I'm having difficulty in articulating this idea without giving a long bloated explanation when calling it out.

The idea is where somebody states a vague generally agreeable and innocuous premise in an attempt to get the other person to accept/subscribe to the rest of their argument or doctrine or whatever... Once you accept their initial premise, you are expected to accept the rest of the baggage that comes with it - that usually was never mention beforehand.

It's usually a deceptive tactic and I'm not sure if there's a name for it.

It's also commonly used in relation of political issues - "Are you for equality*" or "Are you against terrorists*", then you must vote for this policy/laws (which usually has additional conditions and requirements that may not be agreeable).

I'd like to convey that it's like a Trojan horse where they deceptively sneak in extra conditions under the cover of something innocuous. But a Trojan horse isn't exactly right and usually gets people to think of a different connotation related more to war.

So what's the best way of phrasing it, when calling out someone that's doing it and explain to other people what tactic is being employed?

  • 'Red herring' comes close, though it's usually used to divert from the main course. Commented Dec 28, 2019 at 12:52

3 Answers 3


It sounds like the person is using loaded questions to, metaphorically, lead the witness. Surely along the way they are equivocating.

  • This seems to explain and phrase the different stages of the overall idea I mentioned, quite best! Thanks
    – C9C
    Commented Dec 28, 2019 at 22:29

stretch the truth

to say something that is not completely honest in order to make someone or something seem better than it really is:

Source: Cambridge Dictionary


A term that has been used for this is the rhetoric of inclusion. Perhaps the most famous get-the-audience-onside opening address of all time is "Friends, Romans, Countrymen ...".

From Friends, Romans, Countrymen: Addressing the Roman People and the Rhetoric of Inclusion _ Karl-J. Hölkeskamp:

This chapter explores communication between the Roman elite and the people and, in particular, the ways in which the elite tried to convey a sense of shared community and aims when it addressed the people at contiones. A particular sort of rhetoric, the ‘rhetoric of emphatic direct address’, is omnipresent: the Roman people are addressed as part of, and partner in, an “imagined community” of the Quirites sharing a common universe of ‘Romanness’....

The ‘rhetoric of emphatic direct address’ is another catchy term used here. Though they apply to the overall tone of the speech, the initial words used to address the audience must be in tune with this.

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