Frequently when an author or orator is trying to be persuasive, they do so by using the following three appeals, or strategies. These appeals go by their Greek names, pathos, logos, and ethos.

Rhetorical Appeals and Devices


I. Rhetorical Appeals


Define rhetoric: 


Frequently when an author or orator is trying to be persuasive, they do so by using the following three appeals, or strategies. These appeals go by their Greek names, pathos, logos, and ethos. 


Appeal How does this appeal work? What kind of evidence goes with this appeal?



Practice Identifying: Take a look at the following Youtube videos. In the space provided, identify which technique or techniques are being used and explain how they work. For example, “This video uses the technique of ___________________ by showing ______________________ in order to ____________________.”


1. Verizon: There’s A Map for That


0. Google Chrome: Dear Sophie


0. GEICO: Sound Effects ko


Practice Using: Imagine you are trying to persuade your professor for an extension on an assignment. For each appeal, write a 2-3 sentence argument.












II. Rhetorical Devices


Pathos, logos, and ethos are rhetorical appeals, or strategies. Writers and orators also use a wide range of rhetorical devices, or tools. When we talk about appeals, we talk about how a piece of writing is affecting our minds or emotions. When we talk about devices, we talk about the specific way a writer is manipulating language through word choice and syntax (word order). 


Any rhetorical appeal can use any rhetorical device (for example, the device of a metaphor could be used with pathos, logos, or ethos). Writers choose which devices best support their overall rhetorical appeals.


In your own words, explain the difference between rhetorical appeals and rhetorical devices below. 


The following is a list of common rhetorical devices. This list is not exhaustive. Some of these devices will be familiar, while others will be new. Don’t be overwhelmed by the length of the list! This unit we will have the opportunity to both get to know and practice these devices together.


  Rhetorical Device What is it? What does it do? What’s an example?
1 Parallel structure    
2 Anaphora repetition of the same word or groups of words at the beginning of phrases, clauses, or sentences. In books, I find the dead as if they were alive; in books I foresee things to come; in books warlike affairs are set forth…
3 Metaphor implicit comparison between two things of unlike nature, yet which have something in common The question of federal aid is a bramble patch.
4 Paradox a statement that appears to be contradictory but, in fact, has some truth.


He worked hard at being lazy.
5 Oxymoron a paradox reduced to two words I do here make humbly bold…
6 Personification investing abstractions or inanimate objects with human qualities or abilities The ground thirsts for rain.
7 Simile an explicit comparison, usually using “like,” “as,” or “than” between two things of unlike nature yet that have something in common. Silence settled over the audience like a block of granite.
8 Rhetorical Question


asking a question, not for the purpose of eliciting an answer but for the purpose of asserting or denying something obliquely. What could you be thinking?
9 Allusion a brief or indirect reference to a person, place, thing, or idea of historical or cultural significance (not a detailed description of that thing) He’s a real Romeo. 




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