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GRE Argument Essay: Seafood Dishes In Bay City Restaurants - With A Free Essay Review

A recent sales study indicates that consumption of seafood dishes in Bay City restaurants has increased by 30 percent during the past five years. Yet there are no currently operating city restaurants whose specialty is seafood. Moreover, the majority of families in Bay City are two-income families, and a nationwide study has shown that such families eat significantly fewer home-cooked meals than they did a decade ago but at the same time express more concern about healthful eating. Therefore, the new Captain Seafood restaurant that specializes in seafood should be quite popular and profitable.

Write a response in which you discuss what specific evidence is needed to evaluate the argument and explain how the evidence would weaken or strengthen the argument.

First of all, the author uses the percentage increase in seafood consumption to illustrate the increased popularity of seafoods in Bay city. To justify this argument, we need evidence about the base of this increase, in other words, what was the seafood consumption five years ago, or what is the actual seafood dish consumption now. The percentage does not give us a good idea about the popularity of seafoods, since it is possible that the base is small or the seafood dish consumption was small five years ago, or seafood consumption is only a very small portion of various food choices; then, a 30 percent increase would not be significant compared to other foods. Consequently the author’s logic would be false, and this can weaken the final conclusion.

Secondly, the author implies a link between popularity of eating seafood and the concern about healthful eating. Since the nationwide study showed that two-income families, which comprise the majority of the Bay City population, are concerned about healthful eating, the author implies these families are likely to go to eat seafood. In order to test the veracity of the implied link, we need evidence about how many people consider seafoods as their choices of the healthy diet. If people favor salads or other foods as their choices of healthful eating, then, this will not lead to the conclusion of the significant increase in seafood popularity, thus, the author’s claim is not valid.

Finally, the author claims that the new Captain Seafood restaurant that specializes in seafood should be profitable, because there is a large population of presumable customers. To test the validity of this argument, we need evidence about if people prefer specialized seafoods restaurants over other types of restaurants that also offer seafoods, and if other restaurants which also sell seafoods make a lot of money from their seafood dishes. It is possible that people like regular restaurants for seafoods because they have more other choices. In addition, if other restaurants, which sell seafood, report that seafood dishes are indeed very profitable, then, this can bolster the author’s claim.

To sum up, in order to test the validity of the author’s conclusion, we need evidence about the actual seafood consumption in Bay city, and how many families consider seafoods as their choice of healthful eating.



Your first argument is reasonable but you conclude with an assertion rather than an explanation ("this can weaken the final conclusion"). Note that the prompt says "explain how the evidence would weaken or strengthen the argument." That means you need to write sentences like: “If the level of seafood consumption is relatively small in absolute terms, then there may not be a sufficiently large market to support a profitable seafood restaurant, especially in light of the fact that existing restaurants do serve seafood. For this reason, such evidence would weaken the argument. If the level of consumption is fairly high, however, etc.”

Your second argument is also reasonable (although you neglect the obvious common objection to evidence based on "nationwide surveys"; i.e., the fact that such surveys tend not to take account of local differences from national trends). Again, the conclusion to the paragraph, which in some ways is the most important part of the essay, is relatively weak. Specifically, it does not accurately represent the actual conclusion of the original argument.

In the next paragraph, you astutely note that "it is possible that people like regular restaurants for seafood because they have more choices" but in this case you don't offer any explanation at all of the significance of evidence of that possibility on the original argument.

In reference to your comment below, I'm not sure exactly what comment of mine you are referring to, but I think you've done a reasonably good job of specifying the evidence that you want to see here.

Best, EJ.
Submitted by: uofr6460


I'm not so sure how to answer "what specific evidence is needed to evaluate the argument", last time you tell me don't ask for something they did not mention. I'm not quite sure. Thanks!!
June,22 2012

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