Fallacies Worksheet

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Rhetorical Strategies and Fallacies Worksheet

The following are some common rhetorical strategies:

  • Innuendo: a leading suggestion
  • Stereotype: generalized statements relating to a group of people
  • Loaded questions: questions based on unjustified assumptions
  • Hyperbole:an extreme exaggeration

Identify the rhetorical strategy in each of the following statements.

1.     I did not say the meat was tough. I said I did not see the horse that is usually outside (W. C. Fields).  _________________

2.     Have you stopped beating your wife? _____________

3.     The Maserati is the best car in the world! _________________

4.     All men love football; all women love the ballet. ______________                       

The following are some common rhetorical fallacies:

  • Slippery slope: If A happens, then B–Z will follow. Therefore, to prevent B–Z from happening, do not allow A to occur.
  • Hasty generalization: rushing to form a conclusion based on assumptions; not based on clear evidence
  • Post hoc ergo propter hoc: If A occurs after B, then B caused A.
  • Either/or: looking at a situation from only two sides, or oversimplifying the situation
  • Ad hominem: attacking the person rather than attacking the argument
  • Red herring or smoke screen: introducing an unrelated topic as a diversionary tactic

Identify the rhetorical fallacy in each of the following statements.

1.     We can either stop using plastic, or destroy the Earth  ______________

2.     I ate tuna for lunch and now I do not feel well, so the tuna made me ill. ___________

3.     If you enjoy a social drink, it could lead to you becoming an alcoholic, so you probably should never drink. __________

4.     Even though this is the first week of class, I can tell this is going to be a very easy course. ______________

5.     We know that smoking can affect your health, but how else will tobacco farmers earn a living? ______________

6.     As the candidate for mayor, he has some good ideas, but we know that all politicians are dishonest.___________

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