Verbal Reasoning concept and terminology

Verbal Reasoning makes a substantial part of CAT and other MBA Exams Verbal Ability questions. It is important to know the basics and understand the terminology before getting on to solve the questions.

Reasoning is the ability to differentiate the I.Q (Intelligence Quotient) from the E.Q (Emotional Quotient).  As human beings we tend to blur the lines between our relationships and our decisions. When faced with making tough decisions we might take a partial stand towards what is close to the heart rather than what is morally and ethically correct.

When we become managers which is what we are aiming to do as we are preparing for our management exams, we must make decisions that are not influenced by external factors. We need to reason. Hence, it is required that we enhance our reasoning skills. Therefore the reasoning section in most MBA entrance exams has more weight-age. In CAT for example, the Verbal Section will have approximately 22 questions, out of which Reading Comprehension questions will be reasoning based, Summary Completion questions and Para Jumbles which takes the total tally of reasoning questions to anywhere between 9 - 11.

There are a few basic terms which we must know before we try and solve reasoning questions.

  • Premise - A reasoning question is usually in the form of a paragraph. This paragraph in reasoning terminology is called the premise. So we can also say that a simple, plain statement backed by reasons or which gives information is the premise.
  • Conclusion – A conclusion is the definite ending to the premise. A conclusion can also be the result. In English a conclusion may typically be denoted by words such as; Hence, Therefore, As a result, Thus etc.
  • Assumptions – An assumption is the unstated premise by which we have arrived at the conclusion. It fills the gap between the premise and the conclusion.
  • Argument – All of the above together is an argument.

Based on these definitions, we can now start looking at the various questions that appear in the verbal reasoning sections.

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