Explicit and Implicit Arguments: Knowing the Difference

Arguments can be categorized as either explicit or implicit based on their structure and presentation. Explicit arguments follow recognizable patterns and clearly state their reasoning and conclusions. On the other hand, implicit arguments may not overtly follow the typical structure of an argument, lack a stated conclusion, and may not appear to be attempting to persuade the audience.

Use of Implicit Arguments

Implicit arguments can be more powerful because they may not immediately be recognized as arguments, allowing the audience to draw their own conclusions. This can be advantageous when the author wants to catch the audience unawares, persuade at an unconscious level (as seen in advertising), or influence someone to do something they might not willingly do. Implicit arguments can also be employed to implant ideas in someone's mind subtly, threaten or create the perception of threatening circumstances, malign others without explicitly stating their faults, and suggest consequences without explicitly stating them to mislead or make the audience believe they thought of it themselves.

Ideological Assumptions in Implicit Arguments

Implicit arguments may stem from ideological assumptions, representing what is taken for granted in a particular society or culture. These assumptions are often deeply ingrained beliefs and values that don't require explicit articulation because they are commonly accepted as true. In cultural and media studies, texts are analyzed to reveal such "taken for granted" or ideological aspects, making people more aware of their hidden assumptions.

Examples of Implicit Arguments

Example: An advertisement shows a group of happy friends drinking a particular brand of soft drink. There are no explicit arguments made about the drink's taste or quality.

Explanation: The implicit argument here is that consuming the soft drink will lead to happiness and enjoyable social interactions, without explicitly stating it.

Example: A political speech repeatedly mentions "security" and "safety" without explicitly advocating for specific policies.

Explanation: The implicit argument is that the speaker is emphasizing the importance of security and safety, which may influence the audience's perception and support without directly stating policy proposals.

Example: A news article presents statistics on crime rates in a specific neighborhood without explicitly making a claim or drawing a conclusion.

Explanation: The implicit argument is that the high crime rates in the neighborhood may lead the reader to infer negative implications about the area, even though the article does not overtly state them.


Explicit arguments are structured and state their reasoning and conclusions, while implicit arguments may not follow typical patterns and may not overtly appear to persuade the audience. Implicit arguments can be powerful in influencing perceptions and beliefs without explicitly stating claims. They can be rooted in ideological assumptions that represent what is taken for granted in a society or culture. Analyzing texts for implicit arguments can lead to greater awareness of hidden assumptions and a deeper understanding of persuasive techniques.

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