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.___________