If I make a provocative statement like:

I recommend South American chocolate to professional chefs.

Some readers infer what I currently think of as "false corollaries":

  • Professional chefs must avoid chocolate from other sources
  • Amateur chefs aren't experienced enough to use South American chocolate
  • Everyone would be better off eating desserts with a high sugar content
  • I don't care about the many thousands of people restricted to a low calorie diet for health reasons

These readers are now understandably upset, because they now believe I hold these deeply regressive views. This is distracting to both them and me.

Maybe it would help if I said something like, "I believe you have made a ________."

What is the name of the error(s) being made here?

  • Non sequitur, used as a noun. Literally, "does not follow".
    – Conifold
    Feb 3 at 16:48
  • 1
    If you want an academic-sounding phrase, Conifold is right; use "non sequitur". If you want an informal phrase use "jumping to conclusions". However, haxor789 is also right that accusing someone of an error is no way to lighten the mood. They are just going to argue: "then why did you specify 'professional'?" If you want to correct the errors and not get into arguments, probably the best way is to just say, "I think amateur chefs are fine using it too." over and over. Feb 3 at 17:01
  • It looks like a direct command or manipulation: do that i say. Recommendations it is why someone has to do, but not "what" has to do. I would call it "an incorrect verbs usage". Feb 4 at 8:47

1 Answer 1


(False) Assumption?

I mean the fallacy is to assume with certainty what you can only conjecture. However to an extend our language and communication relies on conjecturing what the other person has meant or to fill in the gaps or expand consequences based on our knowledge of the context. In fact it might even be better if they assume that voice their assumption and get corrected than if they just assumed that and were never corrected on it. So it's a problem of building a worldview from insufficient data points.

Also in practical terms. Don't do that: "I believe you have made a ________." The situation sounds like a misunderstanding, while this start of a sentence makes it sound like it's clearly the fault of the other person. Even if it is you're better off phrasing that neutrally and asking them what they understood of what you said or rephrase it with their own words to see where their priorities were, than to make that an accusation. Otherwise they likely get defensive about who's fault it is and you're none the wiser what they think what you have said.

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