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I'm reading a book on critical thinking. This is where I'm stuck:

So far, then, we have seen that when you argue a case, you:

  • frame or reframe your title as a question that you may need to refine;
  • make claims the most significant of which is your conclusion;
  • present these claims as reasons from which you infer the conclusion;
  • take care not to infer more than the reasons imply;
  • and thus ensure that your reasons support the conclusion that you draw.

screenshot of text above

It says in the second point "make claims the most significant of which is your conclusion;" I'm unable to interpret what the sentence is trying to convey. Can this be rephrased in a simpler way?

Furthermore, is there any reason why each bullet point ends with a semi-colon?

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  • You have to make claims. The most significant of (which means) these claims is your conclusion. It is usual, although not necessary, to end bullet points with a semi-colon. Sometimes, no punctuation is used here. If you google bullet points, you will find numerous guides to their usage. May 9, 2022 at 18:04
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    So it can be rephrased as "make claims among which the most significant is your conclusion"?
    – Essam
    May 9, 2022 at 18:07
  • @Essam On this site, there is a rule against asking two questions in one. I guessed that "is there any reason why each bullet point ends with a semi-colon?" was the less important question, so I've removed it to this comment. If you'd like to know about formatting of bullet points, please search the site first. There are many. If you don't find a satisfying answer, then please feel free to ask that as a separate question
    – gotube
    May 10, 2022 at 0:48
  • @gotube I bolded the terms to replicate as closely as possible the image that was posted of the original source. I don't think you should remove parts of the question addressed in the accepted answer. Comments are supposed to be temporary.
    – ColleenV
    May 11, 2022 at 13:46
  • @ColleenV I'm not getting into an edit war, but those highlights serve the original intent of that exercise, which is likely about vocabulary. The question is about none of those things, so they're unhelpful to people trying to answer the question. It's standard practice here to alter the original with formatting to emphasize the point in question
    – gotube
    May 11, 2022 at 23:49

1 Answer 1

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The noun "claims" is modified by the relative clause "the most significant of which is your conclusion". The clause includes a subject ("the most significant of which"), a simple predicate ("is"), and a predicate nominative ("your conclusion"). The relative pronoun "which" refers to "claims". Therefore, the relative clause means "the most significant of [the] claims is your conclusion".

The author has chosen to use semicolons to separate the items in the series. That is acceptable although a bit unusual. (We usually use semicolons only when commas might cause confusion about where the items are being divided.)

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  • Back in the day, I learned that a "predicate" is the entire verbal phrase in a clause, which in this case would include the predicate nominative. Are you using the term "predicate" in a different sense?
    – gotube
    May 10, 2022 at 0:52
  • @gotube I agree with that. I’m using “simple predicate” to mean the word that heads the predicate. I’ve been on this site for five months and am still not entirely sure if another term is preferred here. May 10, 2022 at 4:37
  • I'd never heard that term. Seems you're right :)
    – gotube
    May 11, 2022 at 5:29

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