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An Exercise in Identifying Propositions


A) Instructions: Identify the propositions in the passages below by placing brackets [  ] before and after the propositions. Also identify the following logical traits of the proposition(s):

  • Subject term
  • Predicate term
  • Type of proposition: simple or compound
  • Type of discourse: declarative sentence, clause, rhetorical question, prescriptive advice
  • Type of compound proposition: conjunctive, disjunctive, or hypothetical (conditional)
  • Type of disjunctive compound proposition: weak or strong
  • Type of implication if a hypothetical proposition: logical, material, definitional, decisional, or causal implication

B) Exercises

1. He arrived in time but out of breath.

2. Clarabelle was a peasant and a seamstress.

3. Aristotle articulated the principles of logic.

4. Either Osama bin Laden is alive or he is not alive.

5. Monica Lewinsky: I’ve parlayed my youthful affair with the Prez into a lucrative tabloid career! Am I a brilliant opportunistic or what?

6. If politics is a moral pursuit of the common good, then Michael Jackson is a competent and conscientious director of a Children’s Day Care Center.

7. You can get arrested for murdering your husband with a Mercedes Benz or for failing to pay outstanding automobile parking tickets.

8. Both Cardinal Bernard Law and former U.S. President Richard “Tricky Dick” Nixon obstructed justice by concealing evidence of crimes.

9. My hybrid gas-electric car can’t reach New York City if it doesn’t stop for a battery recharge.

10. Since you don’t want others to harm you in any way, you should likewise not harm anyone in any way.

11. If tomorrow is Monday, then today is Sunday.

12. Bertrand Russell, 20th-century British philosopher: Unless God appears to me in person, I will continue to be skeptical about the existence of such a being.

13. If the Oakland Raiders lost Super Bowl XXXVII then the Tampa Bay Buccaneers won Super Bowl XXXVII.

14. Rap-music enthusiast: Eminem holds women in the highest esteem.

15. U.N. Iraqi Inspector: If there’s no biological and chemical weapons in this country then the Catholic Church doesn’t have a pedophilia problem.

16. Al Sharpton and Joe Lieberman are Democrats and presidential candidates.

17. Disgruntled critic of the American justice system: If O. J. Simpson didn’t viciously murder his ex-wife and Ron Goldman, then Jesse “the Body” Ventura is a Harvard graduate.