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GRE Argument Essay: Sunnyside Towers Showerside - With A Free Essay Review
Prompt: "The following appeared in a letter from the owner of the Sunnyside Towers apartment complex to its manager. 'One month ago, all the showerheads in the first three buildings of the Sunnyside Towers complex were modified to restrict maximum water flow to one-third of what it used to be. Although actual readings of water usage before and after the adjustment are not yet available, the change will obviously result in a considerable savings for Sunnyside Corporation, since the corporation must pay for water each month. Except for a few complaints about low water pressure, no problems with showers have been reported since the adjustment. I predict that modifying showerheads to restrict water flow throughout all twelve buildings in the Sunnyside Towers complex will increase our profits even more dramatically.' Write a response in which you discuss what questions would need to be answered in order to decide whether the prediction and the argument on which it is based are reasonable. Be sure to explain how the answers to these questions would help to evaluate the prediction."
The argument contains several unaddressed details that can potentially affect the validity of the author’s argument. First of all, there is no evidence available to show that the water consumption indeed has decreased after implementing modified showerheads. Then, there is no solid evidence to show that predicted outcome is warranted. The author predicts that the consumption of water will drop by restricting the maximum water flow of all the showerheads. However, the owner ignores an important fact that it is possible when the maximum water flow is reduced to one-third of what is used to be, it takes longer for residents to shower. Consequently, the longer shower time would compensate for the reduced flow rate. After all, this would not contribute to reducing water consumption. If this is the case, the owner’s predication is invalid. Therefore, due to the other possibility, it is questionable if the owner’s suggestion can help reduce water consumption, and further save money on the water bill.
Moreover, the letter implies that residents are not unhappy about modified showerheads, because there is not complaints about showerheads. This is flawed. Apparently, some people notice that there is something wrong with their shower water, and it is possible that they do not realize that the low shower-water flow may not be due to low water pressure but instead to showerhead modification. It is very likely that it has nothing to do with water pressure at all. If the real cause of these complaints about low water pressure is actually showerhead modification, then, the the owner’s suggestion is not applicable.
In addition, even if the manager does not receive complaints about showerheads or water pressure, this does not mean that people are satisfied. It is possible they are unhappy with the showerhead modification, but they think it is too troublesome to complain. It is possible that residents will stop renting Sunnyside Tower complex because of low water flow for all showerheads, but they never complain anything.
Overall, the current argument represented in the letter is not cogent, because there are several unaddressed problems that can invalidate the owner’s suggestion.
Your first argument is reasonable. You may as well (let me say it again!) respond directly to the instructions. If you are asked to identify questions, then explicitly identify questions instead of indirectly doing so by considering the evidence that would be needed to evaluate the prediction. In fact, you would just need to stick the following sentence somewhere appropriate in the middle of the first paragraph: "Thus, the first question that needs to be asked in order to evaluate the owner's prediction is whether water consumption has indeed declined since the installation of the new showerheads." If you do that, no reader will be able to fault you.
The relevance of your second argument is unclear to me. My interpretation of the letter would be that its author understands that the few complaints about water pressure are consequent about the modification of the showerheads. His point in the letter is, presumably, that there will be no or few negative consequences (with respect to the happiness of his renters with their living situation) following the modification of the showerheads. Perhaps one could ask whether the few complaints really do indicate that most are not concerned about the change, or whether instead, since people often don't complain, more than a few might be concerned. That’s basically what you proceed to do in your next paragraph, where you note that unhappy renters might chose to move to new abodes where the water flows more liberally; alternatively, let’s note for the hell of it that out of frustration, these troubled renters might just stop showering altogether, thus bringing, by virtue of the increasingly bothersome stench emanating from the apartment buildings, the whole complex into disrepute, forcing the owner to lower the rent in order to attract those happy few with deficient sense of smell.
Shut up, EJ!
Okay, I'll shut up ...
... just as soon as I've clarified that the predicted savings on water would likely, under the scenarios we've imagined, be offset by decline in revenue from renting. In other words (because at a certain point one loses control over one's ability to stop tapping keys), and by an implication that I here make explicit, you, dear reviewee, need to explain in each case what the relevance of your argument is for the evaluation of the prediction, which you don't do in your third paragraph.
P.S. In order to evaluate the specific prediction that extending to scheme to all twelve buildings "will increase ... profits even more dramatically," one would of course also need to know whether the cost of water usage is a significant cost relative to other costs and relative to the revenue produced by rent.