## what does "few" mean in LSAT?

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tracy77

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### what does "few" mean in LSAT?

Does it mean some but very few?

dowu

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### Re: what does "few" mean in LSAT?

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

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### Re: what does "few" mean in LSAT?

"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.

dowu

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### Re: what does "few" mean in LSAT?

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.

TheRainMan

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### Re: what does "few" mean in LSAT?

Maybe someone should make an LSAT dictionary...

Alexp1206

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### Re: what does "few" mean in LSAT?

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.

Jeffort

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### Re: what does "few" mean in LSAT?

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.

oaken

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### Re: what does "few" mean in LSAT?

"more than one"

Br3v

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### Re: what does "few" mean in LSAT?

On scale 1-100

I'd say 1-49

Lyov Myshkin

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### Re: what does "few" mean in LSAT?

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

Verity

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### Re: what does "few" mean in LSAT?

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

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### Re: what does "few" mean in LSAT?

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.

cc.celina

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### Re: what does "few" mean in LSAT?

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.

HolleeB

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### Re: what does "few" mean in LSAT?

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.

LSAT Hacks (Graeme)

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### Re: what does "few" mean in LSAT?

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"

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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.

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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.

Charlie.Home

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### Re: what does "few" mean in LSAT?

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

LSAT Hacks (Graeme)

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### Re: what does "few" mean in LSAT?

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

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### Re: what does "few" mean in LSAT?

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.

Clearly

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### Re: what does "few" mean in LSAT?

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%.

Nova

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### Re: what does "few" mean in LSAT?

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

Nova

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### Re: what does "few" mean in LSAT?

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

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### Re: what does "few" mean in LSAT?

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.

Nova

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### Re: what does "few" mean in LSAT?

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

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### Re: what does "few" mean in LSAT?

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.

Nova

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### Re: what does "few" mean in LSAT?

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