AP English Language and Composition


Some techniques and strategies commonly used to persuade are: .



            accepted or agreed upon 


            example .




            elaboration .


            general (one to one)

            specific (point by point)

classification .

analysis of a process


cause and effect reasoning (logic)

            cause to effect

            effect from cause .


            use of personal experience or personal testimony

            use of expert testimony

            use of tradition

            allusions (to history, literature, etc.)

references (quotations from authoritative sources)



The three classical appeals are:


            Reason (logos) : logical appeal to the message (the logic of the form and content) . An appeal to reason will focus on the logical structure of the text or the content of the text. Statistics, appeals to authority, and appeals to experience engage an audience's expectations. Logical appeals work inductively-from the specific to the general-and deductively-from the general to the specific. Inductive reasoning works by means of exemplification; deductive reasoning works by means of terms and conditions agreed upon by the community.


            Emotions (pathos): An appeal to the emotions of the audience is a time-honored, though much abused, tradition. Marc Antony wins the funeral oratory contest against Brutus by appealing to the audience in more concrete terms. Brutus' contention that he himself is willing to die for Rome has a patriotic underpinning that all Romans would comprehend. That claim is a good use of pathos. But Antony's use of pathos covers baser emotions: the audience will benefit financially from Caesar's will, and the bloody corpse of Caesar testifies that he, in fact, has already died for Rome (according to Antony's framing of the argument).


            Credibility of the writer or source of information  (ethos): appeal to the ethics (credibility, trustworthiness) of the writer. An appeal to credibility will stress the experience, education, power (whether by position or by personal achievement), and observations of the author. When Martin Luther King, Jr. writes from the Birmingham jail, he has a problem with credibility: he has broken the law-why should anyone hear him out? He overcomes this problem by listing an honor roll of greatly admired people from the western tradition who were also jailed for acts of conscience.