quick conditional question

User avatar
longlivetheking
Posts: 279
Joined: Mon Oct 15, 2012 2:15 am

quick conditional question

Postby longlivetheking » Fri Oct 19, 2012 9:06 pm

hi there. was wondering how do you diagram this sentence:

The only people who can be crossed in love are intemperate Capulets

since "the only" indicates a sufficient condition, and its modifying the word "people", which is "intemperate Capulates", is it correct if you do this?

intemperate Capulets -> Crossed in love

? or is it the other way around?

anyone have some quick tips on diagramming?

vzapana
Posts: 530
Joined: Sat Oct 13, 2012 2:54 pm

Re: quick conditional question

Postby vzapana » Fri Oct 19, 2012 9:15 pm

The sentence "The only people who can be crossed in love are intemperate Capulets." is equivalent to "Only intemperate Capulets can be crossed in love." Only refers to the necessary part of the conditional, so the diagramming is actually:

Can be crossed in love --> intemperate Capulet

When you have a complex sentence, try to transform it into a more easily digestible form like "Only X is Y"

Another way to look at it is if you use different terms: Let's say the conditional was If you live in NY, you live in the US.
Which of the following makes sense?
- The only people who live in New York live in the US.
- The only people who live in the US live in New York.

The first one should. Notice that this is the same structure used in the Capulet example.

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

Re: quick conditional question

Postby bp shinners » Mon Oct 22, 2012 10:43 am

vzapana wrote:When you have a complex sentence, try to transform it into a more easily digestible form like "Only X is Y"


I think you're the only person who would describe the 'only' phrase as more-easily digestible. (See what I did there?)

To OP - you have the rule right, but you applied it wrong.

'The only' introduces a sufficient condition. So when you say, "The only people who can be crossed in love are intemperate Capulets," 'The only' precedes 'people who can be crossed in love', not 'intemperate Capulets.'

So the diagram is 'Can be crossed in love -> Intemperate Capulets'.

For me, the more-easily digestible version is the 'If, then' version, so I always re-read my diagram as such.

Your original diagram was, "If someone is an intemperate Capulet, then they're crossed in love." That's obviously not what your original phrase says - not every intemperate Capulet is crossed in love.

The correct one says, "If someone in crossed in love, they must be an intemperate Capulet." That makes sense - since they're the only ones who could be crossed in love.

User avatar
bitsy
Posts: 196
Joined: Sat Oct 06, 2012 8:06 pm

Re: quick conditional question

Postby bitsy » Mon Oct 22, 2012 11:43 am

I think another source of difficulty might be that many test prep books tell you that if you see "only if," whatever follows is a necessary condition. ex: I am going to the vet only if my cat pukes. [V-->P]

However, "the only" doesn't work in the same way-- it introduces sufficient conditions.

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

Re: quick conditional question

Postby LSAT Hacks (Graeme) » Mon Oct 22, 2012 12:11 pm

Good replies. I'll add a trick I used when I was first learning these.

I don't know much about Capulets, and who can be crossed in love. So it's hard to know if I interpreted the sentence right. But I do know about other things, such as Cats, and Tails.

The sentence really has this structure: The only "things that are X" are "Ys"

I can make infinite new sentences using that structure:

"The only things people that have bodyguards are the rich" B --> R
"The only people that like war are those who haven't fought" LW --> ~F

These are sentences that you can figure out using your own knowledge. The second sentence doesn't mean that everyone who hasn't fought likes war. That's nonsense.

If you replace the terms with terms you know you can sort out on your own, then you can see that the sentence should be translated as "LW --> ~F" and not "~F --> LW"




Return to “LSAT Prep and Discussion Forum”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Baidu [Spider], BobBoblaw, dj9i27, jagerbom79, JoshLyman13, maybeman and 5 guests