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#6 - Harry Trevalga: You and your publication have unfairly

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Complete Question Explanation

Assumption. The correct answer choice is (C)

In this stimulus, Harry observes that all of his poetry submissions get rejected, and he concludes that the journal must be unfairly discriminating against him (because the editor is bitter towards Harry). The publisher defends his journal by observing that the editor never sees the poet's name before making a decision.

The publisher's defense sounds quite solid. The only obvious weakness may be that perhaps the editor can identify Harry's poetry solely from the style.

Read the question stem: note that we are looking for a necessary assumption for the publisher's argument.

Answer choice (A): This answer choice is not necessary for the publisher's argument. Even if the editor does hold a grudge against Harry, the publisher's argument could still stand, if the editor has no way of identifying Harry's poetry.

Answer choice (B): This answer choice is not necessary for the publisher's argument. Even if it is unusual for a poet to have a 100% rejection rate, it is still certainly possible that all of Harry's poems were rejected according to an unbiased judging process.

Answer choice (C): This is the correct answer choice. Apply the Assumption Negation test: If this statement were not true — if the editor had an alternative means of identifying Harry's poetry (perhaps from the style, as described above) besides his name — then it is very possible that the editor is discriminating against Harry, so the publisher's argument fails.

Answer choice (D): This answer choice would actually cut against the publisher's argument. The publisher is trying to argue that the editor is choosing objectively — presumably based on intrinsic merit. The publisher certainly does not want to admit that the editor has any other criterion.

Answer choice (E): This answer choice is not necessary for the publisher's argument. Even if Harry used his real name when he submitted his poetry, the publisher's argument could still stand, if the editor has no way of seeing Harry's name or otherwise identifying Harry's poetry.
Anali
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Hi!

When negating answer choices that have the "except", "unless", "until", "without," could I drop the rest of the sentence after negating the sufficient?

For instance, when negating answer choice (C), when I negate it, I could state "The poetry editor CAN (or could) recognize the poems submitted by Harry Trevalga" and end that negated statement there? I do not have to negate the rest of that sentence?

Thank you
James Finch
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Hi Anali,

When using the Assumption Negation technique, you're always negating the meaning of the statement. That might require only negating the sufficient condition, or it could require some changing of the language around the necessary condition as well, as it does in this case. The way I would write (C) in negated form would be:

"The poetry editor could recognize the poems submitted by Harry Trevalga as his even if Trevalga's name is not attached to them." (Italicized words are my changes.)

Let me know if this clears things up.
Anali
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Thank you for that explanation James!