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Hannah on September 11 at 04:36AM

Overly specific versus general application of terms

Hi all, Answer choice D seemed like a good choice in its general idea, but wanting to adhere to the “be specific” principle we so often hear about when preparing for the LSAT, I eliminated answer D because I thought there was no way testimony could be the same as signing a petition. Obviously, in this case, the test makers took them to be equivalent terms. Any tips for avoiding “over-specificity” in LR questions?

2 Replies

on September 19 at 05:38PM

Hello @Hannah-Anderson,

It is great that you understand your own thought process when it came to eliminating answer choice D. I'll explain why D is correct, and how we can understand the test makers' use of equivalent terms.

"Testimony" sounds like something we only hear in a courtroom. You probably would have answered correctly if "opinion" or "belief" were used instead. However, testimony has basically the same meaning in the context of this argument.

The author gives only one piece of evidence in support of the conclusion.

Conclusion: The approach you propose would damage fishing operations

Support: 20,000 people signed a position rejecting your approach in favor of another.

The argument depends entirely on this petition. This tells us that the answer choice will have something to do with the petition. D is correct because it calls into question the argument's only support.

When it comes to specificity, we want to be exact for words such as "sometimes" vs. "never" or "often" vs. "always." With terminology like what we saw in this question, there are times w

Also remember that appeals to popularity are an established flaw that I have seen on multiple tests.

on September 19 at 05:40PM

Apologies, the response above was cut off.

Hello @Hannah-Anderson,

It is great that you understand your own thought process when it came to eliminating answer choice D. I'll explain why D is correct, and how we can understand the test makers' use of equivalent terms.

"Testimony" sounds like something we only hear in a courtroom. You probably would have answered correctly if "opinion" or "belief" were used instead. However, testimony has basically the same meaning in the context of this argument.

The author gives only one piece of evidence in support of the conclusion.

Conclusion: The approach you propose would damage fishing operations.

Support: 20,000 people signed a position rejecting your approach in favor of another.

The argument depends entirely on this petition. This tells us that the answer choice will have something to do with the petition. D is correct because it calls into question the argument's only support.

When it comes to specificity, we want to be exact for words such as "every" vs. "some" or "usually" vs. "always." With terminology like what we saw in this question, there are times when we have to be a bit more flexible. When the basic meaning is the same, don't let an odd choice of words distract you from the spirit of the argument.

Also remember that appeals to popularity, like the petition from this question, are an established reasoning flaw that I have come across multiple times.