We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.

Advertiser Disclosure

Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.

How We Make Money

We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently from our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What Is a Fallacy?

Daniel Liden
Updated May 23, 2024
Our promise to you
Language & Humanities is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At Language & Humanities, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

A fallacy is an error in logic or reasoning that leads to an argument supported by illogical or misleading premises. In some cases, particularly in advertising and in informal arguments, fallacies are intentionally used in order to sway the opinions of others. Close analysis of an argument that relies on a fallacy, however, always reveals that the conclusion of the argument cannot be drawn from the premises. Fallacies come in the form of sweeping generalizations, appeals to emotion or authority, assumptions of causality, and a variety of other statements based outside of logic. While some fallacies are made intentionally, it is easy to make accidental logical errors, so it is important to analyze one's own arguments at least as rigorously as one examines the arguments of others.

There are many different types of fallacies that are classified based on the types of logical errors that they involve. Some types involve generalizations — one commits a logical fallacy by drawing a specific conclusion from an untrue generalization or by inferring a general rule from one specific case. Another type of fallacy involves setting up a false choice by stating that there are only a small number of possible solutions to a given issue when there are, in fact, many more. Many other forms of fallacy also exist, almost all of which involve reaching a conclusion based on illogical premises or taking a conclusion for granted without reason to do so.

A verbal fallacy is a type of fallacious statement that is based on misuse of words. Such fallacies are often based on ambiguous words and phrases. Using an ambiguous word in two different ways in the same argument, for instance, is known as "equivocation" and is a common verbal fallacy. Other verbal fallacies simply involve using a great many words and phrases to make an argument that sounds good but is difficult to unravel.

Some logical fallacies appear logically correct and are effective simply because they are difficult to distinguish from logical arguments without rigorous examination. Others appeal to one's emotions and biases or to some authority figure. One may choose not to argue a point that is based on the word of a famous professor, for example, simply because by protesting the point, one is also opposing a well-respected figure. This fallacy and others that rely on emotion and coercion do not necessarily appear logical, but they appeal to a person's emotions or sense of ethics regardless of logical considerations.

Language & Humanities is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Daniel Liden
By Daniel Liden , Former Writer
Daniel Liden, a talented writer with a passion for cutting-edge topics and data analysis, brings a unique perspective to his work. With a diverse academic background, he crafts compelling content on complex subjects, showcasing his ability to effectively communicate intricate ideas. He is skilled at understanding and connecting with target audiences, making him a valuable contributor.

Discussion Comments

By MrsWinslow — On Sep 18, 2011

@Kat919 - Oh, those make me so mad! So many articles just don't make it clear that one thing doesn't necessarily cause another just because you find them together.

Another post hoc fallacy example is a recent study showing that kids who spent a lot of time on Facebook and other social media are more likely to drink and engaged in other risky behaviors. The reporting made it sound like Facebook *causes* drinking.

How about this: kids with a lot of friends, or who are very concerned with their public image, are more likely to drink, and also more likely to go on Facebook?

Obviously, the study doesn't show that Facebook use *doesn't* cause drinking. But it's important to remember the correlation is not causation.

By Kat919 — On Sep 17, 2011

The press loves to the post hoc fallacy. In full, it's "post hoc, ergo propter hoc," which in Latin means "After this, therefore because of this."

The idea with the post hoc fallacy is that we tend to look at something that comes after something else and think that the first thing *caused* it. There are a lot of stories about correlations, and the press reports it as if correlation and causation are the same.

For instance, you see studies that kids who spend time in day care are more aggressive, have more behavior problems, etc. Well, it doesn't prove that day care *caused* those behavior problems. Could be that Mom went back to work because the kid was a handful! Prime example of the post hoc fallacy.

Daniel Liden

Daniel Liden

Former Writer

Daniel Liden, a talented writer with a passion for cutting-edge topics and data analysis, brings a unique perspective to...
Learn more
Language & Humanities, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

Language & Humanities, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.