# Boldface

The Boldface question type on the GMAT belongs to the structure-based Critical Reasoning Family, and is one of the most common question types to appear on GMAT CR.

Boldface problems present a standard argument, with one or two portions in boldface font. You are asked to describe the role that that each portion of boldface font plays.

“Role” is just another term for concepts you already know. A bolded portion could be a premise, a conclusion, a counter-premise, an intermediate conclusion, or background information. It could also be a counter-conclusion, which goes against the author’s main conclusion.

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This question type is easy to identify, because one or (usually) two statements will be presented in boldface font, and the question stem will include the word boldface.

Let’s try and solve a few examples:

1. Hunter: Many people blame hunters alone for the decline in Greenrock National Forest’s deer population over the past ten years. Yet clearly, black bears have also played an important role in this decline. In the past ten years, the forest’s protected black bear population has risen sharply, and examination of black bears found dead in the forest during the deer hunting season showed that a number of them had recently fed on deer.

In the hunter’s argument, the portion in boldface plays which of the following roles?

(A) It is the main conclusion of the argument.

(B) It is a finding that the argument seeks to explain.

(C) It is an explanation that the argument concludes is correct.

(D) It provides evidence in support of the main conclusion of the argument.

(E) It introduces a judgment that the argument opposes.

Let us first identify the building blocks of the argument.

Conclusion: “Yet clearly, black bears have also played an important role in this decline.”

Premise: “In the past ten years, the forest’s protected black bear population has risen sharply, and examination of black bears found dead in the forest during the deer hunting season showed that a number of them had recently fed on deer.”

Background: “Many people blame hunters alone for the decline in Greenrock National Forest’s deer population over the past ten years.” (Boldfaced)

We know from the above that the argument seeks to offer an alternate reason for the decline of the deer population. Because the aim of the argument is to find an alternate reason for the decline, the very first line is used to provide context/background for the misjudged circumstances, which is boldfaced.

Hence, the correct answer is option E.

1. Last year a record number of new manufacturing jobs were created. Will this year bring another record? Well, a new manufacturing job is created either within an existing company or by the start-up of a new company. Within existing firms, new jobs have been created this year at well below last year’s record pace. At the same time, there is considerable evidence that the number of new companies starting up will be no higher this year than it was last year, and surely the new companies starting up this year will create no more jobs per company than did last year’s start-ups. Clearly, it can be concluded that the number of new jobs created this year will fall short of last year’s record.

In the argument given, the two portions in boldface play which of the following roles?

(A) The first is a prediction that, if accurate, would provide support for the main conclusion of the argument; the second is that main conclusion.

(B) The first is a prediction that, if accurate, would provide support for the main conclusion of the argument; the second is a conclusion drawn in order to support that main conclusion.

(C) The first is an objection that the argument rejects; the second is the main conclusion of the argument.

(D) The first is an objection that the argument rejects; the second presents a conclusion that could be drawn if that objection were allowed to stand.

(E) The first is a claim that has been advanced in support of a position that the argument opposes; the second is a claim advanced in support of the main conclusion of the argument.

Let’s start, once again, by breaking down the argument:

Conclusion: “Clearly, it can be concluded that the number of new jobs created this year will fall short of last year’s record.”

And why’s that?

Well, the premise(s) should answer the question, whilst providing evidence to support the fact that indeed, the number of new jobs this year will not meet last year’s record.

As you already know, an argument can have multiple premises.

Premise 1: “Well, a new manufacturing job is created either within an existing company or by the start-up of a new company.” – This perhaps works as the premise for the premise, actually. Because without this information, any subsequent evidence regarding how new jobs are even created would not even make sense.

Premise 2: “Within existing firms, new jobs have been created this year at well below last year’s record pace. At the same time, there is considerable evidence that the number of new companies starting up will be no higher this year” – This premise is very statistical, in a way that it quotes records of how the scenario has been with new jobs thus far, and how it doesn’t seem logical to expect a change this year anymore, based on evidence.

Premise 3: “surely the new companies starting up this year will create no more jobs per company than did last year’s start-ups.” – This premise, also in support of the conclusion, is more predictive than empirical and carries an assumption about the very nature of a newly founded company.

So, we now know that the first boldface is a premise and the second one is the conclusion.

Hence, we can easily eliminate options C and D right away, that posit that the first boldface opposes the second one. Option E can also be eliminated, because the first boldface (being a premise) is certainly not a claim.

We are left with options A and B that both refer to the boldface as a prediction (which is correct), but option B makes the role of the second boldface ambiguous and redundant.

The answer is option A.

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