Forms of appeal

When a speaker is to convince his audience, he can go three ways, basically. He can appeal to the audience in three different ways, through three different modes of persuasion or forms of appeal:

  • Logos
    • is an appeal to the logical sense of the audience – not just a question of using numbers and statistics!
    • the speaker's choice of words will be neutral and objective
    • the speaker builds a logical connection between the different parts of the argument
  • Pathos
    • is an appeal to the emotions of the audience
    • the speaker's choice of words will be emotionally toned
    • the speaker builds an emotional connection between the audience and the object, e.g. compassion or hatred
  • Ethos
    • is an appeal to the audience's belief or confidence in the speaker
    • the speaker's choice of words is relatively neutral (in order to avoid his aim becoming too obvious)
    • the speaker builds an emotional connection between the speaker and himself, e.g. admiration or confidence

All three modes will usually be present in an argumentative text or a speech, but usually one of them will dominate the text.

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