Explanations for Arguments Practice

Updated on Sep 28, 2011

Review the lesson for Explanations for Arguments Help.

Explanations for Arguments Practice

  1. Provide another relevant and another irrelevant reason for being late to work.
  2. Relevant:


Read the following explanations carefully. Are they relevant (R) or irrelevant (I)?

  1. I didn't go because it was snowing heavily outside.
  2. I didn't get accepted into the program because I didn't get my application in on time.
  3. I didn't make it to practice because my favorite shoe store was having a grand opening in my neighborhood.
  4. I didn't win the school contest because the principal doesn't like my older brother.

Read the following explanations carefully. Are they testable (T) or untestable (U)?

  1. You won the competition because it was in the stars.
  2. I got the job because I had all the qualifications they were looking for.
  3. You were given that item because no one else showed up to claim it.
  4. You didn't get hurt because luck was on your side.
  5. I was able to go to Europe because my Aunt Helene paid for the trip.

Read the explanations below carefully. Identify explanations that pass (P) the logic test and those that fail (F) because they are circular.

  1. He has insomnia because he has trouble sleeping.
  2. She's a genius because she's gifted.
  3. They work well together because they share the same goals.
  4. He keeps the birds in separate cages because he doesn't want to keep them together.
  5. He got sick because he didn't dress warmly enough.

Consider the following explanations and their sources. Are they acceptable? Why or why not?

  1. Your long-time coworker and friend says: "I'm sorry I can't cover your shift tomorrow. I have a doctor's appointment and I can't reschedule again."
  2. Your local garage mechanic says: "Your car broke down because your transmission is shot. It's going to need a lot of work."
  3. Your neighbor says: "I don't exercise because it's bad for your health. It wears your body down."
  4. Your older sister says: "Your new sweater is dirty because the dog knocked it on the floor at dinner last night."


  1. Answers will vary. You might have written something like the following:
  2. Relevant: My car broke down and I had to wait an hour for the tow truck.

    Irrelevant: I need a new car radio.

  1. R. Bad weather is a relevant explanation for not going somewhere. Snow can affect the driving conditions and make it dangerous to go anywhere.
  2. R. Not getting an application in by a deadline is a relevant explanation for failing to get accepted into a program.
  3. I. The grand opening of a shoe store is not a relevant explanation for not making it to practice.
  4. I. It is unlikely that the principal would feel this way and not a relevant reason for losing a school contest.
  5. U. There's no way to verify that something happened "because it was in the stars."
  6. T. This can be verified. You can ask your employer why he or she chose you for the job.
  7. T. This can be verified. You can find out if anyone else went to claim the item.
  8. U. There's no way to verify if luck is ever on anyone's "side."
  9. T. This can be verified. You can check with Aunt Helene to see if she did pay for the trip.
  10. F. "Insomnia" and "has trouble sleeping" are two ways of saying the same thing.
  11. F. Being a genius and being gifted are just about the same, so there's no real explanation given here.
  12. P. This explanation gives a reason that explains why they work well together.
  13. F. A good explanation would tell why the birds can't be kept together.
  14. P. This gives a reason for why he got sick.
  15. If you've worked with this person a long time and consider her a friend, then this explanation is acceptable.
  16. The acceptability of this explanation would depend partly upon how much you know about cars. A ruined transmission is a very costly repair. If you don't know much about cars and don't know your mechanic very well, it might do you good to get a second opinion.
  17. Unacceptable. All evidence points to exercise as a key to improving health and living a longer life.
  18. The acceptability of this explanation would depend partly on how much you trust your sister. Has she been honest with you in the past? The answer to that would determine how much you can accept the explanation.
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