The syllogism, closely associated with formal (as opposed to informal) reasoning or logic, is one of the first stops when learning about how arguments are put together. By no means does argumentation begin and end with the syllogism of formal reasoning, however. But having at least a bowing acquaintance with it is essential to thinking in still more complex ways about arguments.

The presentation below will introduce the syllogism, illustrating three major types as well as showing why mere adherence to formal correctness—however important that isis unequal to the task demanded by most rhetorical situations.