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Enthymeme is a rhetorical device that reaches a conclusion on the truth of its contrary. Explore enthymeme examples for a better understanding of this figure of speech.

Enthymeme Examples

Enthymeme is one of the most frequently used rhetorical devices in English language that have been in vogue ever since the time of Aristotle. Also called as rhetorical syllogism, this technique employs subtle art of persuasion to engage one's emotions, reasoning, and morals by virtue of rhetoric. It is an informally stated reasoning that deliberately omits one part of the deduction - the premise or the conclusion - and is often based on probabilities, examples, signs or indications. Usually the conclusions are not explicit and at times, it might tax your ability to figure out the hidden connotation behind it. The usage of enthymemes is extensive in humor and is commonly employed in advertorials. All said and done, enthymemes aren't always inexplicit. At times there are major assumptions written largely over it. Enthymeme was first used in Standard English sometime during the early part of 19th century and is still prominently used in our day-to-day life. In simple terms, enthymeme is just an incomplete syllogism. Explore the list of enthymeme examples to gain a deeper understanding on this.

Examples Of Enthymeme

Enthymeme Examples In Literature
Statement: "If the glove doesn't fit, you must acquit." - Attorney Johnny Cochran in the O.J. Simpson trial
Description: The glove doesn't fit the defendant.
The glove is evidence.
Therefore, you must acquit the defendant

Statement: 'He must be a socialist because he favors a graduated income-tax.'
Description: He is a socialist
He favors a graduated income-tax.
Assumption: Either anyone who favors a graduated income-tax is a socialist or a socialist is anyone who favors a graduated income-tax

Other Examples:
  • "With a name like Smucker's, it has to be good." - slogan of Smucker's jams, jellies, and preserves
  • "But Brutus says he was ambitious; And Brutus is an honorable man." - Mark Antony from Shakespeare's 'Julius Caesar'
  • He is an American citizen, so he is entitled to due process.
    (The hidden premise is: All American citizens are entitled to due process.)
  • "Mark'd ye his words? He would not take the crown. Therefore 'tis certain he was not ambitious." - (Mark Antony speaking of Julius Caesar in William Shakespeare's 'Julius Caesar')
  • Ed is allergic to foods containing monosodium glutamate, so he cannot eat Chinese food seasoned with it.
  • She could not have committed this horrible crime; I have known her since she was a child.
  • A political system can be just only when those who make its laws keep well informed about the subject and effect of those laws. This is why our system is in danger of growing unjust.
  • No minority will be a person who will get this job.
    I am a minority.
    Therefore, I am not a person who will get this job
  • "Now, I don't know or have never met my candidate; and for that reason I am more apt to say something good of him than anyone else." - Will Rogers.
  • Of course she is dumb, she is a woman
  • John will surely fail his calculus exam, because he hasn't studied.
  • Where there is smoke, there is fire.
  • I have a goal to do.
    Carrying out this action is a means to realize the goal.
    Therefore, I ought to carry out this action.
  • The gun has the defendant's fingerprints on the trigger. He is clearly guilty!
    (Edward P.J. Corbett and Robert J. Connors, Classical Rhetoric for the Modern Student, 4th ed. Oxford Univ. Press, 1999)
  • "Senator, I served with Jack Kennedy. I knew Jack Kennedy. Jack Kennedy was a friend of mine. Senator, you're no Jack Kennedy." - Lloyd Bentsen to Dan Quayle, 1988.
    The hidden premises might be: Jack Kennedy was a great man, and you are not a great man.
Enthymeme Examples Advertising
  • "If it's Borden's, it's got to be good."
    (Advertising slogan)
  • "Want him to be more of a man? Try being more of a woman!"
    (Advertising slogan for Coty perfume)
  • "Buy this car and you will have more sexual satisfaction" (this would be easier to reject as anassumption)
Enthymeme Examples Aristotle
  • All humans are mortal. Socrates is human. Therefore, Socrates is mortal.
  • Dependent creatures should be humble. We are dependent creatures. Therefore, we should be humble.
  • Bad boys should get spankings. You have been bad. Therefore, you should get spankings.
  • Nothing Relieves Pain Faster than Bayer Aspirin. I have pain. I will take Bayer Aspirin.
  • Jesus had a helper facilitate his necessary martyrdom.Someone who directs his own martyrdom can't be a victim. Therefore, the Jews didn't victimize him.
  • "There is no law against composing music when one has no ideas whatsoever. The music of Wagner, therefore, is perfectly legal." - Mark Twain.
The word 'enthymeme' is derived from the Latin word 'enth?mema' and from the Greek 'enthumema'. An argumentative statement is said to contain a conclusion and one supposition where the supposition is to be implied. Enthymeme examples are more common in literature than social talks. Usage of the enthymemes are an instrument for slightly minimizing and yet pointing out some assertion in the way of omitting conclusion. It makes the reader work out an own conclusion and nudges him further to read on to get a clear picture of his premise.



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