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GRE Argument Essay: Skateboarding - With A Free Essay Review
Topic: "The following appeared as a letter to the editor from a Central Plaza store owner. 'Over the past two years, the number of shoppers in Central Plaza has been steadily decreasing while the popularity of skateboarding has increased dramatically. Many Central Plaza store owners believe that the decrease in their business is due to the number of skateboard users in the plaza. There has also been a dramatic increase in the amount of litter and vandalism throughout the plaza. Thus, we recommend that the city prohibit skateboarding in Central Plaza. If skateboarding is prohibited here, we predict that business in Central Plaza will return to its previously high levels.' Write a response in which you discuss what questions would need to be answered in order to decide whether the recommendation is likely to have the predicted result. Be sure to explain how the answers to these questions would help to evaluate the recommendation."
By citing the predicament faced by the store owners in the Central Plaza and the increasing popularity of the skateboarding, this argument recommends skateboarding be prohibited in the plaza to resurrect the business; it highlights a correlation between these two phenomena, stating that the skateboarding users in the plaza not only have a negative impact on the business, they also cause a public disorder. Well-intentioned may the argument seem at the first glance. Close scrutiny, however, reveals that the argument is problematic unless the author can give definite answers to several critical questions as follows.
First, is there a clearly passive relation between the business and this skateboard? As an extreme game, skateboarding is quite an eye-catching activity. The skateboarders in the plaza may attract many people here, and hence lead to more business. Perhaps some other incidents decrease the business, such as the products sold in the plaza being out of date; or another plaza with the same level, but has a more effective determining dimension in its promotion process, is set up on the other side of the city, which capture many Central Plaza’s customers; or there is a risk potential in the plaza, when customers are informed of this, they are unwilling to come here any longer. Maybe such negative effects are much stronger than the positive ones caused by the skateboarders. If this is the case, prohibiting skateboarding will have no benefits; on the contrary, the owners could suffer another dramatic decrease in the sales.
Secondly, can it ensure that the skateboarders are the trouble makers? The author simply assumes the skateboarders are the only group in the plaza. However, it is highly likely that some other categories of people, who maybe baggers, robbers or even terrorists, often behave rudely and virulently, rather than skateboarders that offend or scare the customers. Without ruling out such facts, we cannot perfunctorily suspend the skateboarders.
Thirdly, is it appropriate to suggest that all the litter or vandalism is caused by the skateboarders? May be the local administration does not take good care of it, and it is such malpractice that weaken the public facilities in the plaza, thus, causing a decrease. Besides, even assumes that the skateboarder’s behaviors do have bad effects here, the author provides no evidence to validate the relationship between the facilities condition and the business in the plaza. Such conclusion cannot be made until information is provided to verify this question.
To sum up, the author’s intend to recommend prohibit of skateboarding in Central Plaza seems indefensible due to the vague, oversimplified and unwarranted evidences. To bolster this recommendation, additional evidence should be illustrated to answer the questions above. And further investigations should also be undertaken. With all of this being accomplished, we can find this recommendation to be more convincing.
The meaning of the first question that you identify is not entirely clear to me, and you don't, in any case, devote much of the paragraph in which it occurs to discussing it. Instead you discuss, in effect, a question that you don't explicitly identify: Are there other possible explanations for the decline in business at the plaza? That's a much more reasonable question to ask (and you should ask it explicitly). Your discussion of that question involves what I think is unnecessary speculation about specific possible alternative explanations. You don't need to speculate, for example, about the existence of another plaza that promotes itself more effectively. Doing that allows you to cover just one specific possibility. Another plaza, for instance, could have taken business not only by virtue of better marketing, but for any number of reasons (more variety of goods, cheaper goods, better services, greater convenience and so on); you can avoid having to worry about all of that by just asking, "Has competition increased?"
In your next paragraph, likewise, you don't need to speculate about possible alternative "categories of people" who might be responsible for problems at the plaza. You also don't need to invent additional problems; it's not clear why you refer to trouble making or rude behavior, for example, since that is not mentioned in the original argument.
Your final questions are reasonable enough, but you do not fully "explain how the answers to these questions would help to evaluate the recommendation." In this respect, it is not enough to say "such a conclusion cannot be made until information is provided to [answer] this question." You need explicitly to consider possible answers to the questions you identify and explain fully how those answers would impact an evaluation of the recommendation.