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Assumption. The correct answer choice is (B)
The argument presents two premises followed by a sentence that contains both a conclusion and
Premise 1: Larson cannot do the assignment because of an unavoidable scheduling
Premise 2: Franks cannot do the assignment because he is not assertive enough for the
Premise 3: Parker is the only supervisor in the shipping department other than Larson and
Conclusion: Parker must be assigned to the task.
When considering an argument, you should always be on the lookout for new terms that appear in
only one premise or only in the conclusion. In this stimulus, the phrase “supervisor in the shipping
department” appears in the last sentence. The use of this phrase is signifi cant since it limits the group
under discussion and indicates that the author is only considering shipping department supervisors
for the position. This detail, of course, is refl ected in the correct answer choice.
From another angle, the argument concludes that it is necessary to assign Parker to the task (the use
of the term “must” indicates that the author believes that Parker is the only solution). Generally,
such conclusions are vulnerable to attack by offering alternate solutions, and you should proceed to
the question after making that analysis. If this were a Weaken question, you would look for answer
that indicated that someone other than Parker could be assigned to the task. However, this is an
Assumption question, so you should look for a choice that helps establish that alternate solutions do
not exist, and that indeed Parker must be assigned to the task.
Answer choice (A): This answer choice tests to see whether you will assume that a mere possibility
is an absolute certainty. The premise about Larson states that “a” reason Larson cannot be assigned
to the task is the unavoidable scheduling confl ict, and the use of “a” leaves open the possibility that
other reasons also establish that Larson cannot do the assignment (the use of “the” would have been
limiting, but the use of “a” is not). So, it is possible that there were other reasons that Larson could
not do the assignment, but it is also possible there were no other reasons. Consequently, although
Larson may have the assertiveness the task requires, the author has not assumed that she does, and
this answer choice is incorrect.
Answer choice (B): This is the correct answer choice. This answer addresses the use of the phrase
supervisor in the shipping department in the stimulus, and reflfl ects the assumption made by the
author that only supervisors from the shipping department can be assigned to the task. Remember,
the author stated that there were only three supervisors in the shipping department, and since two of
the supervisors could not be assigned to the task that therefore the third supervisor must be assigned
to the task. This is a logical conclusion only if the author believes that a shipping department
supervisor must be the person assigned to the task.
To double-check the validity of this answer choice, use the Assumption Negation Technique. Using
the Technique, the negated answer becomes, “The task can be assigned to someone other than a
supervisor in the shipping department.” If the task can be assigned to non-supervisors, or to people
who are not in the shipping department, the conclusion in the argument is severely weakened.
Because the negated answer would clearly undermine the conclusion, this answer is confi rmed as
Answer choice (C): Although we know that Franks cannot be used for the task because he lacks
assertiveness, we do not know that if he had the required assertiveness that he would be assigned the
task. Similar to the reasoning used to discount answer choice (A), the premise about Franks states
that “a” reason Franks cannot be assigned to the task is that he is not quite assertive enough. Thus, it
is possible that there were other reasons that Franks could not do the assignment. Consequently, even
if Franks had the assertiveness the task requires, the author has not assumed that he would be used
for the task.
Answer choice (D): This choice is too broad because it addresses “any” confl ict. The reason Larson
could not do the assignment was that she had an unavoidable scheduling confl ict, and so the author
has not assumed that any scheduling confl ict is problematic, just an unavoidable one (for example,
perhaps Parker has a scheduling confl ict, but it can be resolved prior to the start of the task). Since
the author has not assumed that all scheduling confl icts preclude the assignment of the task, this
answer choice is incorrect.
Answer choice (E): This answer choice contains the following conditional relationship:
Assertive enough Supervisor in shipping department
Has the author assumed that everyone who is assertive enough for the task is a supervisor in the
shipping department? No, because the author has limited the candidates to the shipping department
there could be other people who are assertive enough for the task, but they would not be qualifi ed
since they are not supervisors in the shipping department.