300 Days of Better Writing

February 28, 2013

Thus and therefore statements should follow logically from the previous statements.


The topic here is non sequiturs. Non sequitur is a Latin term meaning does not follow. A non sequitur is a problem with logic; it is a conclusion that isn’t logical, based on previous statements.

A non sequitur looks like this:

Idea A is true.
Idea B is also true.
Thus, Idea C MUST be true.

The fault in this logic is assuming that C is true just because A and B are true. In this case, C might be true, but it certainly isn’t true just because A and B are true. It is a non sequitur.

When you start a sentence with thus or therefore, you are saying that the statement you are about to write is the logical conclusion of the previous statements.

If the thus/therefore statement isn’t true based on the previous statements, you have created a non sequitur. Let’s look at an example.

A: People love to eat beef.
B: Beef comes from cows.
C: Thus, people love cows.

The first two statements in this sample are true. The last statement might also be true, but it is not the logical conclusion of the previous statements. It is a non sequitur.

Here’s the point of this tip: When you start a sentence with thus or therefore, make sure the statement logically follows from the previous statements. If it doesn’t, your reader will reject your ideas.


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