cigarette sales immediately. In this example the conclusion is a recommendation given by the author.
Example 2: The dreamer rejected the ordinary. Jay invited the ordinary. Jay is no dreamer.
Solution: Jay is no dreamer. It is clear from the given facts that this is the conclusion.
Example 3: Now human law is framed for a multitude of human beings. The majority of human beings are not perfect in virtue. Therefore human laws do not forbid all vices.
Solution: Human laws do not forbid all vices. We get a clear hint from the use of therefore.
Example 4: Every Law is an evil, for every law is an infraction of liberty.
Solution: Every Law is an evil. If we think, what is the author trying to prove, we get the conclusion as the first part of the sentence and the reason is the second part of the sentence.
Example 5: If the criminal law prohibits suicide, that is not an argument valid in the church; and besides, the prohibition is ridiculous; for what penalty can frighten a person who is not afraid of death itself?
Solution: The prohibition is ridiculous; this is the opinion of the author and exactly what he is trying to prove from the given statements.
Hence, you can easily tackle such questions by following the clues given in the question itself.
Verbal Preparation Series