Most Popular Fallacies: List and Examples

A fallacy is defined as an incorrect belief based on faulty logic. A fallacy can invalidate an argument. Most popular fallacies can be harmful if they go unchecked.

Looking around, there are several examples of the most popular fallacies. A fallacy exists when there is no logical or factual evidence to back it up. Grasp these is essential for ensuring that discussions and debates are conducted logically and to improve our understanding of a topic.

Understanding how fallacies work and how to spot them in a discussion can be a useful skill for almost anyone: it can lead to personal empowerment by assisting you in forming better, more persuasive arguments, as well as defending yourself from people who wish to influence your thinking in ways that may be detrimental to your best interests.

What’s a Logical Fallacy?

A logical fallacy is defined as an “incorrect argument in logic and rhetoric that undermines the logical validity or, more broadly, the logical soundness of an argument.” They can prevent you from making clear and correct judgments, whether in the boardroom or in your head.

Logical fallacies are typical thinking errors that result in faulty arguments. The most famous fallacies are numerous, and each has its name. When disputing or arguing with someone, one must avoid making the most popular fallacies.

Another logical fallacy is affirming the consequent, which involves claiming that if one thing happens after another, it must be caused by the previous occurrence. For example, if my car runs out of gas and stops running, it must be because I didn’t put enough gas in it before driving away from the gas station where I bought my fuel earlier today (I’m still puzzled as to why this happened). Another good example would be to state, “I know there isn’t any global warming since everyone says so.” Maybe not everyone.

There are two kinds of logical fallacies: formal and informal.

Formal Fallacies

A formal logical fallacy arises when there is a fault in an argument’s logical structure, rendering the argument incorrect and, consequently unsound. A formal fallacy, for example, might occur when the conclusion of an argument is not founded on its premises.

For example, consider the following formal fallacy:

Premise 1: The sky will be overcast if it is raining.

Premise 2: The sky is overcast.

Conclusion: it is raining.

Although both premises in this example are correct, the argument is flawed due to a fault in its logical structure.

Premise 1 states that if it is raining, the sky will be cloudy, but this does not imply that if the sky is cloudy (which we know it is, based on premise 2), it is necessarily raining. That is, the sky can be overcast without rain, which is why we can’t reach the conclusion described in the argument, and so this argument is invalid, although its premises are accurate.

Informal Fallacies

An informal logical fallacy arises when a weakness in an argument’s premises renders the argument unsound, even though it is still valid. An informal fallacy, for example, might develop when the premises of an argument are untrue or unconnected to the topic at issue.

Here’s an example of an informal fallacy:

Premise 1: According to the weatherman, it will rain next week.

Premise 2: The weatherman is always correct.

Conclusion: It will rain next week.

The logical framework of the argument is correct here. Specifically, because premise 1 states that the weatherman predicted rain next week and premise 2 states that the weatherman is always correct, we may logically deduce that it will rain next week based on what we know (i.e. on these premises).

In general, a sound argument has a proper logical framework and true premises. A formal logical fallacy indicates that the argument is flawed because of a weakness in its logical structure, which also implies that it is unsound. An informal logical fallacy occurs when an argument is unsound because of a fault in its premises while having a correct logical structure.

Hence, there are two major distinctions between formal and informal logical fallacies. To begin with, formal fallacies have a defect in their logical structure, whereas informal fallacies have a flaw in their premises. Second, formal fallacies are erroneous patterns of reasoning, whereas informal fallacies are flawed but legitimate patterns of reasoning.

Types of the Most Popular Fallacies

Arguments are an essential aspect of everyday life. However, not every argument is flawless. Some can be dissected due to flaws in the argument. This blog post will go through some of the most popular fallacies. Learn about them. Here is a collection of the most famous fallacies to help you.

People utilize these numerous forms of fallacies in their daily lives, which impedes good debate and the development of solutions. Fallacies are a result of the collective unconscious that, if allowed to persist, may be ineffective and even deadly. Let’s look at some of the most popular fallacies and examples.

Loaded Question Fallacy

The Loaded Question fallacy is an informal fallacy. This fallacy happens when a person asks a question with the desired conclusion that contradicts the perspective of the person answering the question.


“Are you still beating your wife?” is an example of a Loaded Question. Whether the person says yes or no, they are labeled as a wife molester, whether they are or are not. This is also a common method employed by attorneys when leading a witness by asking questions to steer the witness to particular conclusions that the lawyer is attempting to achieve.

Avoiding the Loaded Question Fallacy

This should be easy to prevent because it is generally done on purpose.

Begging the Question

Begging the question is an informal fallacy. This occurs when the premise (or premises) is re-stated or reaffirmed as the conclusion (without any further explanation or information). The issue with this fallacy is that it never advances the argument beyond the premise. In a conclusion, the premises are simply restated. Alternatively, the conclusion is inserted into the premises and then reasserted as the conclusion.

An argument’s premise and conclusion must be distinct in content and meaning. And the conclusion must be distinct in content and significance from the premise(s) but linked by logical consistency.


“John always tells the truth,” Mary comments. “How do you know?” Bob inquires. “Because John says that he always tells the truth,” Mary answers. Of course, John’s honesty is in doubt, and speaking on his behalf raises the issue. This fallacy is circular since the conclusion is just restating the premise.

How to avoid Begging the Question:

Ensuring that the conclusion does not simply restate the premise or one of the premises. This includes thinking about and comparing the premise and conclusion..

Appeal to Authority (ad verecundiam)

Appeal to authority is an informal fallacy. In an argument, appealing to an authority does not make the argument valid. Depending on the content of the matter at the claim, an appeal to authority might be correct or erroneous.

On opposing sides of court matters, there are specialists (authorities). They can both be true in particular domains, or one can be more correct than the other within the same domain. Being an expert on a subject does not imply that everything the expert says is right.


“The world is flat,” says Mary. “How do you know that?” Bob asks. “Because my geology instructor told me,” Mary says. It’s unlikely that a geology instructor would teach this, but it demonstrates the fallacy.

How to avoid the Appeal to Authority fallacy:

Do not refer to any authority to support the credibility of your claim.

Post Hoc “post hoc ergo propter hoc” 

The Post Hoc fallacy is an informal fallacy. This fallacy happens when someone asserts causation based on the sequence of events. It is erroneous logic to assert that because B usually occurs after A, then A must cause B. The sequence of events does not always imply causality.

Actual causality would be left unexplained if merely a sequence or order of occurrences was considered. For causality claims to be made, the sequence of events must be understood.


Burglars breaking into automobiles are more often when the sun is shining and less commonly when it is raining. As a result, sunny days increase crime.

How to avoid it

The easiest approach to avoid this is to consider if you truly grasp the causal agent or tale, and that you are not inferring causation from the sequence of events. If you discover you don’t know what’s causing the phenomenon, it’s advisable to delay judgment until you do.

Straw Man Argument

The Straw Man fallacy is an informal fallacy. This fallacy happens when someone misrepresents their opponent’s stance. This is accomplished by switching to a different position and then assaulting that new position (attacking the straw man). Because a straw man is a weak target and simpler to defeat, changing the opponent’s argument is termed that.

This fallacy constructs a false version of the opponent’s argument and then strives to demolish it. Meanwhile, the opponent’s genuine point has not been answered. Arguments cannot be held under these erroneous conditions since the subject of the argument is not being addressed or contested.


“This is the best Thai restaurant in town,” Mary comments. “You believe this is the nicest restaurant in town?” John responds.

How to avoid it

Make sure that you properly comprehend your opponent’s perspective. Restate it to your opponent and clarify whether what you stated correctly expresses their point of view. This will also prevent them from altering their minds later on.

False Dichotomy (False Dilemma, Either/Or)

A False Dichotomy is an informal fallacy. When an arguer gives only two viable options or outcomes for a viewpoint when there are more, this occurs.

It is done to reduce the opponent’s options to two. It’s an argument strategy intended to restrict specific possibilities.


“Do you want to sleep now or in 5 minutes?” Mom asks her toddler. There are more possibilities than now or in 5 minutes, such as going to bed in 10 minutes, according to the false dilemma. Most children catch up on this parenting strategy when they are still toddlers.

Avoiding the False Dilemma Fallacy:

Evaluate if the choices you’re considering genuinely deplete all possibilities, or whether there are additional genuine options to contemplate. Consider alternatives before reducing the list of options to two or one.

Equivocation (Doublespeak)

Equivocation is an informal fallacy. To equivocate implies using words incorrectly or deceptively to conceal a fact or avoid being committed to a stance. The purpose of this mistake is to mislead the audience with linguistic manipulation. The definition of a term is frequently modified mid-argument to accommodate the objectives of the one who is deceiving.

To erroneously equate two terms is to equivocate (or concepts that are at issue within the argument).


Equivocating would be using the term “right” in two different contexts inside an argument: right as in morally proper as in operationally accurate (such as the right tool to use for the job).

Avoiding the Equivocation Fallacy

Use your terms consistently without changing their meanings.

Ad Hominem Argument

Ad hominem is an informal fallacy. When someone uses the Ad Hominem fallacy, they are condemning the person, not their argument. This includes thinking about and comparing the premise and conclusion. The idea that a people’s identity disqualifies them from making or participating in the argument itself is an example of this fallacy.

 The focus of an argument is on a person, such as their personality or character, rather than their actual viewpoint.


Cliff is incorrect when he claims that squares have right angles since he is a nasty guy who has been known to take ideas and claim them as his own. This misconception has left unaffected whether squares have right angles or not.

Avoiding the Ad Hominem fallacy:

Make sure that you are not assaulting the individual and that you are disputing the content of their argument. Remove any personal prejudices or extraneous personal characteristics of the opponent that are unrelated to the issue of the debate. A person might be a nasty person in a variety of ways while remaining theoretically accurate in any given situation.

Hasty Generalization

Hasty Generalization is an informal fallacy. Claiming something without enough or unbiased proof. If the data supported the claim, it would simply be a generalization. The hurried description indicates that the generalization was made too soon and without sufficient proof.

This is a difficult one since there is no agreed-upon criterion for what constitutes a sufficient number of instances or sample size in any specific scenario. However, it is typically easier to discern what constitutes biased or impartial evidence.


“You’re a musician, so you can’t have stage fear,” John says.

How to avoid it

Before making a claim, consider the evidence, the sample size, and if it is large enough to be representative of the entire.

Appeal to Popular Opinion (Argumentum ad populum)

An informal fallacy is to appeal to popular opinion. When someone claims that a viewpoint is correct because the majority of people agree with it, they are committing a fallacy. The fallacy here is that the majority of people may be factually incorrect as a result of being misled or having incomplete knowledge and making incorrect conclusions.

We’ve seen this before when the majority of people were misled by their media, their government, or incorrect scientific or philosophical ideas.


“The sun rotates around the earth, and the earth is fixed in place,” argues Medieval John. “How do you know that the sun circles around a fixed earth?” asks Medieval Mary. “Don’t you know that everyone thinks that the earth is fixed in place, around which the sun revolves?” says Medieval John. It’s widely known.”

How to Avoid the Fallacy of Popular Opinion

Consider the merits of the arguments on their own terms, without concern for what others believe.

The Ending Note 

Fallacy refers to a wide category that includes particular forms of fallacies, of which there are many. Reasoning errors are often classified into one of these types and characterized by the nature of the error. The category of fallacy in which the error is classified and the fallacy type is determined by how the reasoning was flawed.

Knowing and comprehending logical fallacies is crucial because it prevents the spread of lies. They’re only useful in determining what’s false, so that when it’s shown, an argument ceases to be legitimate and, ideally, ceases to be claimed and/or believed. It’s also crucial since determining where the logical error occurred enables rectification. The cure for poor reasoning is logical fallacy detection.

To construct true arguments or at least arguments that are not erroneous in their formulation or logic, you should avoid the most popular fallacies. The goal of avoiding the most famous fallacies is to produce solid arguments. The point of acceptable reasoning is to accurately and logically comprehend and navigate the world and all of its parts.


What is the most commonly used fallacy?

One of the most popular fallacies is ad hominem. While it may take various forms — from name calling and insults to attacking a person’s character, questioning their motivations, and labeling them hypocrites, an ad hominem argument addresses the source rather than the argument. Ad hominem arguments, unfortunately, are frequently highly powerful since they play on people’s emotions and preconceptions.

The ad hominem is fallacious in whatever form because the source of the argument is irrelevant to the substance of the argument. It’s a distraction strategy.

What are the five common fallacies?

These are the most popular fallacies.

Red Herring Fallacy

A Red Herring argument shifts the subject, diverting the audience’s attention away from the main issue and onto something else where the speaker feels more at ease and secure.

EXAMPLE: While it is true that the minimum wage should be raised, the actual solution is to reduce costly government rules so that businesses may flourish and give their employees better wages.

Strawman Fallacy

A strawman argument is a deliberate distortion of the stance of an opponent. It creates an easy (and deceptive) target for the speaker to hit.

EXAMPLE: Because they advocate abortion on demand, pro-abortion lobbyists oppose a waiting time and a sonogram mandate. And abortion on demand implies disregarding both the unborn child and the health of the mother.

Slippery Slope Fallacy

A Red Herring is a type of Slippery Slope argument. This is a claim that a policy that makes a little step in one way will set off a chain of events that will culminate in significant change.

EXAMPLE: If we mandate background checks for all gun purchases, including private sales at gun shows, the federal government will gain the information to compile a list of who owns weapons, which would eventually lead to the confiscation of privately held firearms.

Begging the Question Fallacy

The conclusion is implied in one of the premises of an argument Begging the Question, and that assumption is not supported by independent evidence. It is circular reasoning since it starts and finishes in the same place.

EXAMPLE: Because our Second Amendment rights are absolute, gun control regulations are unconstitutional.

Post Hoc Fallacy

A Post Hoc argument is one in which the speaker mistakes correlation for causation, arguing that because one occurrence followed another, the first caused the second.

EXAMPLE: Schools that teach Latin have higher test scores; therefore, establishing a Latin-teaching school will boost student accomplishment.

Who wrote popular fallacies?

Mr. A. S. E. Ackermann’s “Popular Fallacies” is a work that will instruct and delight many readers. This book not only lists the fallacies but also shows them to be true using simple science. He begins with “domestic misconceptions,” among which is the perilous assumption that using cobwebs to stop a wound from bleeding is a good idea.

What are the 8 common logical fallacies that we discuss?”

  1. Loaded Question Fallacy
  2. Begging the Question (Circular Reasoning) Fallacy
  3. Appeal to Authority (ad verecundiam) Fallacy
  4. Post Hoc Fallacy “post hoc ergo propter hoc”
  5. Straw Man Fallacy 
  6. False Dichotomy (False Dilemma, Either/Or) Fallacy
  7. Equivocation (Doublespeak) Fallacy
  8. Ad Hominem Fallacy

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