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Unlocking the Power of Transition Words in LSAT Logical Reasoning

At Ginsburg Advanced Tutoring, we pride ourselves on equipping our students with a comprehensive arsenal of strategies to conquer the LSAT. Today, we delve into one of our essential "micro strategy" from the LSAT Boss Curriculum: mastering transition words in Logical Reasoning questions. This skill is pivotal in identifying conclusions and dissecting arguments effectively.


The Role of Transition Words

Transition words are linguistic signposts that signal shifts in meaning within a sentence or passage. Recognizing these words and understanding their function is the first step towards unraveling complex arguments on the LSAT. These words can indicate various relationships, such as cause and effect, contrast, addition of ideas, or conclusions. By identifying these transitions, you can better understand the structure and flow of the argument.





Categories of Transition Words

To effectively utilize this strategy, it’s crucial to familiarize yourself with the major categories of transition words and their common examples:


Cause

  • Examples: because, since, due to, as a result of

  • Function: Indicate a reason or cause behind a premise.


Result

  • Examples: therefore, thus, consequently, hence

  • Function: Signal a conclusion or result stemming from previous premises.


Contrast

  • Examples: but, however, yet, although

  • Function: Highlight differences between ideas, which can signal a shift from a premise to a contrasting conclusion or another premise.


Similarly

  • Examples: likewise, similarly, in the same way

  • Function: Draw parallels between ideas or premises.


Addition of Ideas

  • Examples: furthermore, moreover, additionally, also

  • Function: Add supporting premises to strengthen an argument.


Disputes

  • Examples: notwithstanding, despite, although

  • Function: Indicate a challenge or dispute against a premise or conclusion.


Transition Words in Action: Identifying Premises and Conclusions

Some transition words are reliable indicators of premises or conclusions, while others can serve dual roles depending on the context. Let’s examine how different transition words function within sentences.


Causal Transition Words: These words typically introduce premises. For example:

  • "Because I studied hard, I passed the exam."

  • Here, "because" introduces the premise that supports the conclusion of passing the exam.


Contrast Transition Words: These words can either signal a premise or a conclusion, depending on the context:

  • "I usually get chocolate ice cream, but today I'm in the mood for vanilla, so I'll get the vanilla."

  • In this sentence, "but" introduces a primary premise that contrasts with the preceding premise. The word "so" indicates the overall conclusion.

  • "I usually get the chocolate, but today I'll get the vanilla. I'm in the mood for it."

  • In this variation, "but" signals the conclusion, and the supporting reason follows.


Practical Application: Highlighting Transition Words

To effectively utilize this strategy on the LSAT, adopt the practice of circling, underlining, or highlighting transition words as you read through Logical Reasoning passages. This visual cue will prompt you to pause and consider the role each transition word plays in the argument structure. By doing so, you'll be better equipped to pinpoint the conclusion and understand the relationship between different premises.


Conclusion

Mastering transition words is a fundamental strategy within the LSAT Boss Curriculum, setting the stage for more advanced argument analysis techniques. By recognizing and interpreting these linguistic signals, you'll enhance your ability to dissect arguments, identify conclusions, and ultimately, excel in the Logical Reasoning section of the LSAT.

Stay tuned for more insights from Ginsburg Advanced Tutoring as we continue to break down essential strategies to help you achieve your LSAT goals. You can reach out for LSAT assistance or join our next live LSAT BOSS class by registering here.

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