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Encyclopedia > Amphiboly

Amphibology or amphiboly (from the Greek ampibolia) is, in logic, a verbal fallacy arising from ambiguity in the grammatical structure of a sentence.

For example:

Teenagers shouldn't be allowed to drive, it's getting too dangerous on the streets.

From the above could be interpreted that teenagers shouldn't drive because they will be in danger, or that they shouldn't drive as they are causing all the danger.

It occurs frequently in poetry, owing to the alteration for metrical reasons of the natural order of words; for example, Shakespeare, Henry VI:

The duke yet lives that Henry shall depose.

  Results from FactBites:
Logical Fallacy: Amphiboly (359 words)
Linguistically, an amphiboly is an ambiguity which results from ambiguous grammar, as opposed to one that results from the ambiguity of words or phrases—that is, Equivocation.
The fallacy of Amphiboly occurs when a bad argument trades upon grammatical ambiguity to create an illusion of cogency.
Amphibolies are often linguistic boobytraps, but less frequently do they occur in fallacious arguments.
  More results at FactBites »



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