Test your basic knowledge |

SAT Essay Logical Fallacies

Subjects : sat, english, writing-skills
  • Answer 50 questions in 15 minutes.
  • If you are not ready to take this test, you can study here.
  • Match each statement with the correct term.
  • Don't refresh. All questions and answers are randomly picked and ordered every time you load a test.

This is a study tool. The 3 wrong answers for each question are randomly chosen from answers to other questions. So, you might find at times the answers obvious, but you will see it re-enforces your understanding as you take the test each time.
1. Analogy or comparison that is not logically consistent

2. False transitive property - you assume that just because two things share a characteristic - all of their characteristics are shared: - 'penguins are black and white - old tv shows are black and white - therefore penguins are old tv shows'

3. 'it does not follow' drawing a conclusion or making a transition that is not a logical result of the facts

4. 'After this therefore because of this' implying that because on event follows another - the first caused the second

5. How large is the sample size? How representative is the sample?

6. 'To the people' appeal to the prejudices of the audience - or claiming that (or a majority) supports your opinion

7. Generalization: drawing conclusions based on insufficient or unrepresentative evidence

8. When a writer uses the same term in two different senses in an argument. i.e. People choose what laws they obey. The Law of Gravity is a law. I choose to disobey the law of gravity.

9. Prejudging an individual based on ideas one has about the group the individual belongs to

10. Have all reasonable alternatives been considered/eliminated? Does this author attack the other views in a fair way?

11. Reasoning by Debate: In an argument - this is an attack on the person rather than on the opponent's ideas. It comes from the Latin meaning 'against the man.'

12. Any diversion intended to distract attention from the main issue

13. Everybody knows fallacy. Asserts that some idea is common knowledge - so it must be true.

14. Cause and Effect: claim than an event with more than one cause has only one cause

15. Generalization: Assumes that members of a group must have a characteristic because one or more of its members has that characteristic.

16. Is there a reasonable connection between the cause and the effect? Is that connection explained? Are there other possible causes that have not been considered?

17. Obscuring or denying the complexity of an issue

18. Cause and Effect: A fallacy that assumes that because two variables are correlated (happen at the same time) that one must have caused the other

19. The use by a speaker of coded language that appears to mean one thing to the general population but has a different (and negative) meaning for a targeted subgroup of the audience.

20. Citing an expert on one subject as expert on another

21. Information gained from personal experience representing a general pattern

22. Information that is an interpretation of numerical data

23. Cause and Effect: Assuming that an incident that precedes another is the cause of the second incident

24. Concealing the author's true intent - belief - or attitude towards an issue

25. 'To the authority' appeal based on the authority of a source

26. Common knowledge or beliefs readers accept as true

27. Writer encourages readers to accept a conclusion without any support

28. Cause and Effect: 'What if' fallacy. Argues that everything would be different if one variable was different. Example: 'If the Nazis had won WWII - we'd all be speaking German!'

29. Reasoning by Debate: A fallacy that forces listeners to choose between two alternatives when more than two alternatives exist

30. Appeal to the reader's emotions

31. Reasoning by Proof: absence of evidence is not evidence; he didn't say that... so it must be false

32. A fallacy that assumes that taking a first step will lead to subsequent steps that cannot be prevented

33. Generalization: an argument that ignores all unfavorable evidence

34. Information that can be objectively proven as true

35. Appeal to the the pity - sympathy or 'misery' of the audience

36. Introducing an irrelevant point to divert readers' attention from the main issue being discussed

37. Claiming that one step in the wrong direction will lead to another - potentially disastrous consequence

38. Appeal to reason

39. Statements that are intentionally vague so that the audience may supply its own interpretations

40. Reasoning by Debate: When a writer argues against a claim that nobody actually holds or is universally considered weak. Setting up a straw man diverts attention from the real issues.

41. Drawing conclusions based on insufficient or unrepresentative evidence; using all instances when only some apply

42. Reasoning by Proof: an argument that because someone worked hard at something - their conclusions must be right

43. Trying to prove one idea with another idea that is too similar to the first idea

44. Information based on personal interpretation of facts

45. Reasoning in which a conclusion is reached by stating a general principle and then applying that principle to a specific case

46. Logical reasoning that establishes specific facts or contentions leading to a general conclusion

47. Condemning an argument because of where it began - how it began - or who began it

48. Stating the only two interpretations of actions are alternatives - ignoring any compromise or moderate course

49. Appeal based on the credibility of the author

50. Reasoning by Proof: A fallacy in which a speaker or writer seeks to persuade not by giving evidence but by appealing to the respect people have for a person or institution.