The UVic Writer's Guide


Circular Argument


A circular argument makes a conclusion based on material that has already been assumed in the argument:

"The study of literature is worthwhile because great literature repays close reading."

The argument sounds convincing until you realise that it could be phrased thus:

"The study of literature is worthwhile because literature is a worthwhile subject."

The statement does not raise an issue or allow for argument. A better argument would be this:

"The study of literature is worthwhile because it develops analytical and critical faculties."


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Copyright, The Department of English, University of Victoria, 1995
This page updated September 24, 1995