In this article we are going to discuss the following topics :

  • Statement & Arguments
  • Some Important Tips
  • Weak Arguments
  • To Determine the Forceful Argument
  • Format of the Question
  • Remember: Explanation Vs Argument


Reasoning is the act of methodically using logic to derive a conclusion from certain premises.

There are two ways of solving analytical reasoning questions. The first way is the one which consists of the general method for solving any type of analytical reasoning questions. This method consists of a standard approach which must be followed by all the analytical reasoning questions. The other way is based on the specific type of approach. In analytical reasoning the question itself consists of the answer.

In order to solve any analytical reasoning question, candidates must read the Statements very thoroughly and repeatedly to clearly understand the meanings and implications which they convey truly, with a very cool, cautious and patiently. In this type of questions, a Statement (usually an interrogative sentence) in the form of a suggested course of action is followed by two arguments.

One argument generally Supports the given Statement (or suggested course of action) by pointing out some positive features or positive results of that action while the second argument denies the Statement or argues against it by pointing out the negative features or deleterious effect/result of that action.

In order to determine the forcefulness of the arguments we have to decide whether the argument is perfect or not. If an argument is hundred per cent perfect, it would be forceful.


  • The argument should not be just an opinion. It must answer one of the questions—Why, How, When, What—of the Statement. Otherwise it is not an argument.
  • An argument also depends on the language used because by changing a few words we can make a weak argument forceful.
  • The argument must be judged as an argument and not with what somebody or newspapers say (s).



Statement : Should we follow non-alignment as foreign policy ?

Argument: Yes, because Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru advocated it.

Explanation : The argument is not forceful. If somebody says in favour of any policy or adopts it, does not mean that it is a correct policy.


  • If someone is quoted in support of the Statement it cannot be a forceful argument.


Statement: Is child the father of man?

Argument: Yes, because Wordsworth has said, “Heaven lies about us in our infancy.”

Explanation : The argument cannot be forceful only because someone has quoted in support of the Statement.


A) If an argument is an assumption. ( if it assumes something to be true whereas in reality it may or may not be true, the argument cannot be forceful)


Statement : Should school teachers be banned to take any private tuitions?

Argument : Yes, only then the quality of teaching in schools will improve.

Explanation : The argument is based on an assumption and hence it cannot be forceful.


B) An ambiguous argument cannot be forceful. The argument must be clear in meaning otherwise it may not be forceful or strong. An ambiguous argument leaves a doubtful and confused impression.


Statement: Should education be made compulsory for all children upto the age of 14?

Argument : Yes, This would improve the Standard of living.

Explanation : The argument is ambiguous. It is not clear how the compulsory education for all children upto the age of 14 could raise the Standard of living.


C) If the argument is in form of a simple sentence lacking any facts or established notions it is not taken to be forceful. Such argument shows proper relation with the Statement but due to its simplicity, it cannot be considered a forceful or strong argument.


Statement: Should terminal examination in India’s present education System be abolished altogether?

Argument: Yes, It has outlived altogether.

Explanation : Although the argument talks about the Suggestion given in the Statement, it simply Supports the Suggestion without giving proper reason.


D) If the argument the superfluous and only glances at the theme without making an in depth analysis of the facts or information, the argument cannot be forceful.


Statement : Should open book examinations be introduced for professional courses in India?

Argument: Yes, All candidates can pass easily and can start their professional life.

Explanation : The argument is superfluous. It does not delve into the core of the topic. Therefore, it is a weak argument.


E)  The “Law of ldentity” must not be violated. In other words, a word or phrase should be used in the same sense in the Statement as well as in the argument.


Statement: Should religion and politics be divorced?

Argument : No, because religion and politics are not husband and wife.

Explanation : In the Statement, the word “divorce” has been used in one sense whereas in the argument it has been used in different context and sense. Therefore, the argument is not forceful.


In the foregoing discussion, we have provided sufficient Clues for rejecting an argument at a glance. However, it does not work in every type of arguments. In some cases, an argument appears to be forceful at a first glance but Reasoning when we analyse it properly, it does not hold strong. Therefore, it is necessary to provide Borne basic tips too that we can identify such arguments.


Weak arguments are those which are of minor importance and also may not be directly related to the Statement or may be related to a trivial aspect of the question/statement.

We can declare an argument as weak on the basis of the following grounds.

A) If it is an established fact that such a result as mentioned in the argument would not follow an action suggested in the Statement.


Statement: Should we use bottled water for health and hygiene reason?

Argument : No. Bottled waters are not fresh and so may be contaminated.

Explanation : The argument is incorrect because it is an established fact that the bottled water is good for health and it is hygienic too.


B) If experiences predict that the result will not follow.


Statement: Should love marriages be preferred to arrange marriages?

Argument: Yes, because love marriages are more stable.

Explanation: The argument stipulates that love marriages are more stable but our experiences reflect that love marriages are not stable as that of arranged marriages and in most cases love marriages lack social recognition too.


C) If logically the result is not probable. That means, if we analyse the result does not appear to be logically sound.


Statement: Should India take seriously the proxy war on the part of Pakistan?

Argument : No, because it will invite international criticism.

Explanation : The argument does not sound logically. If one nation tries to protect its sovereignty how it will be objectionable internationally. It is the prime duty of any nation to protect its sovereignty and integrity.


D) An argument should not be factually incorrect. The argument must not violate the prevailing notion of truth or ideas. An argument can be rejected if it violates the prevailing notion of truth. Suppose, an argument is that “Man is not social”, it is not forceful because it is factually incorrect.


Statement : Should religion be taught in the Government Institution?

Argument : Yes, because it is necessary to promote religion.

Explanation : The argument is against the philosophy of secularism and hence it is not forceful. The argument is not according our prevailing ideals.


E) Sometimes an argument supports an action on the basis of consequences which are not universally accepted and which are not logically sound. Such an argument can only be described as the assumption or individual perception of the Speaker or arguer. In no case such an argument be forceful.


Statement: Should India remain non-aligned?

Argument: Yes, because this policy will do us a lot of good.

Explanation : The argument is vague and is more or less an individual opinion. How will it do good? What good will it do? These questions remain unanswered. Therefore, the argument is not strong.


F) Sometimes an argument answers something on the basis of individual perception or an assumption. An example or an analogy is usually argumentation. Just because somebody did something in the past, the same cannot be declared as pursuable. Since, if an argument consists of an example, it cannot be forceful. An example cannot justify anything.


Statement: Should System of reservation of posts for socially and economically disadvantaged groups/castes be introduced in the private sector ?

Argument : No. Nowhere else in the world such a practice is being followed.

Explanation : The argument is based on example and hence it cannot be forceful.

AFTER discussing in detail the various facets of a “weak argument” we should attempt to analyse the features of a “strong argument”. An argument can be considered as “strong” or “forceful” if it is important and directly related to the Statement.


In order to determine the forcefulness of the arguments, the following three Steps should be followed.


In the first step, we have to determine the validity of the result as indicated in the argument. In other words, we have to determine whether the positive feature or result mentioned in the argument really follows. We can judge this by an intuitive idea and applying some common sense.

Some typical cases, in which result will follow, have been discussed below.

A) A result will follow if it is an established fact or universally accepted/acknowledged notion of truth. An established fact may be scientifically proved or it may be universally acknowledged. Thus, a result will follow a course of action if it is an established fact that such a result usually follows such a course of action.


Statement : Should number of holidays of Government employees be reduced ?

Argument: Yes, it will result in increase the productivity of Government offices.

Explanation: In the above mentioned example whatever has been stipulated in the argument can follow because more or less it is an established fact. It is an established fact that if work hour is increased the productivity will also increase. Therefore we can say that the argument is suitable for further consideration. The argument ably withstands the first yardstick.

Here, it must be noted that we have not yet determined the forcefulness of the argument. In this step it is not possible to determine whether the arguments are forceful or not. We have only determined that the argument has satisfied the first condition.

An argument can be declared “strong” or “weak” only after the Step III.


B) We can evaluate the arguments on the basis of our experiences. In this category are the results which can be expected to follow because experiences indicate this.


Statement : Should the age of voting be raised to 21 years in India?

Argument : Yes, by that age people develop sense of responsibility and higher level of maturity.

Explanation : In the above mentioned example, the result that has been stipulated in the argument is probable correct. In our experiences this is Indicated.

For example, considerably the mature age can be assumed safe that people would take right decision.


C) If the result is logically probable, it will follow. In such cases we have to ascertain with proper logic whether the result will follow or not. The reasoning or logic applied in determining the validity of a result must be self-sufficient.


Statement : Should open book examinations be introduced for professional courses in India?

Argument: Yes, all candidates can pass easily and can start their professional life.

Explanation: The argument mentioned above seems to be logically convincing. For example, if open book examinations be introduced in professional courses all candidates could pass the exams easily.



This step is meant to check whether the result is desirable or the benefits mentioned in the argument will follow beyond a reasonable doubt or the results are really harmful (in case of negative results).


Statement: Should Central Government open well equipped hospital for every sub-division of every district?

Argument: Yes, health and well-being of every Citizen is the primary responsibility of the Government.

Explanation : Manpower is the most important resource of a country. Well being and good health of every Citizen is the prime duty of the Government. In order to ensure better health there should be sufficient number of hospitals and primary health care centre’s with all the facilities. Therefore, the fact stated in the argument is desirable.



We can reject an argument solely on the basis what the argument says seems to have no connection with the Statement. That means, an argument cannot be forceful or strong if it is not properly related with the Statement. A strong argument must be directly connected with the Statement. If its implication is connected, it cannot be a forceful argument. Thus, strong arguments are those which are both important and directly related to the statement. A strong argument should highlight the main issue involved in the statement. It should not emphasise any irrelevant, insignificant or minor issues.


Statement: Will the newly elected members fulfill their promises?


  1. Yes, otherwise their very existence will be in danger.
  2. No, elected members never seem to remember their promises and commitments.

Explanation:  Both the arguments are strong. Elected members have to face the electorates after each completion of their terms as their existence as members is decided by people. Secondly, at the time of elections, so many commitments are made which are hardly fulfilled.


Directions : In making decision about important questions, it is desirable to be able to distinguish between “Strong” arguments and “Weak” arguments so far as they relate to the question.

“Strong” arguments are those which are both important and directly related to the question.

“Weak” arguments are those which are of minor importance and also may not be directly related to the question or may be related to a trivial aspect of the question.

Instructions : Each question below is followed by a statement and two arguments numbered I and II. You have to decide which of the arguments is a “Strong” argument and which is a Weak” argument. Give answer

  • if only argument I is strong
  • if only argument II is strong
  • if either I or II is strong
  • if neither I nor II is strong
  • if both I and II are strong.

ON THE BASIS of foregoing discussion we can devise systematic approach for solving questions on forcefulness of Arguments.

We do suggest that you should follow the procedure given below


Preliminary Screening:

First of all check whether the given argument is a/an:

(i) weak argument,

(ii) ambiguous argument,

(iii) assumption,

(iv) superfluous argument, or

(v) question thrown back argument.

If an argument falls in any of the above mentioned categories, then it cannot be forceful and hence we should reject such arguments at the very beginning. If an argument does not belong to these categories, you should analyse it further step-by-step to determine its validity.


B) Step I: To test whether a result will follow or not?

A result will follow a course of action, if: (i) it is an established fact, or (ii) experiences indicate this or (iii) it is logically probable

A result will not follow a course of action, if: (i) it is against the established fact, or (ii) past experiences indicate so, or (iii) it is not logically probable. If an argument does not follow Step I, move to Step II otherwise the argument is not forceful.


C) Step II: To test the desirability of the result. If an argument can pass this Step, move to Step III otherwise the argument is not forceful.


D) Step III: To test whether the argument is properly related with the statement or not.

If an argument is directly related with the statement and highlights the main issue, then it is forceful.

Above mentioned Information can be tabulated as

A. Preliminary Screening
B. Step I
C Step II
D. Step III


In this case, the argument is forceful or strong. But whenever we get a cross-mark, our task is over. we should not waste time in analysing the argument further.

NOTE: Since preliminary Screening is somewhat exhaustive exercise and hence it cannot be equated with the subsequent steps which are not so exhaustive. That is why, we tend to categorise it separately.


Good explanations are helpful. They give people the information they need to solve problems and understand situations. They differ from arguments in a number of key ways. Explanations answer the question, “why?” by giving reasons that are the causes of a particular fact. Arguments try to convince you of their conclusions by presenting evidence for them. While explanations are about facts, arguments can be value judgments or recommendations. Understanding these differences allows you to see through poor arguments that aim to convince you to do, buy, or think something based on little or no evidence. Being able to recognize and formulate good explanations is a valuable critical-thinking skill.