Each of the passages below contains one of the major fallacies we have discussed so far:



Loaded question

Asking a question with a false or debatable presupposition.

Question-begging language

Using descriptions that build in a conclusion without offering evidence for it.


Using an ambiguous word, phrase or sentence to confuse or mislead.


Changing the meaning of a sentence that is unambiguous in the context by omitting or stressing words in it.


Arguing that what is true of the parts must be true of the whole, or using a word distributively in the premises and collectively in the conclusion.


Arguing that what is true of the whole must be true of the parts, or using a word collectively in the premises and distributively in the conclusion.


Dismissing rather than arguing against a legitimate point of view.

Shifting the burden of proof/appeal to ignorance

Instead of providing evidence for your point of view, you demand that others prove you wrong, or point to the lack of any evidence as if it were evidence.

Appeal to hate

Using irrelevant feelings of hate rather than evidence to discredit a point of view.

Appeal to fear

Using irrelevant feelings of fear rather than evidence to discredit a point of view.

Appeal to pity

Using irrelevant feelings of sympathy rather than evidence to discredit a point of view.

Appeal to the crowd

Using irrelevant feelings of identity rather than evidence to discredit a point of view.

Ignoring the issue

Giving evidence, but for a claim different from the question at hand.

Bad appeal to authority

Citing an “expert” where the person is: not well identified; not truly an expert; speaking outside his/her field of expertise; not current; not quoted accurately; biased of other not credible; not basing the opinion on open evidence; or using theories and practices not standard in field.

Hasty generalization

Generalizing on a sample that is either biased or too small.


Applying a generalization rule to an atypical case.

False analogy

Overlooking a major relevant difference between the things compared.

False cause

Making a causal claim merely upon the evidence of a temporal or statistical linkage.

For each, identify the explanation and correct label.