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arla on March 22, 2020

subsidiary conclusion

what does subsidiary conclusion mean?? Can you please provide an example?

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SamA on March 23, 2020

Hello @aria,

Sometimes, a passage will contain more than one conclusion. However, only one of them will be the main conclusion. The other is what we call a subsidiary conclusion. It acts as support for the main conclusion. I will create an example.

John shouldn't have purchased the PT Cruiser for his wife. She cried when she saw it in the driveway, therefore she probably hated it.

First, let's identify the two conclusions. Claiming that something should or should not be done is almost always a conclusion. It is a matter of opinion, and therefore an argument, not a fact. The first sentence is a conclusion.

Pay attention to your conclusion indicators. "Therefore" is a very common one. "She probably hated it" is our other conclusion.. Remember that a conclusion has to be supported by a premise. I use a question and answer strategy to figure out which statement supports which.

Main conclusion: John shouldn't have purchased the PT Cruiser for his wife.
Sub-Conclusion: Because she probably hated it.
Premise: Because she cried when she saw it in the driveway.

Do you see how the sub-conclusion acts as a premise for the main conclusion? That is how you will identify sub-conclusions. Notice that it doesn't work the other way around.

"She probably hated it."
"Because John shouldn't have purchased it."

This doesn't make sense. The first conclusion does not support the second conclusion. The conclusion that doesn't support anything else will be the main conclusion. It is the end of the argument.

This is one of the trickier concepts to understand, but if you can master this you will be a master of argument structure in general.