Ehtos, Pathos, Logos

Do ethos, pathos, and logos count as rhetorical strategies? And if so, is better to mention them indirectly and not explicitly naming them? For example, discussing how a certain literary device adds to the author’s credibility.

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Hi, Taylor. Ethos, pathos, and logos are not really rhetorical strategies; however, author may appeal to emotions, logic, or credibility with a rhetorical strategy he/she is using.

For example, in her letter to her son, Abigail Adams uses her position as John Quincy’s mother to encourage him to listen to her because she wants what is best for him. She is appealing to both her credibility (ethos) and her love for him (pathos), but her strategy is encouraging her son to listen to her advice. Does this answer your question sufficiently?


@Jennifer is exactly right, and I’m going to add that the appeals are the effect of the choices being used. That said, here are a few stems to help you talk about the appeals:

  • The author establishes her credibility by …
  • The author notes his/her experience in ___ by ___ so that the audience ___.


  • The writer intentionally fuels the audience’s sense of ___ by ___.
  • Words/phrases like “__” work to move the audience into a position of ____ because ___.


  • The author uses evidence that relates to her audience, citing _____ because the audience _____.
  • The writer’s reasoning ____ by ____, and this allows _____.

Yes, thank you both!!

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