One of the popular variants of Critical Reasoning questions present you with a set of statements asking you to identify the assumption behind the argument being made.
Before you start attempting this type of questions you should be clear regarding what an assumption is. An assumption is an unstated premise which enables the making of an argument. It acts as the link between the premise and the conclusion.
You have to work as the detective and find out the hidden premise which is the assumption through a critical analysis of the data provided in the argument.
Keep in mind these four rules before you start:
- Use only the data that is provided in the argument. Do not utilize outside knowledge unless specifically mentioned.
- Always consider the statements and assumptions to be true. Do not judge them based on your own conception of absurdity.
- An assumption is not a reiteration of an already stated premise.
- Choose the most appropriate answer based on a valid reasoning.
Let us look at some examples to understand the way to identify assumptions.
- Statement: Raju is a naughty boy and is unlikely to do well in his exams.
Assumption: Naughty boys are unlikely to do well in exams.
- Statement: Tony talks to a lot of people so he has good communication skills.
Assumption: Those who talk a lot have good communication skills.
- Statement: Nina’s baby has soft skin so we believe that her baby will have a bright future.
Assumption: Babies with soft skin have bright futures.
- Statement: Flaming Ice loves to wear red jeans and is well loved by bulls.
Assumption: Bulls love those who wear red jeans.
- Statement: Claim by an advertisement—“Using XYZ phone will increase your social standing”.
Assumption: Social standing is important for prospective consumers of XYZ phone.
- Statement: Chalk powder contains calcium and it has been noticed that consumers of chalk powder have good health.
Assumption: Consumption of calcium results in good health.
- Statement: Rahul lives in a centrally air conditioned house and remains continually sick.
Assumption: Living in central air-conditioning leads to sickness.
NOTE: If the argument was “Rahul remains continually sick and lives in a centrally air conditioned house” then the assumption would have been “continually sick people live in centrally air conditioned houses”.
- Statement: Ayush likes to eat vegetables and so we think that he will have a good modeling career.
Assumption: Those who eat vegetables have good modeling careers.
- Statement: Akash’s hard-work has lead to his success in life.
Assumption: Hard-workering people succeed in life.
- Statement: Pencils are sharp and should be kept away from children.
Assumption: Sharp items should be kept away from children.
- Statement: Chilli contains Capsaicin and eating chilli leads to stomachache.
Assumption: Capsaicin leads to stomachache.
- Statement: Alex, whose father was a wood cutter, is brilliant at carving wood.
Assumption: Sons of woodcutters tend to be brilliant at carving wood.
- Statement: Ryan is a part of the A-Team in his city which employs only the best in each field.
Assumption: Ryan is among the best in his field.
- Statement: Charlie ate exotic meat for recently making himself vulnerable to food poisoning.
Assumption: Consuming exotic meat causes vulnerability to food poisoning.
- Statement: Piyush purchases costly data packs and is a valued customer of the phone company.
Assumption: The phone company values customers who purchase costly data packs.
- Statement: Palak’s mother tongue is Spanish obviously she cannot be a Hindustani.
Assumption: Hindi is the mother tongue of all Hindustanis.
- Statement: Spectacles allow me to see enlarged images so I can read better after wearing spectacles.
Assumption: Enlarged images lead to better reading abilities.
- Statement: Priya was born in Europe, I am sure that she will grow up to be a beauty.
Assumption: People born in Europe grow up to be beauties.
- Statement: Bablu started shaving when he was 14 years old, now he has a thick beard.
Assumption: Thick beards appear in those who begin to shave early.
- Statement: Mary’s phone always has low charge so I think that she cannot be very good at being a police officer.
Assumption: Police officers need phones well charged phones.
In each of the examples you must have noticed that
- The assumption is an unstated premise in the argument.
- The assumption fills the gap between the premise and the conclusion.
- The assumption is directly related to the data provided in the argument.
- The assumption supports the conclusion.
Now try to solve some questions yourself.
- Samir sleeps with the window open and wakes up with mosquito bites all over his body.
- Mosquitoes come in through the open window
- Samir should apply mosquito repellant cream
- Mosquito bites leave marks
- Samir loses a substantial amount of blood each night
- Tarun eats a lot of salty food, I am sure that he will soon be facing acute dandruff problems.
- Salt is similar in appearance to dandruff
- Salty food causes dandruff
- Tarun needs to consult a hairstylist
- Tarun should stop eating salty food
- Akanksha is a stylish girl and has a good sense of dressing.
- Stylish girls tend to have a good sense of dressing
- Akanksha is fit to be a fashion designer
- Akanksha has a good eye for fashion
- Most dresses look good on Akanksha
- Banyan trees in my neighbourhood are very old with a lot of branches.
- Banyan trees have lots of branches
- Banyan trees have been existing for a long time
- Old trees tend to have a lot of branches
- The neighbourhood influences the growth of branches in trees
- Ayan does not sleep well at night and is easily irritated in the morning.
- Sleep is essential for good health
- Ayan has a lot of pressure from work
- Lack of sleep causes irritability
- Ayan is rude by nature
- I have not eaten anything since morning so I am hungry.
- Not eating leads to hunger
- Eating in the morning wards off hunger
- Hunger is caused by poverty
- Hunger is an indicator of bad health
- Two things about Aisha is that loves to gossip and people do not like Aisha.
- Aisha talks behind people’s backs
- Aisha always says the hard truth
- People are prejudiced against Aisha
- Those who gossip are not liked by people
- Pinky is dedicated so it is most likely that the management will promote her soon.
- The management likes dedicated workers
- Pinky is on good terms with the management
- Promotion is subject to performance at work
- Everyone gets promoted at one point of time
- Paris has a lot of dustbins and is known to be a clean city.
- Having dustbins is unreasonable in a big city
- Dustbins help to keep a city clean
- Citizens of Paris are conscious about cleanliness
- Paris is free from pollution
- Montu carries a heavy bag to school every day and has developed backache.
- Books are heavy
- Schools force the children to carry heavy bags
- Heavy bags cause backache
- Montu needs physiotherapy