Syllogism is a ‘Greek’ word that means inference or deduction. As such inferences are based on logic, then these inferences are called logical deduction.

In questions of Syllogism, we are given some premises. Using these premises as our base, we logically deduce our conclusions.

Both premises and conclusions are declarative sentence statements (affirmative or negative).

Let us understand these statements first of all.


A statement (premises and even conclusions) is a grammatical sentence comprising of four components:

  • Subject - focus of the sentence, i.e. item/person/place/object about which the sentence is giving information.
  • Predicate - details about that subject.
  • Copula - denotes the relation between subject and predicate.
  • Quantifier - words such as ‘All’, ‘No’ and ‘Some’.

For example:

All balls are bats.

balls - subject; bats - object; are - copula; all - quantifier

In syllogism we are only interested in checking logical deductions of a student based on whatever premises have been given to him, no matter how ridiculous they sound in real world.

The most important part of any premise or conclusion is the quantifier. In fact, we can safely say that if you understand quantifiers then you understand syllogism. So, let’s dive a bit deeper into these!


Quantifier - words ‘All’, ‘No’ and ‘Some’

Universal quantifiers

‘All’ and ‘No’ are universal quantifiers because they refer to each and every object of a certain set.

All men - means all the men No men - means none of the man.

For example, if in a class of 40 students a teacher says that:
All students are intelligent. - It means all 40 are intelligent.
No student is intelligent. - It means 0 student is intelligent.

Understanding ‘All’ and ‘No’ is easy. But most students falter in understanding ‘Some’.

Particular quantifiers

‘Some’ is a particular quantifier as it refers to atleast one existing object in a certain set.

Some men - means 1 to All men. (it is opposite to ‘No’, which means 0 men)

Some students are intelligent. - It means 1 to 40 students can be intelligent. That is, all cases are possible except the case where no student is intelligent.

Whenever you see ‘Some’, just read ‘atleast one’.

Though it sounds odd common sense wise, but ‘All’ is also included whenever we say ‘Some’, as far as logical deduction goes.
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