STRENGTHEN THE ARGUMENT

The question from this question type will ask you how the argument could be strengthened. You would need to find the statement from the option that if true would support the argument most. It is possible that there are two options present that support the argument, however, you need to find the one option that supports the argument most.
Common word used in question – Strengthen the argument, supports the
Argument

As with any other question type in CR, it is absolutely critical to divide the argument into premise and conclusion. After you have divided argument into premises and conclusions, try to think what assumption author made to reach to conclusion from premise.

Once you have found the assumption, look at the option and eliminate the option that does not support the argument.

 

Let’s solve one example question from official guide –

Editorial: The roof of Northtown Council’s equipment-storage building collapsed under the weight of last week’s heavy snowfall. The building was constructed recently and met local building-safety codes in every particular, except that the nails used for attaching roof supports to the building’s columns were of a smaller size than the codes specify for this purpose. Clearly, this collapse exemplifies how even a single, apparently insignificant, departure from safety standards can have severe consequences.
Which of the following, if true, most strongly supports the editorial’s argument?

A. The only other buildings whose roofs collapsed from the weight of the snowfall were older buildings constructed according to less exacting standards than those in the safety codes.

B. Because of the particular location of the equipment-storage building, the weight of snow on its roof was greater than the maximum weight allowed for in the safety codes.

C. Because the equipment-storage building was not intended for human occupation, some safety-code provisions that would have applied to an office building did not apply to it.

D. The columns of the building were no stronger than the building-safety codes required for such a building.

E. Because the equipment-storage building was where the council kept snow-removal equipment, the building was almost completely empty when the roof collapsed.

 

Argument ->

Editorial: The roof of Northtown Council’s equipment-storage building collapsed under the weight of last week’s heavy snowfall. The building was constructed recently and met local building-safety codes in every particular, except that the nails used for attaching roof supports to the building’s columns were of a smaller size than the codes specify for this purpose. Clearly, this collapse exemplifies how even a single, apparently insignificant, departure from safety standards can have severe consequences.

 

Step 1 -> Divide the argument into premises and conclusion

Premises –
1) The roof of Northtown Council’s equipment-storage building collapsed under the weight of last week’s heavy snowfall.
2) The building was constructed recently and met local building-safety codes in every particular, except that the nails used for attaching roof supports to the building’s columns were of a smaller size than the codes specify for this purpose.

Conclusion –
This collapse exemplifies how even a single, apparently insignificant, departure from safety standards can have severe consequences.

Step 2 ->Now try to think what could be the assumptions. Clearly the author assumes that the collapse happened because of the small size of nails.

Assumption – Collapse was caused by the small size of the nails used for attaching roof supports to the building’s columns.

Step 3 -> Now look at the option provided and try to eliminate the wrong answers.

A. The only other buildings whose roofs collapsed from the weight of the snowfall were older buildings constructed according to less exacting standards than those in the safety codes.
This is an answer to the question. If the only building that were collapsed from the weight of snowfall were constructed according to less exacting standards than those in the safety codes then the collapse must have caused by the small size of the nails used for attaching roof supports to the building’s columns.

B. Because of the particular location of the equipment-storage building, the weight of snow on its roof was greater than the maximum weight allowed for in the safety codes.
This actually weakens the code. According to this option even if the building was made as per the standard, building would have collapsed.

C. Because the equipment-storage building was not intended for human occupation, some safety-code provisions that would have applied to an office building did not apply to it.
This is out of scope option.

D. The columns of the building were no stronger than the building-safety codes required for such a building.
This has no effect on cause of the collapse. It does not matter even if the columns of the building were not stronger than the required column of the building as per the safety code.

E. Because the equipment-storage building was where the council kept snow-removal equipment, the building was almost completely empty when the roof collapsed.
This is out of scope option.

 

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