By referring to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as "purely programmatic" (line 49) in nature, the author mo...

First on August 6 at 09:42PM

Difference between Strengthening w/ Sufficient vs. Necessary

Hi guys - in the video, Mehran restates the importance of "being able to distinguish between sufficient and necessary strengthen questions", but I am really confused as to HOW we do this...the question stems are often worded in such a way that it is clear that we are looking to Strengthen, but I don't have a clue how to tell between S w/ Suff versus S w/ Nec. Are there key words that I should be looking for in the Q stems? And if so, is this the only way to differentiate? Does that require simply memorizing certain words and learning to associate them with specific question types? I know LSAT writers design the test with trickery in mind, so I am hesitant to rely on memorizing words and basing my answering strategies on ambiguity. They sometimes switch up the words/phrasing just for "fun", and I ain't about to go down that road with them if I can avoid it. :-) Please let me know if you can provide some additional information as to how we can distinguish between the two different types of Strengthen questions. Thank you!!

1 Reply

Ravi on August 9 at 07:39PM

@ShannonOh22,

Happy to help.

The two question types you're referring to are strengthen with a
necessary premise and strengthen with a sufficient premise. Let's take
a look at how they differ.

1) strengthen with a necessary premise questions

These questions typically say things like

Which one of the following is an assumption on which the argument depends?

Which one of the following is an assumption required by the
editorial's argument?

The consumer's argument relies on the assumption that

Which one of the following is an assumption on which the argument depends?

Which one of the following is an assumption required by the
researcher's argument?

The key giveaway in these question stems that tell us they're
strengthen with a necessary premise questions is that they all contain
wording that tells us that we're looking for an assumption that the
argument NEEDS/REQUIRES/HAS TO HAVE in order for it to have any chance
at holding up.

Necessary premises are premises that must be true in order for the
argument to hold. In other words, if a necessary premise is false,
then the argument falls apart.

2) strengthen with a sufficient premise questions

These question types typically say things like

Which one of the following, if assumed, enables the psychologist's
conclusion to be properly drawn?

The ethicist's conclusion follows logically if which one of the
following is assumed?

The argument's conclusion follows logically if which one of the
following is assumed?

Which one of the following, if assumed, enables the essayist's
conclusion to be properly drawn?

The conclusion of the criminologist's argument is properly inferred if
which one of the following is assumed?

The key giveaway in these question stems that tell us they're
strengthen with a sufficient premise questions is that they all
contain language that tells us that we're looking for an assumption
that, if true, ENABLES THE CONCLUSION TO BE DRAWN/JUSTIFIES THE
ARGUMENT, etc. In other words, we're looking for an assumption that,
if true, makes the argument valid.

Sufficient premises are premises that, if we add them to the argument,
automatically make the argument valid.

To recap, think of necessary premises as premises that, if false, make
the argument lose. Think of sufficient premises as premises that, if
true, make the argument win (valid).

Does this help? Let us know if you have any more questions!