If people refrained from being impolite to one another the condition of society would be greatly improved. But societ...

David on March 1 at 05:31PM

First and second sentence

Could you please provide a little info about how to determine the second sentence was the conclusion? I thought the first sentence ("If people refrained...") was the main conclusion because it seemed like the overarching point. Is the third sentence what makes the second sentence the conclusion? Thank you!

2 Replies

Skylar on March 1 at 06:13PM

@DavidW, happy to help!

The first sentence gives us a general principle, which is likely why you feel like it makes an overarching point. However, the key here is to think about each of the three sentences in the context of each other. The first sentence discusses how the condition of society would improve if people refrained from impoliteness. The second and third sentences depart from this and focus on how laws requiring politeness would not better society. This departure is the point of the passage, not the general principle discussed in the first sentence. The majority of the passage is spent discussing the impact of such laws, which reinforces the idea that this is the main point.

Also, you may note how the phrase "but society would not be better off..." is a strong claim. Oftentimes, you will see strong claims as conclusions, especially when they mark a departure from a principle discussed earlier.

Moreover, the key to identifying conclusions is to take a step back and ask yourself "does everything else in the passage support this?" You are correct that the third sentence helps to make the second sentence the conclusion, because it supports the claim that the conclusion/second sentence makes. Along these lines, you can ask yourself "does this support anything else in the passage?" to identify a premise. Here, the first sentence sets up the rest of the passage and is therefore not the conclusion that everything else in the passage points toward.

Lastly, I have compiled lists of common words used to indicate premises and conclusions. Familiarizing yourself with these indicators may help you to more easily identity conclusions in the future.

Words that generally introduce a premise:
- since
- because
- given that
- for
- for the reason that
- in that
- as indicated by
- may be inferred from
- as

Words that generally introduce a conclusion:
- therefore
- hence
- thus
- consequently
- it follows that
- so
- accordingly
- it can be concluded that
- we may infer
- for this reason
- as a result

Does that make sense? Please let us know if you have any other questions and best of luck with your studies!

David on March 4 at 09:11PM

Thanks for such a thorough answer, Skylar! That is super helpful and explains everything very clearly.