"Often"

lawschool2014hopeful
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"Often"

Postby lawschool2014hopeful » Tue Jun 26, 2012 9:59 pm

Does this word (often) mean most or some?

Does anyone have a list of words of these indicators lying around somewhere?

thanks.

jgloster
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Re: "Often"

Postby jgloster » Tue Jun 26, 2012 10:22 pm

It means NEVER

03152016
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Re: "Often"

Postby 03152016 » Tue Jun 26, 2012 10:24 pm

.
Last edited by 03152016 on Tue Mar 15, 2016 2:51 am, edited 1 time in total.

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cc.celina
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Re: "Often"

Postby cc.celina » Tue Jun 26, 2012 10:25 pm

jgloster wrote:It means NEVER

Go away

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dowu
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Re: "Often"

Postby dowu » Tue Jun 26, 2012 10:25 pm

Max324 wrote:Some, not most. Think 'many'.

"People often keep birds as pets in the home."

This implies that many do, but not necessarily most.


TITCR.

of·ten /ˈôf(t)ən/
Adverb:
Frequently; many times: "how often do you have your hair cut?".
In many instances: "vocabulary often reflects social standing".

lawschool2014hopeful
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Re: "Often"

Postby lawschool2014hopeful » Tue Jun 26, 2012 10:54 pm

perfect, thanks.

TylerJonesMPLS
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Re: "Often"

Postby TylerJonesMPLS » Tue Jun 26, 2012 11:01 pm

On the LSAT "often" means sometimes and can mean always. A common LSAT trick is to say "often" in the passage and then switch to "sometimes" in the ACs.

It is like "some" on the LSAT. "Some" does not mean what it usually means in ordinary language. On the LSAT, "some" means at least 1, and it can refer to a few, or to most or to all. Another common trick is to say, e.g. "most" in the passage, and then switch to "some" in the ACs. The LSAT is using the logical sense of "some," but doesn't tell you that.

Another example of the LSAT's using a word in its logical sense, but not telling you that, is "or". In ordinary language we use "or" to mean A or B but not both. This is called the "exclusive or". But logicians always use what they call the "inclusive or". That is, "or" means A or B or both. So remember, whenever you see "or" on the LSAT, think "and/or".

It is really unfair that the LSAT uses some words in their logical sense, and others in their ordinary sense, and it does not tell you which is which.

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Verity
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Re: "Often"

Postby Verity » Tue Jun 26, 2012 11:14 pm

"Often" is a relative term. Do not attempt to quantify "often." If something happens "often," it is happening more relative to something (e.g., the norm, your expectations, etc.). You deal with "often" on the LSAT not by quantifying it, but by making note of it in context and comparing it with whatever it's being related to.

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Re: "Often"

Postby bp shinners » Wed Jun 27, 2012 12:16 pm

Verity wrote:"Often" is a relative term. Do not attempt to quantify "often." If something happens "often," it is happening more relative to something (e.g., the norm, your expectations, etc.). You deal with "often" on the LSAT not by quantifying it, but by making note of it in context and comparing it with whatever it's being related to.


I disagree with this - often is a relative term as much as any other quantifier is.

To OP - it means sometimes. That's how it should be quantified.

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Re: "Often"

Postby Verity » Wed Jun 27, 2012 3:34 pm

bp shinners wrote:
Verity wrote:"Often" is a relative term. Do not attempt to quantify "often." If something happens "often," it is happening more relative to something (e.g., the norm, your expectations, etc.). You deal with "often" on the LSAT not by quantifying it, but by making note of it in context and comparing it with whatever it's being related to.


I disagree with this - often is a relative term as much as any other quantifier is.

To OP - it means sometimes. That's how it should be quantified.


What? Often doesn't mean sometimes. Often means often, and it can be distinguished from sometimes by comparing it to, for example, the frequency of other events. "I'm often happy, but sometimes sad." It connotes greater relative frequency.

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cc.celina
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Re: "Often"

Postby cc.celina » Wed Jun 27, 2012 3:37 pm

Verity wrote:What? Often doesn't mean sometimes. Often means often, and it can be distinguished from sometimes by comparing it to, for example, the frequency of other events. "I'm often happy, but sometimes sad." It connotes greater relative frequency.

In English, yeah. In LSAT, no. You can only treat it as sometimes aka "at least once." You'll never be in a situation where you have to decide whether something that is done "often" is done more often than something that is done "sometimes." As far as I can tell, they are logically interchangeable.

Here's powerscore weighing in http://forum.powerscore.com/lsat/viewto ... f=12&t=968

Edit: On the happy vs sad example, I think on an LSAT, you wouldn't be able to assume that you are happy more frequently than you are sad. You'd just know that you are one or the other at least some of the time--which includes any frequency from just once to all of the time. Feel free to correct me if I'm wrong

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Re: "Often"

Postby Verity » Wed Jun 27, 2012 3:48 pm

Sometimes is a subset of often, then. I take the point that often can be quantified as one or more times, but in reading comp passages, for example, it's important to note the pretty common connotation.

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cc.celina
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Re: "Often"

Postby cc.celina » Wed Jun 27, 2012 3:52 pm

Verity wrote:Sometimes is a subset of often, then. I take the point that often can be quantified as one or more times, but in reading comp passages, for example, it's important to note the pretty common connotation.

It's not a subset of often, they're just logically equivalent. You have a point about RC, but given that he's asking about a fairly common word, the use of which in standard English is generally well-understood, I think we all assumed he was asking about its use in LR/LG in the logical, rather than colloquial, sense.

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Re: "Often"

Postby TylerJonesMPLS » Wed Jun 27, 2012 6:08 pm

The LSAT uses logical language that we don't use in ordinary English. In LSAT-Speak, “often” is a subset of “sometimes”, because “sometimes” is broader than “often”. “Often” is a special case of “sometimes”. Other special cases of “sometimes” are “frequently”, “infrequently”, “rarely”, “on occasion”, etc.

Look at 2007 June Section 2 Question 01. I know its been given away free by the LSAC, but I don’t know whether I am allowed to quote the whole thing, so I’ll just quote sentences. Sentence 3) is, “OFTEN, attempts to increase productivity decrease the number of employees… But in (B), the correct AC, the sentence is, “SOME[times]” measures taken by a busniness to increase productivity….”

For “often” the LSAT substitutes “some[times]”. So either “often” is a special case of “sometimes”, or “sometimes” is a special case of “often”. But “sometimes” can mean lots of things other than “often”, so “sometimes” must be the broader term. Or they could be logically equivalent terms, but again, “sometimes” doesn’t always mean “often”, so they can’t be logical equivalents.

Another case is 48 Section 4 Question 12. There, “NOT ALWAYS” in the correct answer choice (B) has been substituted for “OFTEN” in sentence 3) of the passage.

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Re: "Often"

Postby Verity » Wed Jun 27, 2012 6:31 pm

They're not logically equivalent. They are not synonymous. If that's what the LSAT teaches (and I'm not sure it does), then that's just stupid.

But I should explain what I mean when I say "sometimes" and "often" shouldn't be quantified. Take "none, some, most, and all" of 100%, for example. These are basically the equivalent of "zero %, more than zero %, more than 50%, and 100%." Both "often" and "sometimes" mean at least more than zero times. Obviously. Nobody says "sometimes X happens" or "X happens often" when X never happens. Yet, we still mean different things when we use each word.

Now, this makes the LSAT look really far-fetched.

Here's an example:

"John and Sarah play baseball often, and sometimes they play golf."

Which of the following can be inferred from the statement above?

[A] John and Sarah play basketball.
[B] John and Sarah play baseball more than they play golf.
[C] John and Sarah play baseball and golf.
[D] John loves to play baseball with Sarah, but only likes to play golf with her.
[E] You should go to medical school.

Now, C is definitely right. All of the other answer choices except for B can be struck right away. B isn't necessarily true, because these words are not tied to some quantity, or range of quantities, beyond zero. But it's not fair to say that, especially when used together like this, that they are equivalent. B, in any sane person's mind, is a fair answer choice - unless, relative to some expectation by the speaker (e.g., they're playing baseball way more than they should and golf less than they should), the frequency of each sport being played is off.

This is why lawyers need a sanity check every now and then.
Last edited by Verity on Wed Jun 27, 2012 6:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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cc.celina
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Re: "Often"

Postby cc.celina » Wed Jun 27, 2012 6:43 pm

Verity wrote:This is why lawyers need a sanity check every now and then.

We may need to agree to disagree on this one. OP I suggest you take neither of us at our word and listen to bp shinners instead, who teaches for Blueprint and has always given me awesome and really clear advice. Above he said,

bp shinners wrote:To OP - it means sometimes. That's how it should be quantified.


Verity, I'm not arguing with you that it seems silly to split hairs -- it does -- but so does the earlier example given by another poster, the inclusive or. It is completely counterintuitive to suggest that, when someone says, "I will drink either a cherry soda or a lime soda," that they could drink BOTH a cherry AND a lime soda. It just seems silly! But it's logically true (click here for reference). Though I haven't been able to find a clear explanation online other than the one I offered above, the same counterintuitive approach seems to go for the word "often." Intuitively, we want to believe that it means "with relative frequency." We can, in fact, assume this is true if the statement is phrased, "X happens more often than Y." When the statement is simply "X happens often," however, it is logically equivalent to the statement "X happens sometimes." To assume anything further is to incorrectly extrapolate, and to get questions wrong.

I don't think I need a sanity check; I think I'm being perfectly sane here when I rely on what shinners and powerscore have told me about the use of the word in LSAT terms. The hypothetical you gave is unfair because it asks us to compare between "often" and "sometimes," which as far as I know, the LSAT will never do without offering additional supporting information. Sometimes the answer that seems like common sense is just not the right answer, and it doesn't mean that lawyers are insane, just that the LSAT tests our grasp of logical concepts rather than colloquial use of words.

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Re: "Often"

Postby cc.celina » Wed Jun 27, 2012 6:48 pm

Sorry, I just reread the example and I think I understand why we disagree. We're not saying that "often" and "sometimes," when used in the same stimulus, need to mean the same quantity. You're right that B is not necessarily true, but could be true. That doesn't conflict with what I'm saying - which is that they are LOGICALLY equivalent (i.e. you can only assume the quantity "more than 0%") not NUMERICALLY equivalent (i.e. three times a week).

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Re: "Often"

Postby Verity » Wed Jun 27, 2012 7:00 pm

cc.celina wrote:
Verity wrote:This is why lawyers need a sanity check every now and then.

We may need to agree to disagree on this one. OP I suggest you take neither of us at our word and listen to bp shinners instead, who teaches for Blueprint and has always given me awesome and really clear advice. Above he said,

bp shinners wrote:To OP - it means sometimes. That's how it should be quantified.


Verity, I'm not arguing with you that it seems silly to split hairs -- it does -- but so does the earlier example given by another poster, the inclusive or. It is completely counterintuitive to suggest that, when someone says, "I will drink either a cherry soda or a lime soda," that they could drink BOTH a cherry AND a lime soda. It just seems silly! But it's logically true (click here for reference). Though I haven't been able to find a clear explanation online other than the one I offered above, the same counterintuitive approach seems to go for the word "often." Intuitively, we want to believe that it means "with relative frequency." We can, in fact, assume this is true if the statement is phrased, "X happens more often than Y." When the statement is simply "X happens often," however, it is logically equivalent to the statement "X happens sometimes." To assume anything further is to incorrectly extrapolate, and to get questions wrong.

I don't think I need a sanity check; I think I'm being perfectly sane here when I rely on what shinners and powerscore have told me about the use of the word in LSAT terms. The hypothetical you gave is unfair because it asks us to compare between "often" and "sometimes," which as far as I know, the LSAT will never do without offering additional supporting information. Sometimes the answer that seems like common sense is just not the right answer, and it doesn't mean that lawyers are insane, just that the LSAT tests our grasp of logical concepts rather than colloquial use of words.


"Either A or B" isn't the same as "A or B." If you say "I will drink a cherry soda or a lime soda," that could mean that will you drink both. "Either" actually means one or the other but not both. At least that's what it means in the real world. "Or" has both connotations, but it's used like "either" a lot.

Why doesn't LSAC define these words? Why doesn't it give a glossary, or use logical symbols? The reason is because it wants this stuff to be accessible to anyone, testing logical reasoning and not technical knowledge. But it fails at trying to make it accessible in this instance, because it essentially creates its own precise meanings for words that don't reflect how virtually everyone uses those words.

And sorry for not deferring to President bp shinners. If you can think of an example where often is equivalent to sometimes, I'm all ears.

Now, I understand what bp shinners is saying. Don't look at often and start making assumptions about how much that means. For example, don't hear often and then quantify it any more than "more than zero times." But that's exactly what I said above! The LSAT can trick you with that. Example:

"You need to attend at least half of the classes to get credit. But Jim goes to class very often, so he will get credit."

Can you see the flaws? Not only does this make the necessary/sufficient flaw, but it also quantifies "often" as "more than half," which is a mistake.

Don't quantify.

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Re: "Often"

Postby Verity » Wed Jun 27, 2012 7:07 pm

cc.celina wrote:Sorry, I just reread the example and I think I understand why we disagree. We're not saying that "often" and "sometimes," when used in the same stimulus, need to mean the same quantity. You're right that B is not necessarily true, but could be true. That doesn't conflict with what I'm saying - which is that they are LOGICALLY equivalent (i.e. you can only assume the quantity "more than 0%") not NUMERICALLY equivalent (i.e. three times a week).



This is what I meant by subset. But there is no material equivalence here. There is no "X happens sometimes if and only if X happens often" relationship. They're not the same, but there is overlap.

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Re: "Often"

Postby cc.celina » Wed Jun 27, 2012 7:16 pm

Verity wrote:"Either" actually means one or the other but not both. At least that's what it means in the real world.

This is your problem. LSAT language is actually somewhat different than the real world!

The link I provided you says, very clearly,
Whenever you see “either A or B” on the LSAT it means you have have A or B or both A & B.


Similarly, here is a thread in which the Cambridge LSAT account clearly states that the statement "either A or B" means that A and B together is acceptable. Two others agree with him.

I don't have my prep books lying around, but this is how they taught me. And I bumbled it big time a couple of times on TLS, and I was corrected quite soundly. (You can see it in my previous posts.) I bumbled it because LSAT usage is different than colloquial usage, and thus "either A or B" can counterintuitively mean "A and B."

If you want to offer advice please use established prep materials rather than real-world common sense, because unfortunately the LSAT doesn't always adhere to words used in the senses that we ordinarily mean them.

Two statements are logically equivalent if they have the same logical content. The logical content of both "often" and "sometimes" is "more than 0%." You say there's no material equivalence here. You're right, there isn't necessarily -- but there is logical equivalence, and the OP needs to treat it as such. "Often" implies no higher frequency than "sometimes," as you seemed to acknowledge with your earlier example. You CAN quantify it as "one or more" but you can't define it any more narrowly than that, and to say that "often" and "sometimes" can't signify the same numerical value is incorrect. (To say that they HAVE to signify the same numerical value is also incorrect.)

I've tried to offer links where I can to explain and reinforce what I'm trying to say. Sorry if I'm wrong :( But from what I have read, it seems like LSAT words can be, and are, different from their real-world usage.

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Re: "Often"

Postby 03152016 » Wed Jun 27, 2012 10:28 pm

.
Last edited by 03152016 on Tue Mar 15, 2016 2:51 am, edited 1 time in total.

TylerJonesMPLS
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Re: "Often"

Postby TylerJonesMPLS » Thu Jun 28, 2012 12:34 am

cc.celina, I got confused. You are right. Sometimes and Often are logically equivalent on the LSAT.

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Re: "Often"

Postby bp shinners » Thu Jun 28, 2012 1:41 pm

Verity wrote:President bp shinners


I like the sound of that.

Now, I understand what bp shinners is saying. Don't look at often and start making assumptions about how much that means. For example, don't hear often and then quantify it any more than "more than zero times." But that's exactly what I said above!


This was my point. I disagreed above when you stated that 'often' is a relative term in a way that other quantifiers aren't, and that's the only thing I really disagreed with you on. For the purposes of LR/LG, treat 'often' as 'some'. Do they have slightly different connotations? Yes. Will it matter on the LR/LG sections of the LSAT? No. Is it easier to just treat them both as 'at least once'? Yes.

The LSAT can trick you with that. Example:

"You need to attend at least half of the classes to get credit. But Jim goes to class very often, so he will get credit."

Can you see the flaws? Not only does this make the necessary/sufficient flaw, but it also quantifies "often" as "more than half," which is a mistake.

Don't quantify.


I'm missing the relevance of this example. To me, it proves what I'm trying to say. 'Often' isn't enough to give me 'at least half'/most. That makes it logically equivalent to 'some'. If you didn't quantify 'often' as 'some', you wouldn't necessarily see the shift.

I guess I'm talking more as advice to students who are confused by this than anything else, and in that case, treating 'often' as 'some' will work.

So I think we generally agree, but you're arguing generally and I'm arguing just for the purposes of the LSAT.

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Re: "Often"

Postby Verity » Thu Jun 28, 2012 2:18 pm

I concede that for purposes of LR/LG, LSAC has decided to narrowly tailor the definitions of some words that will often appear in those sections.

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Re: "Often"

Postby bp shinners » Thu Jun 28, 2012 3:52 pm

Verity wrote:I concede that for purposes of LR/LG, LSAC has decided to narrowly tailor the definitions of some words that will often sometimes appear in those sections.


Had to do it.




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