non sequitur

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Alternative forms[edit]


From the Latin phrase nōn sequitur (it does not follow), from nōn (not) + sequitur (third-person form of sequor (I follow)); in Latin, the phrase sees no use as a noun. Compare sequence, from same root.


Examples (logical fallacy)
  • “All ravens are black; this object is black; therefore, this object is a raven.”


Examples (humor)
  • “Take my wife – please.” (Henny Youngman)
  • “If all the girls who attended the Yale prom were laid end to end, I wouldn’t be a bit surprised.” (Dorothy Parker)
  • “A fool and his money are soon partying.” (Steven Wright)

non sequitur (plural non sequiturs or non sequuntur)

  1. Any abrupt and inexplicable transition or occurrence.
    Having a costumed superhero abduct the vicar was an utter non sequitur in the novel.
  2. Any invalid argument in which the conclusion cannot be logically deduced from the premises; a logical fallacy.
  3. A statement that does not logically follow a statement that came before it.
  4. (humor) A kind of pun that uses a change of word, subject, or meaning to make a joke of the listener’s expectation.

Usage notes[edit]

The legitimate plural forms of non sequitur include the Anglicised non sequiturs and the Classical non sequuntur; non sequituri is also attested, but is rare, non-standard, and misformed.


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