Hello there! I am taking the GRE in a few weeks and have just started to practice for the Writing sections. Underneath is one of my essays, that I would like to get some feedback on. Thank you very much in advance!

Argument

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.

Response

First of all, the severity of the changes in the number of shoppers in Central Plaza and the popularity of skateboarding is not the same. The letter to the editor mentions a steady decrease in the number of shoppers in Central plaza, while the increase in the popularity of skateboarding is called dramatic. It is important to think about whether a dramatic change in the popularity of skateboarding could have caused a steady change in the number of shoppers. Next to that, other possible causes that have been gradually changing should be studied, such as the amount of people that shop online or the change in population close to Central Plaza.


Secondly, although an increase in the amount of litter and vandalism sounds like a plausible reason for the decrease in the number of shoppers, it is unclear whether this is caused by skateboard users. Thus, it must be determined who causes the litter and vandalism. If this is not caused by the group of skateboarders, it can be ineffective to prohibit skateboarding in Central Plaza.


Next to that, the letter does not say anything about a possible overlap between the group of shoppers and the group of skateboard users. If skateboard users make up a large part of the group of people that shop at Central Plaza, it could be a huge mistake to prohibit skateboarding, as this could cause skateboarders to go to another mall instead, decreasing the business in Central Plaza even more.


In short, in order to determine the most probable outcome of the recommendation, other possible causes of a decrease in business should be analyzed, the cause of the increase in litter and vandalism must be studied, and the part of the group of shoppers that is also a skateboard user should be determined.