An enthymeme is a rhetorical syllogism typically used in public speaking. There are four types of enthymeme:


Truncated Syllogism

The first is truncated syllogism, this enthymeme is a syllogism with an unstated premise.

One of the most common examples of this type of enthymeme is the premise of " Socrates is mortal because he's human '', the example goes like this

All humans are mortal.
Socrates is human.
Therefore, Socrates is mortal.

The unstated premise comes from the first line of "all men are mortal", making it a truncated syllogism.

Other Examples
He is a U.S. citizen, so he is entitled to due process. (The hidden premise: All citizens of the U.S. are entitled to due process.)

“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 in U.S. Vice-Presidential debate in 1988. (The hidden premise: Jack Kennedy was a great man, but you are not.)

Syllogism based on signs

The second type of enthymeme is Rhetoric, or a syllogism based on signs. This particular type of enthymeme was one theorized by Aristotle. He argued that enthymemes are come from syllogisms based on signs opposed to facts. Here signs are "things [that] are so closely related that the presence or absence of one indicates the presence or absence of the other." An example is shown below.

"He is ill, since he has a cough."
"Since she has a child, she has given birth."
In both of these examples the enthymeme is only probably true because there are other sources in which a person could acquire a cough besides being ill and a child besides giving birth.

Audience supplied premise

The third type of enthymeme is one where a premise is missing but is filled in by the audience as an unstated assumption. An example of this type of enthymeme is shown below.

"Candide is a typical French novel; therefore it is vulgar."
In this particular example the missing premise is "French novel are vulgar" due to the way the enthymeme is set up.

Visual enthymemes

The last type of enthymeme is the visual type. Pictures and other forms of art can also function as enthymemes due to the fact that assumptions are made to decipher their meanings.


Toulmin Model of Enthymeme

  • Claim - "I should wear a jacket today" (Conclusion) -> Qualifier - "In most cases unless" (makes the claim less decisive) -> Rebuttal - "except for those in which a jacket has a hole."
    • because…
      • Data - "… it's cold outside" (Minor Premise)
        • and…
          • Warrant - "jackets make people less cold." (Major Premise)
            • due to…
              • Backing - "thick material that helps retain body heat."
statement or assertion affiliated with a certain subject that typically given without any evidence or proof; conclusion to the syllogism
In this case, it is the reasoning for the claim, for your conclusion, it answers why; specific factual information about the subject.
Incontrovertible, universally accepted truth, back up reasoning and support for the claim
As the word itself proclaims, it's the evidence for the warrant, it's the explanation for the warrant.
statement meant to disprove any opposing argument.
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