AP Vocab List #6 Rhetorical Fallacies


Arguments that are flawed by their nature or structure

Scare Tactics

Scaring people from logical concerns to emotional fears.


Reducing options to two choices

Slippery Slope

Today's tiny misstep will lead to tomorrow's disaster (exaggeration)

Sentimental appeals

Using tender emotions extensively to distract readers from facts

Bandwagon appeals

Urging people to follow the same path that everyone else is taking

Appeals to false authority

Supporting an idea by drawing on the authority of widely respected people, institution, and texts


Attempting to persuade by asserting or assuming that a particular position is the only one conceivably acceptable within a community

Moral equivalence

Suggesting that serious wrong-doings don't differ in kind from minor offenses

Ad Hominem Arguments

To the man" attacking directed at the character of a person rather than at the claims he or she makes

Hasty generalization

Inference drawn from insufficient evidence

Faulty casualty

assuming that because one event or actions follows another, the first necessarily causes
the second.

Begging the question

making a claim on the grounds that it cannot be accepted as true because those
grounds are in doubt. Also referred to as Circular Reasoning.


arguing that gives a lie an honest appearance; it's a half-truth

Non sequitur

an argument where claims, reasons, or warrants fail to connect logically; one point doesn't follow from another.

The straw man

attacking an argument that isn't really there, one that's much weaker or more extreme than the one the opponent is actually making (setting up a straw man)

Faulty analogy

when comparisons are pushed too far or taken too seriously