I just read this answer on Chinses.Stackexchange, and I see some obvious logical "leaps of faith" that I would like to know their most accurate and concise labels.

Many thought it is difficult to learn Mandarin Chinese. It is not quite true! It takes efforts and time to learn it well, but what doesn't?

It seems the author likes to set a premise for an argument, but then abandons the thread and leaves the reader hanging or to fill in the blanks. Simultaneously the opening statement is not addressed at all. A statement such as (made up by me) "Many who struggled with Spanish in high school are able to enjoy and master Mandarin"

In our opinion, Chinese is one of the most interesting languages to learn in the world! Chinese is a picture language, which means ancient Chinese people draw different pictures as Chinese characters out of everything they saw in the environment!

Again, I see Chinese is one of the most interesting languages in the world to learn as dangling a carrot in front of the reader and then pulling a Volkswagen Rabbit out of the hat without an explanation to it.

What are the correct terms for these dangling logical propositions? Or at worst, what mental grammar model do these structures violate? I can't for the life of me label them at all.

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    An unsubstantiated claim?
    – Jim
    Commented May 28, 2014 at 0:41
  • @Jim Hrm, well yes. That just doesn't seem accurate or narrow enough for what I am hoping a word or phrasing can provide. You are certainly right, but the phrase fails to paint the mental image of what is wrong with the writing style there.
    – AthomSfere
    Commented May 28, 2014 at 0:46
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    His first statement (premise) isn't the problem. It is that his subsequent statements are non sequiturs. They do not follow logically from his premise. There are a number of them. Some reading should help you to spot them. Commented May 28, 2014 at 0:58
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    "What are the correct terms for these dangling logical propositions?" Propositions, premises, conclusions, beliefs, etc. are true and false. They are NOT logical, illogical , valid, invalid, fallacious, sound, or unsound, although they may be based on (il)logical, (in)valid, or (un)sound reasoning argument.
    – njboot
    Commented May 28, 2014 at 4:22
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    Is this really about the English language? I do these writing tricks in many other languages all the time, how does that make a difference? I see this as a literary issue.
    – Kris
    Commented May 28, 2014 at 4:52

1 Answer 1


The fallacy used in the quoted passages is ignoratio elenchi.

Also known as irrelevant conclusion, ignoratio elenchi is the fallacy of proving or disproving an irrelevant point.

For example the following argument incorporates the fallacy of ignoratio elenchi (taken from Wikipedia):

I should not pay a fine for reckless driving. There are actual dangerous criminals on the street, and the police should be chasing them instead of harassing a decent tax-paying citizen like me.

In this example, the existence of more serious criminals is irrelevant to the subject's adherence to traffic regulations; it does not prove or disprove the actual issue, which is whether the driver's recklessness warrants a fine. If such an argument intentionally distracts from the real issue, it is known as a red herring.

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    This is a form of a non-sequitur, a catch-all for the unclassified fallacies. Commented May 28, 2014 at 5:15

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