A Lesson on Rhetorical Devices:
Ethos, Pathos, Logos
What is Rhetoric?
Rhetoric (n) - the art of speaking or writing
effectively (Webster's Definition).
– According to Aristotle, rhetoric is "the ability, in
each particular case, to see the available
means of persuasion." He described three main
forms of rhetoric: Ethos, Logos, and Pathos.
In order to be a more effective writer, you must understand these three terms.
You will better understand their meanings which will make your writing more
Three Forms of Rhetoric…
Ethos: the source's credibility, the
We tend to believe people whom we respect. One of
the central problems of argumentation is to project an
impression to the reader that you are someone worth
listening to, in other words making yourself as author
into an authority on the subject of the paper, as well
as someone who is likable and worthy of respect.
Product: George Foreman and
his Grilling Machine
Repertoire: Boxing Champ and
Why is George Foreman
Logos: the logic used to support a claim
(induction and deduction); can also be the
facts and statistics used to help support the
– Persuading by the use of reasoning.
– An effective and persuasive reason that
supports your ideas.
Idea: Students should be allowed to use cell
phones during school hours.
List three supporting facts and/or statistics that
will support the aforementioned idea.
Logos Example continued…
Few of our children
breath fresh air in their
schools, which are
being sprayed, inside
and out, with millions of
pounds of deadly,
What are the details
provided in this claim?
Pathos: the emotional
Pathos: persuading by appealing to the
reader's emotions. Emotional appeals, are
used to persuade. Language choice affects
the audience's emotional response, and
emotional appeal can effectively be used to
enhance an argument.
How? Anecdotal writing or narratives within
How does this
to emotion? Why?
Pathos Example in literature
In Romeo and Juliet there are actions that lead to
an irreversible catastrophe. Romeo himself
contributes to many of the catastrophes, adding
tragedy to the play. The suffering of Romeo is
profound as a result of these catastrophes,
enhancing the drama and despair. Romeo triggers
feelings of pathos towards himself, as the reader
feels pity for him. All of these characteristics
represent why Romeo is looked upon as a tragic
The Art of Persuasion
The best persuasion is where all three elements
are combined into a cohesive whole. When a
trusted source provides anecdotal evidence and
statistics we see ethos (the trusted source),
pathos (the anecdote), and logos (the statistics)
working in harmony to create a broad appeal.