What Are Weasel Words? | Examples & Definition

Weasel words are expressions that create ambiguity, allowing the speaker to avoid making firm commitments or statements. These words often make claims sound impressive while remaining vague and non-committal.

Weasel words examples
This cream helps reduce the appearance of wrinkles.

Studies suggest that taking Vitamin C supplements could lead to less severe illness.

Many people say the economy has improved since I took office.

Weasel words are especially common in persuasive contexts like marketing, advertising, and politics. They are best avoided, though, if you want to establish credibility with your audience.

QuillBot’s Paraphrasing Tool can help you choose the appropriate vocabulary for your writing.

Continue reading: What Are Weasel Words? | Examples & Definition

Denying the Antecedent | Examples & Definition

Denying the antecedent is the error of assuming that if the initial condition (P) is not met, the expected result (Q) won’t occur either.

This logical fallacy is expressed as follows:

  • If P, then Q.
  • Not P.
  • Therefore, not Q.
Denying the antecedent fallacy example
  • If it is snowing, then it is cold outside.
  • It is not snowing.
  • Therefore, it is not cold outside.

The logical fallacy of denying the antecedent is typically found in domains that involve formal logical reasoning, such as math, science, and law.

Continue reading: Denying the Antecedent | Examples & Definition

Affirming the Consequent | Examples & Definition

Affirming the consequent is the logical fallacy of assuming a particular cause must be true just because its expected outcome is true.

The formula for affirming the consequent is as follows:

  • If P, then Q.
  • Q.
  • Therefore, P.
Affirming the consequent fallacy example
  • If I am sick, then I will feel fatigued.
  • I feel fatigued.
  • Therefore, I am sick.

The fallacy of affirming the consequent is typically found in contexts such as formal logic, law, and mathematics.

Continue reading: Affirming the Consequent | Examples & Definition

What Is a Red Herring Fallacy? | Examples & Definition

The red herring fallacy is a form of argumentation that relies on distraction. Red herring arguments present irrelevant information that diverts attention from the main topic of discussion.

Although red herring fallacies may result from faulty reasoning, they are often used purposely, with the intent of confusing or distracting the audience.

Red herring fallacy example
In a pre-election press conference, a political candidate is questioned about allegations of financial impropriety. She responds by shifting the focus to her opponent’s harmful policies.

In this example, the candidate being questioned commits a red herring fallacy. Even if the accusations against her opponent are true, they’re irrelevant to the allegations against her. The accusations against the opposing party are likely to provoke anger and effectively change the topic of conversation so that many listeners will forget the original topic.

Continue reading: What Is a Red Herring Fallacy? | Examples & Definition

Appeal to Authority Fallacy | Examples & Definition

The appeal to authority fallacy occurs when conclusions are deemed true solely because of expert endorsements, regardless of the experts’ actual knowledge of the subject. Citing authorities can lend a perception of credibility to an argument even in the absence of clear reasoning or evidence.

Appeal to authority fallacy example
“Dr. Johnson, a practicing psychiatrist, believes that anxiety can be eliminated through a specific diet. Questioning a diet developed by a doctor would be ridiculous.”

Appeals to authority are often made in the context of academic subjects, health decisions, political choices, and product advertisements.

Continue reading: Appeal to Authority Fallacy | Examples & Definition

Begging the Question Fallacy | Examples & Definition

Begging the question is a fallacy of circular reasoning in which at least one premise assumes the truth of the argument’s conclusion. This informal logical fallacy renders an argument unsound.

Begging the question is often a result of faulty reasoning rather than an attempt at manipulation.

Begging the question fallacy example
“The government must be conducting secret time travel research. The advanced technology they possess could only have come from the future.”

In this example, the premise (the advanced technology must have come from the future) assumes the truth of what the argument sets out to prove (that the government is conducting time travel research). Both the premise and the conclusion assume the debatable idea that time travel is possible.

Continue reading: Begging the Question Fallacy | Examples & Definition

What Is Ad Hominem Fallacy? | Examples & Definition

The ad hominem fallacy is the error of unfairly criticizing a person to distract from the argument at hand. In addition to being the name of a logical fallacy, the term “ad hominem,” Latin for “against the person,” can also be used to describe a general insult.

Personal criticism doesn’t always constitute a logical fallacy. An ad hominem is fallacious if the criticism leveled against an individual is irrelevant and serves only to distract from the main topic.

Ad hominem fallacy example
Speaker 1: I’m against the war because it will have disastrous humanitarian consequences.

Speaker 2: You’re just virtue signaling. If you care so much about humanity, why haven’t you ever mentioned the Rohingya refugee crisis?

As an informal fallacy, an ad hominem fallacy makes an argument unsound. Ad hominem attacks are often used deliberately to manipulate, sidetrack, and provoke. An ad hominem may also be used without manipulative intent, resulting from an emotional outburst or faulty reasoning.

Tip
The QuillBot Paraphrasing Tool can help you enhance the clarity and originality of your writing.

Continue reading: What Is Ad Hominem Fallacy? | Examples & Definition

Circular Reasoning Fallacy | Definition & Examples

Circular reasoning is an informal logical fallacy that assumes the truth of a conclusion without providing independent evidence or valid reasoning.

Circular reasoning fallacy example
Politician: Everyone in our party should vote for the incumbent candidate because he’s the only one who stands a chance to win.

Journalist: Why should voters who disagree with his foreign policy support him?

Politician: Voters must support the party’s candidate based on electability.

In everyday discourse, circular statements aren’t inherently fallacious. They are commonly used to emphasize ideas or convey cultural norms (e.g., “Justice is important because we all deserve equal rights”). Circular statements can also be used to define or clarify concepts (e.g., “This shape is a rectangle because it has four 90-degree angles”).

Circular reasoning is fallacious specifically when used in argumentation. Fallacies of circular reasoning are often used either as a result of cognitive biases or as a rhetorical tactic to mask a lack of evidence.

Continue reading: Circular Reasoning Fallacy | Definition & Examples

What Is Straw Man Fallacy? | Examples & Definition

The straw man fallacy is the error of misrepresenting an opposing argument to make it easier to refute. The straw man version of the argument typically bears some resemblance to the opponent’s actual position, but it is oversimplified or distorted in a way that makes it sound somewhat ridiculous, impractical, or unethical.

Straw man fallacies can be committed unintentionally, but they are often used deliberately to create a false sense of victory or to malign an opponent.

Straw man fallacy example
At a school board meeting discussing the use of tablets in classrooms, a parent argues that the proposal suggests that children don’t need to learn to write by hand anymore. This misrepresents the plan, which is to use tablets alongside traditional writing.

Straw man arguments can be found in controversial discussions on a wide range of topics, in contexts ranging from formal political debates to social media arguments.

Continue reading: What Is Straw Man Fallacy? | Examples & Definition

What Is Slippery Slope Fallacy? | Examples & Definition

The slippery slope fallacy is the error of unjustifiably claiming that a decision will yield an extreme result. As an informal fallacy, the slippery slope fallacy renders an argument unsound.

Slippery slope fallacies can result from poor reasoning but are sometimes used deliberately as a persuasive tactic.

Slippery slope fallacy example
A critic of remote work suggests that if businesses continue allowing employees to work from home, commercial real estate will experience catastrophic devaluation, making a recession inevitable.

Continue reading: What Is Slippery Slope Fallacy? | Examples & Definition