Logical Fallacies and Propaganda

An exploration of the use of logical fallacies in persuasive arguments.

Persuasive Language Techniques:

Feature Examples
Features of structure and content. Questions to focus your speaking.
  • What is the issue?
  • Where do we become aware of the speaker’s attitude to the issue?
  • Does the speaker capture our attention at the beginning? How?
  • How many points/arguments does the speaker make in support of his/her opinion?
  • Does the speaker back-up each argument with evidence? Does the evidence comprise of facts, statistics, personal opinion, anecdote, use of other authority or other means?
  • How does the speaker separate one point from the next?
  • How does the speaker conclude? (A call for action? A question to leave the audience thinking? An emotive statement, ironically?)
Language features common to persuasion.
  • Personal pronouns: I, you, us, we, ours
  • Logical Fallacies
  • Rhetorical questions: what do you think?
  • Emotional words and ideas that appeal to the feelings of the audience: we all have a right to freedom. These can have positive or negative connotations.
  • Statistics and factual data
  • Personal anecdotes to emphasise ideas and points
  • Repetition of words
  • Repetition of sentence patterns (parallel structure) eg. better health, better homes, better opportunities
  • Short simple sentences
  • Imperative sentences – sentences that start with a verb
  • Figures of speech eg. metaphor, simile, personification
  • Alliteration – repeated initial consonants eg big, bad, and bold
  • Hyperbole – exaggerated statements eg a thousand time worse
  • Allusions – references to well know events, films, TV programmes that the audience can relate to

Linguistic Techniques of Propaganda

Posted by Christopher Waugh

“Risk! Risk anything! Care no more for the opinions of others, for those voices. Do the hardest thing on earth for you. Act for yourself. Face the truth.” (Katherine Mansfield)

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