Quotes: Non sequitur (nahn SEK wuh tuhr)

(logical fallacy; misrelations between the follow-up and the follow-through or nonsense of non sequence)

non sequitur (s) (noun), non sequiturs (pl) [non sequuntur, Latin plural]
1. A statement that does not follow logically from what preceded it: "Someone once said that Napoleon Bonaparte was a short man. A student who was making a report in history class included a non sequitur that stated that because Napoleon was so short and ego centric, he never allowed any of his officers to be any taller than he was."
2. A statement containing an illogical conclusion.
3. In logic, a conclusion that does not follow from the premises.

A non sequitur is a literary device; in comedy, it is a comment which, due to its lack of meaning relative to the comment it follows, is absurd to the point of being humorous. Its use can be deliberate or unintentional. Literally, it is Latin for "it does not follow".

In other literature, a non sequitur can denote an abrupt, illogical, unexpected, or absurd turn of plot or dialogue not normally associated with or appropriate to that which preceded it.


Those who survived the San Francisco earthquake said, “Thank God, I’m still alive.” But, of course, those who died, their lives will never be the same again.
—Barbara Boxer, Senator from California

If your parents didn’t have any children, there’s a good chance that you won’t have any.
—Clarence Day

In a museum in Havana there are two skulls of Christopher Columbus, “one when he was a boy and one when he was a man.”
—Mark Twain

The Emperor Nero was playing a fiddle, so they burned Rome.

Here are two examples of non sequiturs: One says, “This is old, therefore it is better.” The other says, “This is new, therefore it is the best.”

Mister, can you give me some change to buy a sandwich? I’m so thirsty, I don’t know where I’ll find a place to sleep tonight.
—A whiskey-soaked panhandler

Links to quotations units. Other Quotes, Quotation Units.