Rhetorical Reasoning

Consider these rhetorical options (i.e., rhetorical principles, techniques, devices, and features) to assess the most appropriate response to a rhetorical situation.

Rhetorical Reasoning follows analysis of the rhetorical situation, especially Audience, Occasion, Exigency & Kairos, Purpose.

Rhetorical Reasoning is the process of evaluating how best to respond to a rhetorical situation. This process involves considering rhetorical principles and strategies, including


An Occasion, an Exigency, calls for a response. Perhaps the best response is to say nothing. Or, perhaps written discourse, text, is required.

But what should you say? Should you be tough? stuffy? sweet? What medium is the best channel for response? (an infographic? a video? a blog post). Should you use the first person? What level of diction is expected?–these sorts of questions reflect reasoning processes.

Rhetorical Reasoning involves considering a range of rhetorical choices when facing a rhetorical situation. By consciously considering these options, writers can “observ[e] in any given case the available means of persuasion”:

Rhetoric may be defined as the faculty of observing in any given case the available means of persuasion.

Rhetoric, Aristotle, 350 B.C.E

After analyzing their Rhetorical Situation (Audience, Medium, Occasion (Exigency), rhetors have a number of options to choose from, including how they compose, what they say, and their style.

Rhetorical Options @ Writing Commons

Point of ViewIs 1st person, 2nd person, or 3rd person most appropriate?
Rhetorical AppealsWhat appeals to Ethos, Logos, and Pathos are needed?
Rhetorical ModesWhat Rhetorical Modes will help me achieve my aims? Can the modes inform how I write an entire document or just a paragraph or section?
Rhetorical StanceWhat Persona, Tone, and Voice will be most effective?
GenreRhetors (writers/speakers) identify the most appropriate genre to deploy by considering their rhetorical situation.