pt 39, s.2, Q.6 .."poor writers often express mundane ideas.."

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flash21
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pt 39, s.2, Q.6 .."poor writers often express mundane ideas.."

Postby flash21 » Sun May 10, 2015 3:08 pm

Hello,

I don't really get this question (I've looked on Manhattan).

The confusion comes from the word "mundane" - doesn't the word essentially mean BORING but not necessary simple or not complex?

So if the writer is expressing (boring) ideas with elaborate syntax and esoteric vocabulary, how does it logically make sense to fit (D) into the empty slot? (D) to me suggests that the word MUNDANE = simple, which is not true as far as I know. Thats why I picked (A), seems to be the better answer.

Am I simply misunderstanding what mundane even means - or does my issue lay somewhere else in this question?

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whacka
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Re: pt 39, s.2, Q.6 .."poor writers often express mundane ideas.."

Postby whacka » Sun May 10, 2015 5:14 pm

.
Last edited by whacka on Sat Jul 11, 2015 2:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Christine (MLSAT)
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Re: pt 39, s.2, Q.6 .."poor writers often express mundane ideas.."

Postby Christine (MLSAT) » Tue May 12, 2015 4:39 pm

There are a few separate important things happening here.

First, it's important to realize on review/reflection that while 'simplistic' is not the most common connotation for the word "mundane", it is a legit one. Mundane means the everyday and ordinary - while that concept is often used to highlight the boringness of a thing, everyday and ordinary ideas have a simplicity inherent in them as well. (Incidentally, a quick google search on for the words mundane and simple shows a variety of situations where people are using the two interchangeably on the same page.)

Now, are you supposed to know all the myriad connotations of every word that the LSAT might choose to employ? Well, it helps, but you can usually work around these things.

Let's take (A) and (D) here from the perspective of someone who isn't familiar with simple as a valid connotation of mundane.
The point of the stimulus seems to be that you shouldn't use elaborate/esoteric writing for mundane ideas. (A) is pro-simple writing, but it goes farther than we need - that would apply to ALL ideas, not just mundane ones. But (D) is saying that you shouldn't use complex writing for simple ideas, essentially. Does simple = mundane?? Which should I choose? The one that clearly broadens the scope to all writing, or the one that seems to shift terms from mundane to simple?

At this point, you have a choice to make: which one has the most likelihood of being correct? Is it more likely that the LSAT is okay with a conclusion that quite substantially widens the scope to all writing? Or is it more likely that the mundane could mean simple, and that the LSAT is using it that way?

Even if I normally use mundane to mean boring, I would acknowledge that I may not know all the connotations of the word, and that's it's not patently UNreasonable for mundane to mean simple. Since that seems like a legit possibility, and it seems wildly out of character for the LSAT to let a conclusion in that so blatantly broadens the scope as (A) does, my best gamble is (D).

As a general rule, if one answer choice would be a great fit as long as you assume the LSAT is using a word in a slightly surprising (but not patently unreasonable way), and there are clear (non-connotation based) reasons why all the other answers are wrong, go with the 'unusual-but-reasonable connotation' answer.




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