English Proficiency Test Solutions

QUESTIONING ASSUMPTIONS

The following appeared in a letter from a firm providing investment advice to a client. “Homes in the northeastern United States, where winters are typically cold, have traditionally used oil as their major fuel for heating. Last year that region experienced twenty days with below-average temperatures, and local weather forecasters throughout the region predict that this weather pattern will continue for several more years. Furthermore, many new homes have been built in this region during the past year. Because of these developments, we predict an increased demand for heating oil and recommend investment in Consolidated Industries, one of whose major business operations is the retail sale of home heating oil.”

The author of the letter from the firm providing investment plans is concluding that there will be an increase in sale of home heating oil. The author supports this statement by pointing out that the homes in the northeastern United states have traditionally used oil as their major fuel for heating. The author also points out that the region experienced twenty days with below-average temperatures. Furthermore, the author indicates that many new homes had been built in this region during the past year thus concluding that this will create a great demand for heating oil.

First, the author assumes that the homes in the northeastern United States have typically cold winter. Assessing this assumption, we can zero in on the inchoate evidence provide; last year that region had experienced twenty days with below average temperatures. The author is trying to convince us that because the local weather forecasters throughout the region predict that this pattern will continue for the coming years. However, the author fails to state what typically in this context mean. Does it mean that there are winters that are attenuated? The statement points out that it is only 20 days that have severely low temperatures. This is weakened when the author does not provide enough evidence on the what region he is relating to and when he claims that the forecasters have said it. This does not necessarily mean that this pattern of only twenty days qualify to be a major reason to use more oil heating. In most cases, given the extreme cold residents will want to use alternative heating sources such as air conditions and in most extreme cases they will use wood.

In addition, the author assumes that because the northeastern residents have traditionally used oil as their major fuel for heating, this trend will clasp to increase the demand for heating oil. Given that the demand for any product, and in this case the heating oil changes over time with the sophistication of the customer needs, the idea is weakened by invoking the word ‘traditionally’ to make this idea relatable with the clients. The idea that this was popular in the past does not necessarily mean that the same is true today. For instance, Wooden wheels were traditionally used as a mode of transport, but the use has significantly reduced due to the change of client needs and the adoption of new technology. This being the case, the author does not attempt to point out the possibility that other heating sources maybe used instead of the heating source. Therefore, it is clear that the aforementioned scenario may not increase the demand of the heating oil.

Finally, the author assumes that the building of new homes in this region in the past year will automatically translate into an increase in demand for heating oil. This may not hold water because, when building a home, the heating is a key priority especially in cold regions. This being the case, most residents will opt for newer more efficient heating options. The author’s argument is inclined to the evidence tabled that the Consolidated Industries has one of its major business operations as the sale of home heating oil. This statement acts only to coerce the client into believing that the increase in homes will not only increase the demand for the heating oil but also become a base of investment growth with high returns.

In conclusion, I can concede that the author has presented a potentially great idea, but we do not have enough information tabled to convince us of the evidence on the main idea.

By Toni Gichamba

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