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Why use rhetorical appeals in persuasive writing? Using rhetorical appeals in persuasive writing increases a writer’s chances of achieving his or her purpose. Any rhetorical purpose must be connected to an audience, and rhetorical appeals have been proven to successfully reach and persuade audiences.

Logos

Strategies for Use: structure of argument, definitions, relevant examples, facts and figures, causal statements, statistics, an opposing view

Reflective Questions:

  • Are the main points of my essay sequenced logically?
  • Does my writing define key terms with which the audience may not be familiar?
  • Does my writing provide credible, documented facts to support any unstated assumptions? To learn more about unstated assumptions, see “Logos.” Does my writing include at least one causal statement? Read more about  causal statements in “Logos.”
  • Does my writing provide examples to illustrate its main points?
  • Does my writing cite relevant, current, and credible statistics?
  • Does this piece address at least one opposing view? 

Pathos

Strategies for Use: anecdotes or other narratives, images or other forms of media, direct quotations, empathy, humor 

Reflective Questions:

  • Does my persuasive writing include an appropriate anecdote or narrative that evokes a commonly held emotion? To learn more about writing narratives in essays, read “Employing Narrative in an Essay.”
  • Does my persuasive writing engage non-textual media, such as images, to evoke emotions in the audience? Is the use of such non-textual media appropriate for my genre and purpose? Review “Pathos” to learn more about using non-textual media in persuasive writing.
  • Does my writing include at least one quote from an individual who has been influenced by the issue my writing addresses?
  • Does my writing demonstrate empathy for the opposing view’s concerns?
  • Does my persuasive writing use humor if it is appropriate for the genre and purpose?

Ethos

Strategies for Use: references to related work or life experience; references to certificates, awards, or degrees earned related to the topic; references to the character of the writer; use of credible and current sources; references to symbols that represent authority

Reflective Questions

  • Does my writing include references to my related work or life experience if appropriate for the genre, and do the references avoid the first-person point of view, unless the genre calls for it (e.g., a cover letter for a job and/or assignments in which the first-person point of view may combined with the third-person point of view). To learn more about how to avoid using the first-person point of view, read “Avoid First-Person Point of View.”
  • Does my persuasive writing refer to certificates, awards, or degrees earned that relate to the topic? If so, are these references appropriate for the genre and, if necessary, do they avoid the first-person point of view?
  • Does my persuasive writing rely on documented, credible, current evidence to support its claims, thereby reflecting my good character as a writer?
  • Do the experts cited in my writing have credentials, awards, and/or degrees that relate to the topic?
  • Have I used an appropriate tone, voice, and persona in this piece? To learn more about these terms and their use in writing, see “Consider Your Voice, Tone, and Persona.”
  • Have I proofread my persuasive writing several times, and have I asked two or more people to proofread it as well? To learn about specific proofreading strategies, read “Proofreading.” 

Kairos

Strategies for Use: the use of deadlines or goals; a call to action, including the call to “act now”; references to “current crises” or impending doom 

Reflective Questions

  • Does my writing explain the immediate significance of the topic?
  • Does my persuasive writing invite the reader to set a goal related to the topic?
  • Does my persuasive writing incite and/or invite action, especially immediate action? Read “How to Write a Compelling Conclusion,” particularly the section titled “The Call to Action” to learn more about this technique.
  • Does my writing refer to current crises regarding the topic through credible, current, and relevant sources? Review “Kairos” for an example of this method.
  • Does this piece convey the potential short- and/or long-term consequences of not adopting my evidence-based argument?  

After checking your persuasive writing for these rhetorical appeals, ensure that your writing does not rely on any fallacious forms of these appeals as well. Review “Fallacious Logos,” “Fallacious Pathos,” “Fallacious Ethos,” and “Fallacious Appeals to Kairos” to learn more. 

 

Works Cited:

--. “Avoid First-Person Point of View.” Writing Commons. N.p., 30 March 2012. Web. 2 July 2016.

Lee, Emily, Jessica McKee, and Megan McIntyre. ”Logos.”  Writing Commons. N.p., 16 April 2012. Web. 2 July 2016.

---. “Fallacious Logos.” Writing Commons. N.p., 16 April 2012. Web. 2 July 2016.

Lee, Kendra Gayle, Jessica McKee, and Megan McIntyre. “Pathos.” Writing Commons. N.p., 16 April 2012. Web. 2 July 2016.

---. “Fallacious Appeals to Pathos.” Writing Commons. N.p., 16 April 2012. Web. 2 July 2016.

McKee, Jessica, and Megan McIntyre. “Ethos.” Writing Commons. N.p., 16 April 2012. Web. 2 July 2016.

---“Fallacious Appeals to Ethos.” Writing Commons. N.p., 16 April 2012. Web. 2 July 2016.

Moxley, Joe. “Consider Your Voice, Tone, and Persona.” Writing Commons. N.p., 7 Nov. 2009. Web. 2 July 2016.

McIntyre, Megan and Cassandra Branham. “Writing a Cover Letter.” Writing Commons. N.p., 30 Oct. 2014. Web. 2 July 2016.

Pantelides, Kate, Megan McIntyre, and Jessica McKee. “Kairos.” Writing Commons. N.p., 16 April 2012. Web. 2 July 2016.

---. “Fallacious Appeals to Kairos.” Writing Commons. N.p., 16 April 2012. Web. 2 July 2016.

Photinos, Christine. “Proofreading.” Writing Commons. N.p., 28 Dec. 2012. Web. 2 July 2016.

Yirinec, Jennifer. “How to Write a Compelling Conclusion.” Writing Commons. N.p., 30 Nov. 2011. Web. 2 July 2016.

Wise, Allison. “Employing Narrative in an Essay.” N.p., 16 April 2012. Web. 2 July 2016.