Rhetorical Strategies, Literary Devices often found in Arguments, and Logical Fallacies

Topic: Criminal Justice
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Last updated: May 11, 2019
clarifying a concept by showing similarity to a more familiar concept

a statement OPPOSED to something previously asserted

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Anticipate an Objective
addressing a possible protest before the opposition can raise it; audience centered

acknowledgement of personal flaws or flaws to a proposal; speaker centered

Reduce to the absurd
a statement to show the utter follishness of another argument

Rhtorical Question
asking a question desiring thought, not a n audible response

saying considerably less or more than a condition warrants

a short entertaining account of some happening, frequently personal or biographical

Ad homineum
“to the man;” a person’s character is attacked instead of his argument

Ad populum
“to the crowd;” a widespread occurence makes someone makes something wrong or right

Begging the Question
assuming in a premise that which needs to be proven before moving on the next idea; assumes that certain points are self-evident when they are not

Either/or Fallacy
tending to see an issue as having only two sides; also called false dilemma

Faulty Analogy
overlooking important dissimilarities between two situations

Hasty Generalization
a conclusion is reached on the basis of too little evidence

Loaded Words
unjustifiably using highly connotative diction to describe something favorably or not

Post Hoc; Ergo Propter Hoc
“after this, therefore because of this;” 1st incident causes the 2nd incident

Red Herring
a statement designed to draw attention from the central issue

a brief or indirect reference to a person, place, event, or passage in a work of literature or the Bible assumed to be sufficiently well known to be recognized by the read; e.g.

, “I am Lazarus, come from the dead.” T. S. Eliot

the repetition of introductory words or phrases for effect; a special type of parallelism. “Let freedom ring from teh snowcapped mts. of Colorado.

Let freedom ring from teh curvaceous peaks of California. [etc.]” Dr.


the repetition of a clear grammatical structure

using the urgency of the moment; the golden opportunity. “Now is the time..

.” Dr. King.

the use of logic in an argument such as facts, statistics, and examples

the use of passion in an argument to acheive a certain emotion within the audience; plays on the audience’s needs, values, and attitudes

the use of ethics in an argument; the arguer’s reliability or credibility; the trustworthiness of an argument

opposition or contrast emphasized by parallel structure. “I have a dream that one day even teh state of Mississippi, a desert state sweltering with the heat of injustice and oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice” (Dr. King).

Appeal to Authority
citatoin of information from people recognized for their special knowledge of a subject for the pupose of strengthening a speaker’s or writer’s arguments.

As my friend Mick Jagger says, “You can’t always get what you want.” (a form of ethos)

Cause and Effect
examination of the causes and/or effects of a situation or phenomenon

Classification as a Means of Ordering
arrangement of objects according to class; e.g. media classified as print, television, and radio.

Damning of faint praise
intentional use of a positive statement that has a negative implication; e.g. “Your new hairdo is so… interesting.

Deduction (Deductive Reasoning)
a form of reasoning that begins with a generalization, then applies the generalization to a specific case or cases; opposite to induction

a temporary departure from the main subject in speaking or writing

the use of a word or phrase that is less direct, but that is also less distasteful or less offensive than another; e.g. “He is at rest” is a euphemism for “he is dead.”

the occasion of the piece; e.g.

what was going on at the time that motivated the writing (culture; history)

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