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Aristotle's Appeals, Fallacies, and Literary Terms.

ad hominem

an attack on the person rather than the issues at hand (a common fallacy)


the repetition of a phonetic sound at the beginning of several words in a sentence


a reference that recalls another work, another time in history, another famous person, and so forth


a term that signifies a relational comparison of or similarity between two objects or ideas


a brief statement of an opinion or elemental truth


prayer-like, this is a direct address to someone who is not present, to a deity or muse, or to some other power

argument from ignorance

an argument stating that something is true because it has never been proven false


also called vox populi, this argument is the "everyone's doing it" fallacy

begging the question

this argument occurs when the speaker states a claim that includes a word or phrase that needs to be defined before the argument can proceed

cause and effect

another fallacy, this is also known as post hoc ergo propter hoc (Latin for "after this, therefore because of this"), and it falls under the general umbrella of a causality fallacy or false cause


the associations or moods that accompany a word


a form of logical argumentation that uses claims or premises, where the author assumes that you will accept the claims as true and that you will then deduce the correct conclusion from the accepted premises at the outset


the opposite of connotation; quite literally the dictionary meaning of a word


one of the fundamental strategies of argumentation identified by Aristotle; basically an appeal to credibility


to use a safer or nicer word for something others find inappropriate or unappealing

false analogy

an argument using an inappropriate metaphor

false dilemma

also known as an either/or fallacy; the suggestion is made in the argument that the problem or debate only has two solutions; can also be called the fallacy of the excluded middle


an exaggeration, fairly common in nonfiction prose arguments, that bolsters an argument


any time one of the five senses (visual, auditory, tactile, olfactory, gustatory) is evoked by what you have read, you have encountered this


a form of logical argumentation that requires the use of examples


the use of words to express something other than and often the opposite of the literal meaning


making one idea more dramatic by placing it next to its opposite


an appeal to reason; one of the fundamental strategies of argumentation identified by Aristotle


a wonderful form of word play in which one word is mistakenly substituted for another that sounds similar


a figure of speech in which what is unknown is compared to something that is known in order to better gauge its importance


a minor figure of speech in which the name of one thing is substituted for another with which it is closely associated

non sequitur

this literally means "it does not follow"; this is an argument by misdirection and is logically irrelevant


a minor figure of speech in which a sound imitates the thing or action associated with it


two words that together create a sense of opposition


a major figure of speech in rhetorical analysis that seeks to create a mental discontinuity, which then forces the reader to pause and seek clarity

parallel syntax (or parallelism)

a pattern of speech or language that creates a rhythm of repetition often combined with some other language of repetition

passive voice

the opposite of active voice; in this voice, something happens to someone


giving human attributes to non-human things

poisoning the well

a person or character is introduced with language that suggests that he is not at all reliable before the listener/reader knows anything about him

red herring

an argument that distracts the reader by raising issues irrelevant to the case


a crucial figure of speech in an argument when what is unknown is compared to something that is known using the word "like," or "as," or "than" in order to better perceive its importance

slippery slope (also called domino theory)

this fallacy of argumentation argues that one thing inevitably leads to another

straw man

this occurs when a person engaging in an argument defines his opponent's position when the opponent is not present and defines it in a manner that is easy to attack


in its basic form, this is a three-part argument construction in which two premises lead to a truth


a minor figure of speech in which a part is used for the whole


this creates exaggeration by showing restraint; it is the opposite of hyperbole

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