Sunday, April 15, 2007

Sample Issue topic - 2

"People work more productively in teams than individually. Team work requires cooperation, which motivates people much more than individual competition does".

Sample writing:

The speaker is correct when he states that productivity increases when people work in teams. Teamwork requires cooperation and this enhances the motivation of people than individual competition.

In manufacturing industry, the production of product depends on a number of complex processes. A number of departments dealing with materials, technical services, finance, marketing and production have to interact and only after their cooperative work all the products roll out in time. When the operations involved are highly technical and production processes are complex, interactive cooperation becomes very essential. Even in the research organizations, researchers must collaborate to bring out the product designs. Here cooperative interaction will speed up the work. If individuals are in competition but without cooperation they may work in cross purposes and delay in schedules.

There are a number of benefits when people work in a team rather than individually. When people work as a team, their basic need of belongingness is satisfied. They feel secure and wanted by the members in the team. Good inter personal relations develop. This motivates them to put in more hard work to meet the goals and time schedule set for the team. When sales persons work as a team, each one tries very hard to meet the targets set for the sales of the team. Each one tries to help the other members. But if each one is competing with others in meeting the individual sales targets, the jealousies, back stabbing and other unethical practices will develop which will be counter productive to the organization. Even the best of leaders of industrial and business organizations acknowledge that without the cooperation of the subordinates and workers, they would not have achieved success. Thus, we can see cooperation and not competition as the key to success of organizations.

Cooperation is the corner stone for the teamwork and helps in several ways. It removes the bottlenecks and speeds up the processes. Cooperation also improves the morale of the workers. The inexperienced and trainees learn the work expeditiously since the seniors in the team willingly spend time to train them. Cooperation also involves encouraging others, sharing the burden, giving useful tips, and suggestions to other team members, and also looking after their security. The individuals develop camaraderie and interpersonal will improve. All these result in the increase of productivity.

But there are certain jobs where individual competition contributes to the productivity. Man by nature wants to show off as better than his neighbor. In the competitive world of businesses, one cannot lessen the importance of competition among the sales and persons to improve the sales and profits for the company. When there are incentives given to the individuals for exceeding the targets set to them, they compete to earn more by exceeding the targets. The leader or manager considers the usefulness of the competitive spirit and uses it appropriately. There are intra-team and inter –team competitions to improve the productivity. The leader or the managers should ensure that there is only healthy competition and it does not lead to jealousies and unethical practices. However, it is necessary that the cooperation among persons is maintained for the effectiveness of the organization.

In sum, we can say that the people working in teams where there is cooperation show greater productivity than those working individually and competing with each other.

Sample Issue topic - 1

"Rituals and ceremonies help define a culture. Without them societies or groups of people have a diminished sense of who they are"

Sample Writing:

The speaker affirms that rituals and ceremonies are needed for a group of people to define their culture and their identity. Without them the groups have lesser identity or altogether lose their identity. I agree with the author that rituals and ceremonies define a culture and give distinct identity to a group but they are not the only ones, which give identity to a group. There are many things, which preserve cultural identity of a group.

The purpose of rituals and ceremonies is no doubt to preserve the group culture. If we look at the tribal in various nations like Red Indians of the U.S.A or aboriginal tribes of various other nations like Australian aborigines or original inhabitants like Nagas, Mizos, Santhals etc of India or Khampas of Tibet, they have developed their own identity by developing some unique rituals and ceremonies. These rituals and ceremonies are performed when there is a birth or death in a family, coming of the age of boys and girls, marriages and betrothals, other festivals and worship of tribal gods and goddesses. These are outward demonstrations, which maintain the unique cultural identity of the group. Some groups have even distinct war dances and music.

In the present day, many nations and governments are making efforts to assimilate the tribal and other distinct groups into the National main stream. These groups are then in danger of losing their distinct identity. Many tribal resist this assimilation and want to preserve their own identity and culture by jealously safe-guarding these rituals and ceremonies. But there are some countries, where the governments are encouraging the tribal and other distinct groups to maintain their cultural identity by performing rituals and ceremonies within the national stream.

The origin of rituals and ceremonies was due to superstition and spiritual belief. Many tribal and groups were bewildered by the happenings in nature such as deaths, diseases, floods, eclipses, defeats, victories, peculiar weather conditions etc and attributed them to spirits and other supernatural beings as they could not find rationale for such occurrences. These groups must have felt helplessness for these happenings. Thus, a tribal priestly class has been developed to conduct these rituals and ceremonies and they had become the performers and also act as intermediaries between these groups and Gods. Even in modern days some of the rituals observe the rituals and ceremonies because of superstition and to appease the spirits.

But rituals and ceremonies play only some part in the distinctive identity of the group. Many tribals wear separate dresses, wear distinctive ornaments, use distinctive musical instruments and sing tribal songs of their own tribes. They have their own eating habits and also social behavior at gatherings of marriages and festivals. So they also preserve the group’s unique character.

In the case of religious groups, every religion has prescribed a distinct mode of worship, code of conduct and dress, beliefs, concept of God and a priestly class. Christianity has prescribed baptism and also other ceremonies for weddings and deaths. Islam has its own ceremonies and every other religion like Buddhism, Hinduism and Judaism have prescribed their own rituals and ceremonies. All these provide distinct identity to the groups following a particular religion.

In sum, we can say that every tribal group and other religious groups maintain their distinct identity by ceremonies and rituals. They also follow a distinct dress and life styles. Even within the same Nation, one cans see the groups following their own distinctive identities, which may be considered as sub-nationalities. The groups follow these ceremonies and rituals for Temporal and spiritual functions and these serve as the means for preserving cultural identity of the groups.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

AWA section - GRE

AWA - Analytical Writing Assessment

The analytical writing section consists of two timed essay sections.

The first task is "Present your perspective on an issue". In this you will be shown two essay topics - each a sentence or paragraph that expresses an opinion on an issue of general interest. You will be asked to choose one of the two topics and you are given 45 minutes to plan and write and essay that communicates your own perspective on the issue. Whether you agree or disagree with the opinion on the screen is irrelevant. There is no correct or wrong answer. What matters is that you should back up your view with relevant reasons, examples and statements.

The second of the two writing tasks is the "Argument" essay. The task presents a difficult challenge. This time, you will be shown a paragraph that argues a certain point. You will be given 30 minutesto assess that argument's logic. There is no choices of topics for the argument essay. The test makers want you to critique an argument by discussing its logical soundness in 30 minutes duration

The two tasks are complimentary - one requires test takers to construct their own arguments by taking a position on an issue and providing evidence in support of it. The second task requires the test takers to outline some one else's argument by assessing its claims and evaluating the evidence it provides.

IMPORTANCE - The test includes AWA in order to -

1. facilitate the admissions process by assessing higher level critical analytical writing skills of applicants, and
2. provide a performance measure of test taker's ability to make and critique arguments, which help to assess work done by graduate students in most fields.

SKILLS TESTED IN AWA - The skills tested are -

1. articulate complex ideas clearly and effectively.
2. examine claims and accompanying evidence.
3. support ideas with relevant reasons and examples.
4. sustain a well - focussed, coherent discussion.
5. control the elements of standard written english (plays a role to the extent that poor writing skills impede readers' understanding)

HOW THE ESSAYS ARE ADMINISTERED - The analytical writing essay topics will be delivered on computer. You type your essays using a simplified word processor. You will be given a brief tutorial on how to use the word processor. If you are not comfortable with complex word processing program, there is nothing to worry. The program you shall use is simple, and you shall be well acquainted with it by the time you start writing.

COMPARISON WITH TOEFL - The TOEFL and GRE writing measures are very different. The TOEFL writing task is not designed to measure higher levels of thinking and analytical writing, but centers on command of English vocabulary, grammar, spelling and syntax. The tasks on the two tests are not at all comprable, because the TOEFL tests fundamental writing skills. The TOEFL score can supplement an analytical writing score of GRE by helping faculty determine whether a low score on the GRE writing measure is due to lack of familiarity with English or to lack of ability to produce and analyse logical arguments.

SCORING AND REPORTING - For the awa, each essay receives a score from two examiners/readers, using a 6-point holistic scale from 0 to 6. In holistic scoring two readers are to assign scores on the basis of overall quality of an essay in response to the assigned task. If the two readers scores differ by more than one point, the discrepancy is adjudicated by a third examiner, who is a very experienced reader. The scores from the two readings of an essay are averaged. The final score of the essays are then averaged and rounded up to the nearest half point and it is the score which is reported for the analytical writing measure. The primary emphasis in scoring the analytical writing essay is of critical thinking and analytical writing skills than on grammar. Examinees will receive a single analytical writing score, scores are not reported seperately for each essay.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Argument Topic - 2


In the Bayhead Public Library, books that are rarely borrowed continue to take up shelf space year after year, while people who want to read a recent novel frequently find that the library's only copy is checked out. Clearly, the library's plan to replace books that are borrowed no more than once a year with sufficient copies of more recent books will solve this problem. The protest we have heard since this plan was made public has come from a small, and thus unrepresentative, group of some thirty people and so should therefore be ignored.

Sample Writing

The author supports the Bay head public library's plan to replace books that are borrowed no more than once a year with sufficient copies of more recent books to solve the problem of insufficient shelf space. In support of his argument, the author cites that books that are rarely borrowed continue to take up shelf - space year after year, while recent novels frequently borrowed by the readers are checked out. This plan has been protested by only a small group of thirty people and should be ignored. The argument is flawed in several respects and so it is not persuasive.

Firstly, the author ignores the laws of library science that every reader should find his book and every book its reader and library is a growing organization. If old books or less popular books are removed from the library and only frequently borrowed novels are kept in large numbers, the variety of books in the library will be affected and some readers will miss them. Thus, some readers might stop patronizing the library if it implements the plan.

Secondly, the author mentions two problems faced by the Bay head public library. Books that are rarely borrowed continue to take up shelf space. People who want to read a recent novel frequently find that the library's only copy is already checked out. The author assumes that the solution to these problems is only one. He suggests to replace less frequently borrowed books with more copies of recent popular books. The author has not considered other options such as additional room or shelves for extra new books. While popular and new books are available in the market for buying , old and rare editions of books can be read only in the library. So, such less frequently borrowed books should be made available for the readers.

Thirdly, the author has prescribed that books are borrowed no more than once a year are to be replaced. This period of one year is arbitrary. Perhaps the library can remove books that have not been borrowed for three years or five years rather than one year. This alternate plan also gives enough shelf space for new and popular books while at the same time retains the old and less frequently borrowed books for readers.

Finally, the author says that after the plan was made public, protest has come from a small and unrepresentative group of some thirty people and so should be ignored. This is wrong. These thirty people could be influential people who can mould the opinion of the public. It is possible that there are so many other people who are silent but hold the opinion similar to this group of thirty. If the library ignores the protest of these people, more people might voice their protest later and the library might lose community support. Library needs the community support for its finances to run it efficiently.

In sum, the library's plan has many loop holes which should be removed. To strengthen the argument, the author should convince us that there is no option to the plan formulated by the library. The author should give us the percentage of library's present stock of books that would be replaced under the plan and whether the shelf space thus made available could accommodate the proposed purchases of extra copies of popular books. The author should also further examine the extent of influence of the group of thirty protestors and also the extent of support for them in the vast silent members of the community.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Argument Topic - 1

Topic -

The following appeared in a memorandum from a vice president of the Megamart department store chain."For the third year in a row, the average household income in our country has risen significantly.That prosperity means that families are likely to be spending more time and money on leisure activities.Megamart stores should therefore concentrate on enlarging and promoting its line of products typically used in leisure activities: atheletic and outdoor equipment, televisions, gourmetcooking equipment, and luggage and travel accessories."

Sample writing

The Vice President of the Megamart department store chain concluded in his memorandum that the Megamart stores should enlarge and promote its line of products such as athletic and outdoor equipment, televisions, gourmet, cooking equipment and luggage and travel accessories typically used in leisure activities. In support of the conclusion, the Vice President took into account that for the third year in a row, the average household income of the people has risen significantly and so families are likely to spend more time and money on products of leisure activities. However, the Vice President made a number of dubious assumptions and so the argument is not persuasive.

Firstly, the author reports that the average household income has risen significantly for the third year in a row. Therefore, he assumes that this income will continue to grow in future. He has not offered any information to show that this trend will continue in future. It is possible that the incomes may go down due to various factors such as government policies and natural hazards like drought, floods, failure of crops, conflicts with other nations too etc. There can be various other factors, which are beyond the control of the people. In that case, people may not be able to spend money on leisure time products.

Secondly, the Vice President assumes that the cost of living remains reasonably constant or becomes less and does not increase though there is significant increase in the household income. This is a dubious assumption. It is a common knowledge that with the increase in circulation of money, inflation will occur and cost of living goes up. So, there will be less separable money with the people to spend on leisure time products.

Thirdly, the Vice President did not offer any reasons why the household income is increasing significantly. It is possible that the people are working over time and long hours to earn more money. In that case, they will not find time to indulge in leisure time activities. They may conserve time and use it for productive work to earn money.

Finally, the argument of the author relies on the assumption that the people will spend the money on products of leisure time activities. Without further evidence, we cannot be convinced of this assumption. Acquisition of products of leisure time activities may not be in the priority list for the people. They may be saving the money for some other anticipated expenditure in future or as security for old age and difficult economic conditions or they intend to invest in real estate or housing. When there are so many possible causes for utilizing the increase in the household income. It is necessary to examine further information to believe that they will use the extra money for buying products of leisure time activities.

In sum, the Vice President’s conclusion is not fully convincing. In support of his conclusion, the Vice President should provide us reasons that household income will continue to rise in future and the people will definitely prefer to spend the surplus and sparable money in the products typically used in leisure activities. The Vice President should also rule out other factors on which people can spend surplus funds citing further evidence.

Argument Essay - 1

Discuss how well reasoned you find this argument.

The following appeared in a newspaper feature story. "At the small, non-profit hospital in the town of Saluda, the average length of a patient's stay is two days ; at the large, for-profit hospital in the near by city of Megaville, the average patient's stay is six days.Also, the cure rate among patients in the Saluda hospital is about twice that of the Megaville hospital. The Saluda hospital has more employees per patient than the hospital in Megaville and there are few complaints about service at the local hospital.Such data indicate that treatment in smaller, non-profit hospitals is more economical and of better quality than treatment in larger, for profit hospitals".

Outline -


1). The author uses the terms small hospitals and big hospitals without clarifying "small" and " big " hospitals.

2). Number of patients treated by the small hospital at Saluda and the number of patients treated by the larger hospital at Megaville were not mentioned to make any meaningful comparison.

3). The author does not provide any reasons for differences in length of stay at the two hospitals.

4). The author does not prove that non-profit hospitals are less costly than for-profit hospitals for the same illnesses.

5). No details are given to prove that cure is faster in small non-profit hospitals for the same illnesses.

6). The author has not brought out the difference in the infrastructure, professional expertise of the hospital staff, availablity of super specialists and methods of treatment used.

7). The author does not specify the costs and cure data of patients at both the hospitals.

8). The geographical location and size of the hospitals restrict the type and class of patients.This has not been stated in the passage.

9). The author does not give information about the nature of complaints received at the hospitals.

Remark - The fallacy is one of faulty analogy.Two hospitals are similar in some ways but the author makes unsustainable comparison and draws a wrong conclusion that treatment in smaller, non-profit hospitals is more economical and of better quality than treatment in larger for profit hospitals.


The author concludes that the treatment in smaller non-profit hospitals is more economical and of better quality than treatment in larger, for profit hospitals. This argument suffers from several flaws which render it unconvincing.

Firstly, the author has not given details about the number and illnesses of patients treated by the small hospital at Saluda and the larger hospital at Megaville to make any meaningful comparison.

Secondly, it is generally true that a small hospital has not many specialist departments and so the patients admitted there suffer from minor ailments.This fact can be inferred from the statement that the average length of patients' stay is only two days.Small hospitals may admit patients who report there due to emergency and when the emergency passes, the patients get discharged and they report to a big hospital for further treatment as big hospitals have lot many facilities.Further, chronic and serious illness patients are confident of getting better treatment at big hospitals.So they seek admission there and the stay at the big hospital is of longer duration.It is also not clear from the given argument that patients who stayed for two days and discharged from the small hospital were fully cured of the disease.In many cases, it happens that the small hospitals recommend their patients whose ailments are of serious nature to be admitted in larger hospitals for better treatment as those hospitals only have and/or afford to have super specialty departments. It is incorrect to state that small hospitals give better treatment on the basis of duration of stay of patients.

Thirdly, the author states that there are few complaints by the patients at the small hospitals. This could be because their stay was for a short duration of two days and they suffer from minor ailments.Since the treatment is also almost free in a non-profit hospital, patients do not complain.

Fourthly, the author simply states without evidence that the treatment in smaller hospitals is economical and of better quality.One cannot justify the economy in the treatment only on the basis that the patients are discharged within two days.We should look into the nature of the diseases and the condition of patients at the time of admissions and then only compare the costs in the small and large hospitals to decide in which place the treatment is economical.

Fifthly, the author uses the terms large hospital and small hospital vaguely without clarifying them. We do not know how he classifies them whether on the number of beds, or staff or number of patients treated or buildings.

Sixthly, the author has compared the data of only one small hospital at Saluda with that of one large hospital at Megaville.The data is insufficient to draw a general conclusion that in all smaller hospitals the treatment is economical and of better quality.

Finally, the author states that there are more employees per patient at the small hospital, of Saluda compared with that of Large hospital at Megaville.There may be less number of patients at the small hospital and hence the staff strength per patient worked out more.It is incorrect to use it to conclude that the service at Saluda hospital is better.

In sum, the argument is weak on several grounds.To strengthen the conclusion, the author must provide clear evidence of the number of patients treated, their diseases and treatment given to them along with the costs for both Saluda hospital and Megaville hospital and compare them to support his conclusion.The author should also clarify what he means by big hospital and small hospital as the terms "small" and "big" are relative and are used ambiguously in the argument.

Fallacies - analysis of an argument


Logistics of the Arguments Section

You must be prepared to handle both reasonable arguments (when the conclusion is likely) and false arguments (when the conclusion is improbable).

Each classification of inductive reasoning carries its own associated fallacies.

Evaluation of an Argument—To find errors in Arguments

(1) If-Then Statements - Most arguments are based on some variation of an if-then statement, which may be either directly stated or embedded. Understanding the if-then premise reveals the underlying simplicity of arguments.If the premise of an if-then statement is true, then the conclusion must be true as well.

If A, then B

While three possible statements can be derived from the implication "if A, then B", only one is valid.

The statement that is logically equivalent to "if A, then B" is called the contrapositive. It is stated as:

If not B, then not A

Let's explore why this is true.

"If there is a hurricane, then Samantha will cry"

There are four different hypothetical possibilities to consider when making deductions based on this statement:

1) A hurricane occurs
2) A hurricane does not occur
3) Samantha cries
4) Samantha does not cry

Let's consider each individually:

1. If a hurricane occurs.
You know that if this is true, the result will be that Samantha will cry.

2. If a hurricane does not occur.

If a hurricane does not occur, you can deduce nothing about Samantha. In particular, you cannot deduce that she does not cry. There are many other reasons why Samantha could cry, besides a hurricane (fight with her mom, she sees a sad movie, she gets sick).

3. If Samantha cries.

Again, you can't deduce anything about the occurence of a hurricane if Samantha cries. The if-then statement doesn't assert that Samantha cries only if a hurricane occurs, just that if it does, Samantha will cry. Samantha can cry even on clear, sunny days.

4. If Samantha does not cry.

If Samantha does not cry, you can deduce that a hurricane did not occur. Why? If it had occurred, then Samantha would definitely have cried. Yet she didn't. So, we know that, given Samantha's disposition, a hurricane did not occur.

To review, any time you see a statement in the form of "If A, then B", contrapose the statement into "If not B, then not A".

You know only two things:

a) what will happen if X occurs
b) what will happen if Y does not occur.

Those are the only valid deductions that you can make based on that original statement.

You can only assume two things about the implication

"if A, then B":

1) If A is true, then B must be true.
2) If B is false, then A must be false.

(2) Embedded If-Then Statements - If-then statements are frequently embedded in other structures, making their detection more difficult.

Example: (Embedded If-then)

Jamie and Kyle cannot both go to the mall.

At first glance, this sentence does not appear to contain an if-then statement. But it essentially says:"if Jamie goes to the mall, then Kyle does not."The contrapositive ("if Kyle goes to the mall, then Jamie does not") correctly expresses the same thing.

Example: (Embedded If-then)

Heather will go to Europe only if she gets a raise at work.

Given this statement, we know that if Heather goes to Europe, she must have gotten a raise at work.Students often wrongly interpret this statement to mean:"If Heather gets a raise at work, then she will go to Europe."We have no guarantee of this. The only guarantee is that if Heather doesn't get the raise, she will not go to Europe."A only if B" is logically equivalent to "if A, then B"

(3) Circular Reasoning - Here an unsubstantiated assertion is used to justify another unsubstantiated assertion,which is,or atleast could be ,used to justify the first statement.

For instance - Full scholarships are appropriate for disadantaged scholars because it is right to offer a top-notch education to those most capable.This argument is circular because "right" means essentially the same thing as "appropriate." In effect, the author writer is saying that scholarships are appropriate because they are appropriate.

(4) The Biased Sample Fallacy - This is commited whenever the data for a statistical inference is drawn from a sample that is not representative of the population under consideration.

For example:

In a recent survey conducted by The Times of India of its readers,60% of the respondents indicated strong support to Lalu Prasad Yadav.Hence the survey clearly shows that Lalu yadav is the most popular leader among the masses.

The data for the inference in this argument is drawn from a sample that is not reprentative of the entire electorate.

(6) The Insufficient Sample Fallacy - The Fallacy of the Insufficient Sample is committed whenever an inadequate sample is used to justify the conclusion drawn.

Here's an argument that commits the fallacy of the insufficient sample:

I have worked with three people from Bangalore City and found them to be obnoxious, pushy and rude. It is obvious that people from Bangalore City have a bad attitude.

The data for the inference in this argument is insufficient to support the conclusion. Three observations of people are not sufficient to support a conclusion for whole city population..

(4) Ad hominem - One of the most often employed fallacies, ad hominen means "to the man" and indicates an attack that is made upon a person rather than upon the statements that person has made.

An example is

"Don't listen to my opponent; he's handicapped."

(7) The Fallacy of Faulty Analogy - Reasoning by analogy functions by comparing two similar things. Because they are alike in various ways, the fallacy is that it is likely they will share another trait as well. Faulty Analogy arguments draw similarities between the things compared that are not relevant to the characteristic being inferred in the conclusion.

Here's an example of a Faulty Analogy fallacy:

Ram and Shyam excel at both football and basketball. Since Ram is also a singer, it is likely that Shyam also excels at singing.

In this example, numerous similarities between Ram and Shyam are taken as the basis for the inference that they share additional traits.

(8) Straw Man - Here the speaker attributes an argument to an opponent that does not represent the opponent's true position.

For instance - a political candidate might charge that his opponent "wants to let all prisoners go free," when in fact his opponent simply favors a highly limited furlough system. The person is portrayed as someone that he is not.

(9) The "After This, Therefore, Because of This" - Fallacy (Post hoc ergo propter hoc) This is a "false cause" fallacy in which something is associated with something else because of mere proximity of time.

One often encounters people assuming that because one thing happened after another, the first caused it, as with "I stood up; Sachin got out. My standing up resulted in a loss of wicket." The error in arguments that commit this fallacy is that their conclusions are causal claims that are not sufficiently substantiated by the evidence.

Here are an example of the After This, Therefore Because of This Fallacy:

Ten minutes after walking into the auditorium, I began to feel sick to my stomach. There must have been something in the air in that building that caused my nausea.

In the given example, a causal connection is posited between two events simply on the basis of one occurring before the other. Without further evidence to support it, the causal claim based on the correlation is premature.

(10) The Either or Thinking - This is the so-called black or white fallacy. Essentially, it says "Either you believe what I'm saying, or you must believe exactly the opposite."

Here is an example of the black or white fallacy:

Since you don't believe that the earth is teetering on the edge of destruction, you must believe that pollution and other adverse effects that man has on the environment are of no concern whatsoever.

The argument above assumes that there are only two possible alternatives open to us. There is no room for a middle ground.

(11) The "All Things are Equal" Fallacy - This fallacy is committed when it is assumed, without justification, that background conditions have remained the same at different times/locations. In most instances, this is an unwarranted assumption for the simple reason that things rarely remain the same over extended periods of time, and things rarely remain the same from place to place.

The last time winner of south delhi constituency won the general election. This year, the winner of the south delhi constituency will win the general election.

The assumption operative in this argument is that nothing has changed since the last primary. No evidence or justification is offered for this assumption.

(12) The Fallacy of Equivocation - The Fallacy of Equivocation occurs when a word or phrase that has more than one meaning is employed in different meanings throughout the argument.

"Every society is, of course, repressive to some extent - as Sigmund Freud pointed out, repression is the price we pay for civilization."

In this example, the word repression is used in two completely different contexts. "Repression" in Freud's mind meant restricting sexual and psychological desires. "Repression" in the second context does not mean repression of individual desires, but government restriction of individual liberties, such as that in a totalitarian state.

(13) Non Sequitor - This means "does not follow," which is short for the conclusion does not follow from the premise.

To say, "The house is white; therefore, it must be big" is an example of the Non Sequitor fallacy. It may be a big house, but there is no intrinsic connection with its being white.

(14) Argument ad populum - A group of children are playing, trying to determine no of balls in an opaque box.

"I wonder if there are less than 4 or more than 4 balls in the box," says one student. "I know how we can tell!" pipes up another. "All right, how?" asks the teacher, resigned to the worst. Beams the child: "We can vote."

This is argumentum ad populum, the belief that truth can be determined by more or less putting it to a vote. Democracy is a very nice thing, but it doesn't determine truth. Polls are good for telling you what people think, not whether those thoughts are correct.

(15) Contradiction - Contradiction occurs when a writer asserts two opposing statements simultaneously.

For example, saying

"it is wet and it is dry" is a contradiction.

Typical arguments on the test obscure the contradiction to the point that the argument can be quite compelling.

Here's a great example:

We cannot know anyone, because we intuitively realize that people are unreliable.

At first glance this argument sounds reasonable, but "intuitively realize" means "to know." Thus the author is actually saying that we know that we don't know anyone. This is classic contradiction.