How to solve Odd One Out & Irrelevant Statements (Theme based Problems) !


How to solve Odd One Out & Irrelevant Statements (Theme based Problems) !                                                                                                                                                       Today we will discuss various ways to identify an Irrelevant Statement (contextually) from a given number of similar statements. We commonly call this topic as "odd one out" and can be categorized under the Para Jumble section. You have a set of 5 statements following a theme. Among them, you need to find out the statement which doesn't contribute to the common theme. 

Let us begin now!

Ways to identify an Irrelevant Statement from a given set of statements.

What are questions based on Irrelevant Statements?

In these questions, there will be given a paragraph consisting of four/five sentences. Out of these some sentences will form a coherent paragraph when arranged in a logical order. The task is to find out that sentence which is irrelevant to the theme on which the remaining four sentences form a coherent paragraph. We may also refer to this as the "out of context sentence."

How to identify such Irrelevant Statements?

Most of the students would go with the approach of identifying the common subject in the paragraph and the sentence which is devoid of this common theme will be the irrelevant statement. But wait...!!! This could prove to be a blunder. The sentence which lacks the common subject may not always be the irrelevant sentence. Let us see why. Consider the following example-


  1. The majority who voted for him were put off by the radical changes advocated by the Republican market and religious fundamentalists.
  2. The key to electoral success in today’s developed states is winning over the stabilising class who are committed to the stability and continuity of the existing social, economic and political order.
  3. The core of his much-publicized “hope” proved to be that the system can survive with the modest changes.
  4. Far from being perceived as a radical transformer, Obama won them over, and that’s why he was re-elected.

On a casual reading through the passage, one might feel that B must be the irrelevant statement. 1, 3 and 4 talk about Obama( in sentences 1 and 3 'his' refer to Obama) whereas 2 doesn’t mention Obama. But once you follow the right approach, you will find that 3 is the irrelevant sentence.

From the above example, it is clear that judging a sentence as irrelevant only on the basis of the common subject may not be a wise move. This will eventually cost you your time and may fetch you negative marks. Hence, the best method would be to try and arrange all the sentences in a logical order to form a coherent sequence. Make sure that the sentences are placed such that they are conveying the central idea of the passage rather than only identifying an irrelevant sentence on the basis of the common subject. 

Now the following questions arise:

  1. What is the central idea of a passage?
  2. How to identify the central idea of the passage?
  3. How to arrange sentences in a logical order?

Steps to solve questions based on finding out the Irrelevant Statement

Here we outline the strategy for you. 

1. Understanding the central idea

The key to ace these types of questions is successfully identifying the central idea of the passage. The idea around which the passage revolves is known as the central idea of the passage. If you can understand the paragraph, the flow of thought and its purpose, and identify the central idea, then you can easily find out the irrelevant statement.

Every passage has an "idea" which it wants to convey to its readers. Identify the flow of thought, to get a skeleton structure of the sequence of the sentences. There will always be that one sentence which will fall beyond outside this structure. Once you have chalked out the central idea of the passage, it is going to be a lot easier for you to find the irrelevant sentence.

2. Identify the opening and concluding sentences

The sentence which introduces the passage is most probably the opening sentence. Opening sentences in most of the cases are facts or generalized truth statements, and in some cases may be a judgement which is followed by a set of arguments against and for.

The sentence that congregates the flow of thought of the passage or brings the flow of thought to a logical conclusion, is most likely to be the concluding sentence. Inferences in all likelihood will be the concluding sentence as it brings the passage to a logical realization. Once you identify the opening and concluding sentences, it will help you form a paragraph with the remaining sentences which will leave you with the irrelevant sentence. But as always, exceptions are there. There may be some cases where it becomes quite difficult to find out the openings sentence or concluding sentences. In such cases, you have to depend upon the linkages and the connectors.

3. Identify the Links

Links are the logical connections between the sentences which maintain the flow of thought of the passage. Links act as logical connections between sentences. They help in identifying the structure of the paragraph.

Words like, however, in fact, indeed, moreover, for example, but etc., signify that a sentence is related to another sentence in some or the other way. Moreover, similarly, Indeed etc., indicate that the same thought is forming the basis of the other sentence whereas the words like but, however etc, signify contradictory statements. For example, signifies an example is provided. Some more words like 'thus, hence, as a result, therefore are also used to identify the links.

If the paragraph revolves around the occurrence of an event, links between sentences can be established in chronological order. A paragraph about the ‘World War’ would depict first about WW1 and then about WW2 (obviously in the sequence in which they happened).

Cause-effect relationship and logical coherence are also used to find out the links between sentences. An effect will always follow its cause or a cause will precede its effect.


5. Spot the correct sequence

After analyzing the paragraph on the basis of above-given steps, you will have a rough idea about the logical ordering of the sentences. With a little more effort you can spot the correct sequence. BINGO! The sentence which is left out is your irrelevant statement.

Now consider the example provided in the beginning. Let us now analyze it based on the steps mentioned above.

After a casual reading of the passage given at the start of this post, we can find the central idea of the passage is why Obama was re-elected. (2) is a general statement which reflects the grounds of electoral success in the current scenario. So (2) is the opening sentence of our paragraph. (4) is linked with (2). In (4), ‘them’ refers to the “stabilizing class” mentioned in (2). So it establishes a connection between (4) and (2). (1) continues the flow of the thought of the passage. So sentences (2), (4) and (1) analyse the reasons why Obama was re-elected. Sentence (3) has no relevance to the context as it talks about Obama’s much-publicized “hope”.

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