There are three different approaches to identify premises and conclusions, each of which works decently well.
The first method
is to ask yourself, “What does the author really want me to believe?” I know he’s saying all this stuff to me. But, if I told him to shut up and get to the point, then, what would he say? What is it that he really cares about? What is it that he really wants to persuade me of? The answer to all those questions should be the same, i.e., it should be the conclusion. Now, of course, this method relies on your intuitions. You have to intuitively know what’s being supported, what’s giving support and generally understand what the passage is saying.
The second method
involves trial and error. Take the sentence that you think may be the conclusion (or at random) and ask yourself, “Why should I believe it?” What reasons has the passage provided to accept the supposed conclusion? Try to answer that question by referring to the other sentences in the passage. If those sentences give you a satisfactory answer to why you should believe what the conclusion sentence says, then you may have found the conclusion. Or, you could also be just very easily satisfied.
The third method
is to utilize your understanding of conclusion or premise indicators. These are words whose role in the English language is to indicate support structure. Even if the above two methods work well for you, you should still familiarize yourself with these words. Below, you will find flashcards that will help you memorize these words. The objective is to memorize whether the words on the flash card introduces premises or conclusions. For example, the phrase “thus” introduces conclusions. So, on the front side of the flashcard, you’ll see “thus” and on the backside, you’ll see “thus c” where “c” stands for conclusion. This means that conclusions follow “thus.” The phrase “owing to” introduces premises. So, on the backside, you’ll see “owing to p” where “p” stands for premise. This means that premises follow “owing to.”
There are three methods to identify premises and conclusions. Become familiar with and use them all – especially the third method.