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Argument by Adjective


A speaker may pepper his argument with adjectives (or adverb), adding unproved assertions. This tactic draws attention away from the main argument, and as such is a form of red herring. Since the assertions have not been developed, refuting them may be difficult as well. Even if the speaker using them has not met his burden of proof, the emotional content of the adjective.

For instance, an activist or lobbyist may say, "There will be serious repercussions from this illegal bill, and I don't just mean to the political fortunes of those who hypocritically voted for it."

What "serious" means in this context is left veiled, but the real gem is "illegal", which presupposes a number of conditions. Illegality implies some (higher) authority whose precepts have been countermanded, but the bare adjective doesn't specify who that authority is, or in what way the law violates those (higher) precepts. Again, that those who voted for some law professed not to want it is left undeveloped, but the charge of "hypocrisy" raises distrust.

I'll look for other examples and update them here.