Commentator: If a political administration is both economically successful and successful at protecting individual li...

Uthy on January 15, 2020

main point = conclusion?

For Question 6, I think the main point is the first sentence. However, I do agree that the first sentence is a premise, and the last sentence is the conclusion. So I am so confused. Do I understand correctly?

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BenMingov on January 15, 2020

Hi Uthy,

From what I see in your question, I think it may be helpful to run through what a main point is, and perhaps some more argument structure.

You are correctly identifying the first sentence as a premise, which is a good start, but then also determined that the first sentence is the main point.

Let's backtrack to see why this can't be.

Every argument is composed of premises and conclusions. By definition:

Premises support conclusion

Conclusions are supported by premises.

There is also this third category called sub-conclusions. These are both premises and conclusions at the same time. They act this way because they support the main conclusion (acting as a premise in doing so) and are also supported by premises (acting as a conclusion in doing so).

A pure premise is never a conclusion. Otherwise it wouldn't be a pure premise, it would be a sub conclusion. Moreover, there is a distinction between sub-conclusions and main conclusions.

The main conclusion is the final point (structurally, not necessarily final thing said). Everything in the argument (premises and sub-conclusions) lead to the main conclusion.

When we look at main point questions, in other words we are trying to identify the main conclusion of an argument. The correct answer choice will likely be a paraphrased version of the main conclusion you found in the passage.

So, having correctly identified a premise, just know that it can't ever be a main point. Be not the lookout for the main conclusion.

I hope this helps! Please let me know if you have any other questions or if you'd like me to clarify this some more.

Uthy on January 28, 2020

That's helpful! Thank you!