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Writing Strategies and Grammar


Rhetoric Defined: This term refers to any set of circumstances that involves at least one person using some sort of communication to modify the perspective of at least one other person. In brief, “rhetoric” is any communication used to modify the perspectives of others .

We call these three elements, (ethos, pathos logos) rhetorical appeals. In academic writing, ethos and logos are given more respect than pathos. Below, each of these appeals is explained in more detail.


Three Rhetorical Appeals

The use of ethos is called an "ethical appeal." Note that this is very different from our usual understanding of the word "ethical." "Ethos" is used to describe the audience's perception of the rhetor's credibility or authority. The audience asks themselves, "What does this person know about this topic?" and "Why should I trust this person?”

Ethos: Credibility: The rhetor is perceived by the audience as credible.


Pathos is used to describe the rhetor’s attempt to appeal to an audience’s sense of identity, their self-interest, and their emotions. Pathos most often refers to an attempt to engage an audience’s emotions. The audience responds to a feeling (love, fear, hatred, etc.) evoked by the writer.

Pathos: Emotional response. The rhetor attempts to persuade the audience by making them feel certain emotions.


The use of logos is called a “logical appeal.” Logos is the use of strategies of logic to persuade the audience by making a reasonable claim and offering proof of support of that claim. Strategies of using a logos appeal includes cause or consequence, testimony, and use of examples.

Logos: Logical arguments. The rhetor attempts to persuade the audience by the use of arguments that they will perceive as logical.


Note: Rhetoric is a tool for writers and orators which empowers them to convince their readers and listeners about their point of view. Often, we find rhetoric examples in religious sermons and political speeches. They aim to make comparisons, to evoke tender emotions, to censure rivals and all this is done to persuade listeners.