Persuasive Writing

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Transcript Persuasive Writing

Persuasive Writing
Rhetorical Triangle,
The Appeals,
& Persuasive Techniques
What is Rhetoric?
Plato: Rhetoric is "the art of winning the soul
by discourse."
Aristotle: Rhetoric is "the faculty of
discovering in any particular case all of the
available means of persuasion."
Cicero: Rhetoric is “speech designed to
Rhetorical Triangle
For instance, who is your audience? Are they inclined to like,
dislike, or be neutral about your argument? Will they
understand it? Can you appeal to their sense of logic or
What is the message? How have you developed it? Is the
evidence in the right places to convince the audience?
What is your position as a writer: an authority, a concerned
citizen, etc? How credible are you? Does your style reinforce
the message you are sending?
Appeals - Logos
if you are focusing on the content of your
message–the facts, logic, and reasoning of an
appeal–you are using logos.
A logical appeal uses reasons, facts, and
expert opinions to support a position
Inductive: build a case point by point, and come
to your conclusion at the end
Deductive: state your principles first, and then
give the reasons why you think people should agree
with you.
Logos - Examples
“Birmingham is probably the most thoroughly
segregated city in the United States. Its ugly record
of brutality is widely known. Negroes have
experienced grossly unjust treatment in the courts.
There have been more unsolved bombings of Negro
homes and churches in Birmingham than in any other
city in the nation. These are the hard, brutal facts of
the case. “– from MLK’s “Letter from a Birmingham
Other examples?
Appeals - Pathos
if you want to move the audience by
appealing to their emotions,
sympathies, or motivations, you will be
using pathos
An emotional appeal arouses the
audience’s feelings by means of vivid
examples and details as well as words
with strong connotations, or overtones.
Pathos - Examples
“But when you have seen vicious mobs lynch your mothers and fathers at will and drown
your sisters and brothers at whim; when you have seen hate-filled policemen curse, kick
and even kill your black brothers and sisters; when you see the vast majority of your twenty
million Negro brothers smothering in an airtight cage of poverty in the midst of an affluent
society; when you suddenly find your tongue twisted and your speech stammering as you
seek to explain to your six-year-old daughter why she can't go to the public amusement
park that has just been advertised on television, and see tears welling up in her eyes when
she is told that Funtown is closed to colored children, and see ominous clouds of inferiority
beginning to form in her little mental sky, and see her beginning to distort her personality
by developing an unconscious bitterness toward white people; when you have to concoct an
answer for a five-year-old son who is asking: "Daddy, why do white people treat colored
people so mean?"; when you take a cross-county drive and find it necessary to sleep night
after night in the uncomfortable corners of your automobile because no motel will accept
you; when you are humiliated day in and day out by nagging signs reading "white" and
"colored"; when your first name becomes "nigger," your middle name becomes "boy"
(however old you are) and your last name becomes "John," and your wife and mother are
never given the respected title "Mrs."; when you are harried by day and haunted by night by
the fact that you are a Negro, living constantly at tiptoe stance, never quite knowing what
to expect next, and are plagued with inner fears and outer resentments; when you no
forever fighting a degenerating sense of "nobodiness" then you will understand why we
find it difficult to wait.” – from MLK’s “Letter from a Birmingham Jail”
Other examples?
Appeals - Ethos
If you are using your own credibility
and knowledge to create a sincere
impression on the audience, you are
using ethos
An ethical appeal builds credibility with
the audience by showing that the writer
or speaker is knowledgeable,
responsible, and sincere.
Ethos - Examples
“I have the honor of serving as president of the
Southern Christian Leadership Conference, an
organization operating in every southern state, with
headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia. We have some
eighty-five affiliated organizations across the South,
and one of them is the Alabama Christian Movement
for Human Rights.” – from MLK’s “Letter from a
Birmingham Jail”
Other examples?
Diction & Repetition
Diction: A writer’s choice of words, particularly
for clarity, effectiveness, and precision
Repetition: Repeating words or phrases to
create emphasis.
Example: “[…]until the glorious object of our contest
shall be obtained—we must fight! I repeat it, sir,
we must fight!”
- Patrick Henry
Parallelism / Parallel Structure
The use of phrases, clauses, or sentences
that are similar or complementary in
structure or in meaning.
“If we wish to be free, if we mean to preserve
inviolate those inestimable privileges for which we
have been so long contending, if we mean not
basely to abandon the noble struggle in which we
have been so long engaged[…]”
- Patrick Henry
Rhetorical Question
A questions suggesting its own answer or
not requiring an answer.
“They tell us, sir, that we are weak—unable to cope
with so formidable an adversary. But when shall
we be stronger? Will it be the next week, or the
next year? Will it be when we are totally disarmed,
and when a British guard shall be stationed in
every house?”
- Patrick Henry
A comparison made between two things to
show the similarities between them.
“[…]but if a thief breaks into my house, burns and
destroys my property, and kills or threatens to kill
me[…]am I to suffer it?”
- Thomas Paine
A short, pointed statement expressing
some wise or clever observation about
“The early bird catches the worm”
“Don’t count your eggs before they’ve
“Don’t cry over spilled milk”