what does "few" mean in LSAT?

tracy77
Posts: 39
Joined: Mon Oct 03, 2011 11:51 pm

what does "few" mean in LSAT?

Postby tracy77 » Tue Jun 19, 2012 11:55 pm

Does it mean some but very few?

User avatar
dowu
Posts: 8334
Joined: Wed Mar 28, 2012 9:47 pm

Re: what does "few" mean in LSAT?

Postby dowu » Wed Jun 20, 2012 12:00 am

tracy77 wrote:Does it mean some but very few?


I'll bite. The word "few", as used on the LSAT, is a quantity indicator word.

I would say that the word "few" does not encapsulate the larger quantifiers such as most, many, all, etc...

The term "few" can basically encapsulate a small amount of X (whatever that may be).

Also, you should read the Powerscore Logical Reasoning Bible, as it talks more about quantity indicators/probability indicators.
Last edited by dowu on Wed Jun 20, 2012 12:07 am, edited 1 time in total.

kaiser
Posts: 2940
Joined: Mon May 09, 2011 11:34 pm

Re: what does "few" mean in LSAT?

Postby kaiser » Wed Jun 20, 2012 12:05 am

"Few" and "many" are entirely relative terms, as used on the LSAT. It would serve you well to not quantify them (I.e. don't assume that few means less than half since there is no basis for that assumption). Terms like all, none, most, etc are quantifiable to some extent, and you shouldn't group few and many in with them. Few means "a relatively small amount" whereas many means "a relatively large amount". There is nothing else you can assume without context.

User avatar
dowu
Posts: 8334
Joined: Wed Mar 28, 2012 9:47 pm

Re: what does "few" mean in LSAT?

Postby dowu » Wed Jun 20, 2012 12:06 am

kaiser wrote:"Few" and "many" are entirely relative terms, as used on the LSAT. It would serve you well to not quantify them (I.e. don't assume that few means less than half since there is no basis for that assumption). Terms like all, none, most, etc are quantifiable to some extent, and you shouldn't group few and many in with them. Few means "a relatively small amount" whereas many means "a relatively large amount". There is nothing else you can assume without context.


True dat.

User avatar
TheRainMan
Posts: 39
Joined: Tue Jun 12, 2012 9:41 pm

Re: what does "few" mean in LSAT?

Postby TheRainMan » Wed Jun 20, 2012 3:44 am

Maybe someone should make an LSAT dictionary...

Alexp1206
Posts: 13
Joined: Wed Feb 01, 2012 3:09 am

Re: what does "few" mean in LSAT?

Postby Alexp1206 » Wed Jun 20, 2012 5:18 am

few means at least one, and can include any number except for zero, unless specific and limiting context is included. It is essentially the same as "some" as far at the LSAT and logical reasoning are concerned.

User avatar
Jeffort
Posts: 1896
Joined: Wed Jun 18, 2008 4:43 pm

Re: what does "few" mean in LSAT?

Postby Jeffort » Wed Jun 20, 2012 9:05 am

Few, when referring to a group/category of something means some of them are and most of them are not. Basically, a very small proportion of the group of whatever it is referring to.

User avatar
oaken
Posts: 339
Joined: Mon Oct 24, 2011 11:27 am

Re: what does "few" mean in LSAT?

Postby oaken » Wed Jun 20, 2012 6:02 pm

"more than one"

User avatar
Br3v
Posts: 4174
Joined: Mon Jun 13, 2011 7:18 pm

Re: what does "few" mean in LSAT?

Postby Br3v » Wed Jun 20, 2012 6:05 pm

On scale 1-100

I'd say 1-49

User avatar
Lyov Myshkin
Posts: 232
Joined: Sat Jun 28, 2008 11:28 pm

Re: what does "few" mean in LSAT?

Postby Lyov Myshkin » Wed Jun 20, 2012 8:04 pm

I personally take the term 'few' to be a logical negation of the term 'many'. http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/few

User avatar
Verity
Posts: 1253
Joined: Sun Jan 30, 2011 11:26 pm

Re: what does "few" mean in LSAT?

Postby Verity » Wed Jun 20, 2012 8:07 pm

kaiser wrote:"Few" and "many" are entirely relative terms, as used on the LSAT. It would serve you well to not quantify them (I.e. don't assume that few means less than half since there is no basis for that assumption). Terms like all, none, most, etc are quantifiable to some extent, and you shouldn't group few and many in with them. Few means "a relatively small amount" whereas many means "a relatively large amount". There is nothing else you can assume without context.


This is perfect, and incidentally correct.

BalanceCare
Posts: 126
Joined: Thu Feb 09, 2012 7:56 pm

Re: what does "few" mean in LSAT?

Postby BalanceCare » Wed Jun 20, 2012 8:16 pm

Verity wrote:
kaiser wrote:"Few" and "many" are entirely relative terms, as used on the LSAT. It would serve you well to not quantify them (I.e. don't assume that few means less than half since there is no basis for that assumption). Terms like all, none, most, etc are quantifiable to some extent, and you shouldn't group few and many in with them. Few means "a relatively small amount" whereas many means "a relatively large amount". There is nothing else you can assume without context.


This is perfect, and incidentally correct.




sounds good but i'm not so sure about "many" meaning a "relatively large amount." relative to what? is the question. if 3,000,000 people in the u.s. believe in space aliens, then there are many people who believe even though they represent just 1% of the population. i'd be careful about taking these terms to yield any solid information about proportions.

User avatar
cc.celina
Posts: 602
Joined: Fri May 25, 2012 1:17 pm

Re: what does "few" mean in LSAT?

Postby cc.celina » Wed Jun 20, 2012 8:20 pm

Alexp1206 wrote:few means at least one, and can include any number except for zero, unless specific and limiting context is included. It is essentially the same as "some" as far at the LSAT and logical reasoning are concerned.

I'd tend to agree with this one, actually. Reasoning-wise, it's safest to assume that "few" means "at least one, but not all of the said group. (For example, from the statement "a few of the campers forgot their tents," you can conclude only that at least one camper forgot a tent, and that at least one camper remembered his tent.)

The LSAT is never going to make you assume anything quantitative with "few," as far as I can tell. Treat it the same way you'd treat "some." 'Most' is a somewhat different story.

User avatar
HolleeB
Posts: 7
Joined: Sat Jun 09, 2012 1:22 pm

Re: what does "few" mean in LSAT?

Postby HolleeB » Wed Jun 20, 2012 10:58 pm

kaiser wrote:"Few" and "many" are entirely relative terms, as used on the LSAT. It would serve you well to not quantify them (I.e. don't assume that few means less than half since there is no basis for that assumption). Terms like all, none, most, etc are quantifiable to some extent, and you shouldn't group few and many in with them. Few means "a relatively small amount" whereas many means "a relatively large amount". There is nothing else you can assume without context.


Relative being the key point here.

Few means at least one, up to all. "A few people are breathing" is considered sound logic when it comes to the LSAT, it's a relative term that tells you very little.

User avatar
LSAT Hacks (Graeme)
Posts: 371
Joined: Wed May 30, 2012 9:18 pm

Re: what does "few" mean in LSAT?

Postby LSAT Hacks (Graeme) » Wed Jun 20, 2012 11:20 pm

The LSAT just uses dictionary definitions of words. It's confusing, because we often don't know the full dictionary definitions of words. But there are no special LSAT word defintions. The Oxford dictionary is the best place to go. If you have a mac, you can find it in your dictionary app. Here are the definitions for "few" and "a few"

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

1 (a few) a small number of: [ as adj. ] : may I ask a few questions? | [ as pronoun ] : I will recount a few of the stories told me | many believe it but only a few are prepared to say.

2 (few) used to emphasize how small a number of people or things is: [ as adj. ] : he had few friends | [ as pronoun ] : few thought to challenge these assumptions | very few of the titles have any literary merit | one of the few who survived | [ comparative ] : a population of fewer than two million | [ as adj. ] : sewing was one of her few pleasures | [ superlative ] : ask which products have the fewest complaints.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

There is absolutely no way that "few" includes all. I don't think this has ever mattered on the LSAT, but to say that "few" or "a few" includes all is a contradiction of the normal definition of those words.

Edit: The second part is wrong. "A few" can include all if we're talking about a small number of total things. Mea culpa. "Few" is proportional and can't include all.

Likewise, few is less than most, except in a few strange contexts, e.g. "Relatively few people took the offer of $1,000,000" could refer to %57, since we expect %100 of people to take a few gift of $1,000,000.

But really, this doesn't ever matter, as long as you know that "few" and "many" are both like "some."

And seriously, Oxford English Dictionary. It's amazing.
Last edited by LSAT Hacks (Graeme) on Thu Jun 21, 2012 12:28 am, edited 2 times in total.

User avatar
Charlie.Home
Posts: 157
Joined: Tue Jun 19, 2012 4:23 pm

Re: what does "few" mean in LSAT?

Postby Charlie.Home » Thu Jun 21, 2012 12:16 am

If you have a group of a relatively small number of people, some could imply all

User avatar
LSAT Hacks (Graeme)
Posts: 371
Joined: Wed May 30, 2012 9:18 pm

Re: what does "few" mean in LSAT?

Postby LSAT Hacks (Graeme) » Thu Jun 21, 2012 12:26 am

Oops, you're right. Forgot to include that edge case. I was thinking of the proportional "few", rather than the numerical "a few".

example that proves you right and me wrong: "A few 21th century presidents have been men".

...back to the drawing board.

bp shinners
Posts: 3091
Joined: Wed Mar 16, 2011 7:05 pm

Re: what does "few" mean in LSAT?

Postby bp shinners » Thu Jun 21, 2012 10:47 am

For the LSAT, there are three levels of quantification:
More than 0%
More than 50%
100% (and, conversely, 0%, which is the same as saying 100% don't)

If you don't have a word that specifically tells you another quantification level, treat it as more than 0%.
Some words that indicate this: some, many, a few, often

So 'few', while possibly referring to 'all', should be treated as some, because that's all you're sure of. The LSAT cares what you're sure of, so you're safe treating it this way.

I can't think of an example where treating it this way would get you in trouble on the LSAT.

For the other case ("Few ____ are _____"), Jeffort already nailed it: Few, when referring to a group/category of something means some of them are and most of them are not. Basically, a very small proportion of the group of whatever it is referring to.

User avatar
Clearly
Posts: 4165
Joined: Sat Feb 11, 2012 4:09 pm

Re: what does "few" mean in LSAT?

Postby Clearly » Thu Jun 21, 2012 3:14 pm

I don't recall any situation in which few was used to represent a majority, so while technically with this relative speak you could say its anything, I can't see a time in which few was used to imply most or all, I'm voting as far as practical leat use, few means 1-49%.

User avatar
Nova
Posts: 9116
Joined: Sun Apr 15, 2012 8:55 pm

Re: what does "few" mean in LSAT?

Postby Nova » Thu Jun 21, 2012 3:36 pm

It means "some" (one or more). Dont assume anything else. Same goes for "many".

User avatar
Nova
Posts: 9116
Joined: Sun Apr 15, 2012 8:55 pm

Re: what does "few" mean in LSAT?

Postby Nova » Thu Jun 21, 2012 3:40 pm

Clearlynotstefan wrote:I don't recall any situation in which few was used to represent a majority, so while technically with this relative speak you could say its anything, I can't see a time in which few was used to imply most or all, I'm voting as far as practical leat use, few means 1-49%.


I dont think it is safe to assume that. In LSAT terms, I think "few" is subjective, like "many". For instance,

Few people will gain full time, long term, legal employment at BU.


LST, BU wrote:50.9% of graduates were known to be employed in long-term, full-time legal jobs. This figure includes no school-funded jobs..

bp shinners
Posts: 3091
Joined: Wed Mar 16, 2011 7:05 pm

Re: what does "few" mean in LSAT?

Postby bp shinners » Thu Jun 21, 2012 4:05 pm

Nova wrote:Few people will gain full time, long term, legal employment at BU.


LST, BU wrote:50.9% of graduates were known to be employed in long-term, full-time legal jobs. This figure includes no school-funded jobs..


You should treat 'few' as .0000001%-49.99999999% on the LSAT because, while it's perfectly acceptable to use it when you actually mean most or all, it only guarantees you more than 0. Treating a quantifier as what is guaranteed by it is how you do well on the LSAT.

User avatar
Nova
Posts: 9116
Joined: Sun Apr 15, 2012 8:55 pm

Re: what does "few" mean in LSAT?

Postby Nova » Thu Jun 21, 2012 4:17 pm

bp shinners wrote:
Nova wrote:Few people will gain full time, long term, legal employment at BU.


LST, BU wrote:50.9% of graduates were known to be employed in long-term, full-time legal jobs. This figure includes no school-funded jobs..


You should treat 'few' as .0000001%-49.99999999% on the LSAT because, while it's perfectly acceptable to use it when you actually mean most or all, it only guarantees you more than 0. Treating a quantifier as what is guaranteed by it is how you do well on the LSAT.


I dont see it. If it only guarentees more than zero, why do you also assume it is never referring to "most"?

I thought we agreed?
So 'few', while possibly referring to 'all', should be treated as some, because that's all you're sure of. The LSAT cares what you're sure of, so you're safe treating it this way.


What puts it in a different category than "many"? Which, I believe is just a subjective "some" . For instance, many people will be unemployed at my law school 9 months after graduating. Lets say the number is only about 10%, but I subjectively believe that is a lot, and choose the word many. Basically many = some; many =/= most.

bp shinners
Posts: 3091
Joined: Wed Mar 16, 2011 7:05 pm

Re: what does "few" mean in LSAT?

Postby bp shinners » Thu Jun 21, 2012 5:49 pm

Nova wrote:What puts it in a different category than "many"? Which, I believe is just a subjective "some" . For instance, many people will be unemployed at my law school 9 months after graduating. Lets say the number is only about 10%, but I subjectively believe that is a lot, and choose the word many. Basically many = some; many =/= most.


It's not in a different category than 'many' - they both mean 'some', or more than 0%. I don't treat it as never meaning most - however, I can never say for sure that it means most.

So while a stimulus that gives me 'most' will back up a 'some' answer choice, a stimulus that gives me 'some' won't back up a 'most' answer choice, even though 'some' might mean 'most'. So maybe saying that I treat it as between 0 and 50% isn't entirely accurate, as it's also compatible with 75% or 95%. However, for the LSAT, I don't want to pick a 'most' answer that I can't support, because that 'a few' statement won't back it up.

User avatar
Nova
Posts: 9116
Joined: Sun Apr 15, 2012 8:55 pm

Re: what does "few" mean in LSAT?

Postby Nova » Thu Jun 21, 2012 5:52 pm

Ok I get ya. Sounds like our definitions pretty much line up. Thanks for the additional explanation.




Return to “LSAT Prep and Discussion Forum”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: blackmamba8, Greenteachurro, Instrumental, legirl12le, ThatOneAfrican, thisiswater, uhwrestler, WeightliftingThinker and 16 guests