Skip to Main Content
Skip to main content

University Libraries


More research tools:

Self-Service Help: Resource Market

Q. Persuasion


"Induce (someone) to do something through reasoning or argument." OED


In order to successfully persuade an audience of something, it's important to first have a grasp of Aristotle's rhetorical triangle:

                             Image result for rhetorical triangle transparent image


You may not realize it, but chances are you already implement the rhetorical triangle into  your everyday persuasive speaking. If you're sitting down to craft an argument for a class assignment and are unsure where to start, it may help to consider the three components of the rhetorical triangle:


Ethos, or the ethical appeal, refers to a speaker's credibility (hyperlink to FAQ). Would you believe medical advice from someone with no medical background? Probably not, because you know that they aren't qualified. When giving a persuasive speech, it's important to build trust with your audience by making clear why they should agree with you. You can enhance your credibility by citing your sources (link to oral citations) and telling the truth.


Logos, or the logical appeal, accounts for everything a speaker uses to back up their argument. It's not enough to tell someone, "Buy my product because it's the best one out there". Why is is the best one out there? What makes it better than the rest? How can you prove that? Any claims you make must be supported by evidence.


Pathos, or the emotional appeal, allows a speaker to persuade their audience by seeking to evoke emotion. Have you ever seen the ASPCA commercials with sad music playing while images of abused animals flash on the screen? That is a classic appeal to pathos at work––the ASPCA is trying to persuade you to donate money by tugging on your heart strings. Pathos can be used to your advantage to make your audience feel angry, proud, guilty, happy, sympathetic, or nostalgic and can be achieved by using vivid, sincere language.

(Information partially adapted by the UNCG Speaking Center)



Consider browsing this helpful resource:


Ready to try the next phase? We can help you at any of the STEPS along the way!


Want to chat with someone who can help? Book a consultation today! 


This information is brought to you by the Grand Valley Knowledge Market


  • Last Updated Oct 18, 2019
  • Views 13
  • Answered By Melanie Rabine

FAQ Actions

Was this helpful? 1   0