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ad hominem

any argument that criticizes an idea by pointing something out about the person who holds the idea, rather than directly addressing the actual merit of the idea

argument from (false) authority

tempts reader to agree with writer's assumptions based on the authority of a famous person or entity or on his or her own character when the writer is well-known

appeal to ignorance

argument is based on the assumption that whatever has not been proven false must be true / whatever has not been proven true must be false

begging the question

argument in which someone assumes that parts or all of what the person claims to be proving are proven facts

hasty generalization

when a writer deliberately leads you to a conclusion by providing insufficient, selective evidence

non sequitur

a statement that does not relate logically to what comes before it

false dichotomy

an argument that consists of a consideration of only the two extremes when there are one or more intermediate possibilities

slippery slope

the argument suggests dire consequences from relatively minor causes

faulty causality

the setting up of a cause-and-effect relationship when none exists; in this argument, one event can happen after another without the first necessarily being the direct cause of the second

straw man argument

an argument that oversimplifies an opponent's argument to make it easier to attack

sentimental appeals

an argument that attempts to appeal to the hearts / emotions of readers, so that they forget to use their brains

red herring

an argument that attempts to shift attention away from an important issue by introducing an issue that has no logical connection to the discussion at hand

scare tactics

an argument used to frighten the audience into agreeing with the speaker; often used when the speaker has no logical argument on which to fall back

bandwagon appeals

peer pressure; encourages the listener to agree with a position because everyone else does


an argument where the speaker presumes that his or her beliefs are beyond question; I'm correct because I'm correct


telling part of the truth, while deliberately hiding the entire truth; lying by omission

faulty analogy

an illogical, misleading comparison between two things

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