rhetoric and terms in writing n.
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RHETORIC AND TERMS IN WRITING. Rhetoric - the Art of Using Language Effectively or Persuasively. The Rhetorical Situation. Writer Purpose Audience Topic Context. WRITER. FACTORS WHICH CAN AFFECT YOUR WRITING INCLUDE: Your age Your experience Your gender Your location

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the rhetorical situation
The Rhetorical Situation
  • Writer
  • Purpose
  • Audience
  • Topic
  • Context


  • Your age
  • Your experience
  • Your gender
  • Your location
  • Your political beliefs
  • Your parents and peers
  • Your education

Purpose – the effect you wish to have on your intended audience. Major purposes for writing include:

  • Expressing your feelings
  • Investigating a subject and reporting your findings
  • Explaining an idea or concept
  • Evaluating some object, performance, or image
  • Proposing solution to a problem
  • Arguing for your position and responding to alternative or opposing positions
  • Entertaining the audience

Audience: To Whom are you Writing?

Many of the same factors which affect the writer also affect the audience

  • Age
  • Social class
  • Education
  • Past experience
  • Culture/subculture
  • Expectations
voice tone1

Voice and Tone reflect YOUR attitude about your subject and your audience.

VOICE is WHO the audience hear talking in your paper, and TONE is the way in which you’re doing the writing:

  • Serious
  • Informative
  • Formal/Informal
  • Humorous
diction style

Style is a term for the effect a writer can create through attitude, language, and the mechanics of writing. A consistent choice of patterns and word choices will result in a coherent and harmonious style supporting the content

Diction is a choice of words and informality or formality of a style based on word and pattern choices

diction continued
DICTION (Continued)
  • Don’t “pad” your writing - avoid terms with nearly identical denotations:

Talented and gifted; to persecute and oppress

  • Avoid informalities, be aware of the differences between “standard written English” (used in most scholarly and professional communication) and writing that permits the use of slang, colloquialism, or deliberately irregular grammatical constructions – as in fiction, poetry, drama, etc.
diction continued1
DICTION (Continued)
  • Avoid the use of “I feel,” “I think,” I believe,” “to me,” etc. – it’s usually unnecessary. It also makes a statement sound more like an unfounded "opinion" than a well-considered and supported argumentative position. Do without such superfluous phrasing wherever you can, especially when it undermines the strength of an argument.
  • Avoid using contractions (he's, she's, it's, let's, we're, you're, they're, isn't, aren't, weren't, he'll, she'll, they'll, don't, shouldn't, wouldn't, couldn't, I'm, I'll, I've, you've, we've, etc.) as they are too casual.
unity coherence

Unity is the development of a single controlling idea usually presented in a thesis statement. Each sentence should develop this central idea and should not get off the main topic of discussion.

Coherence is a connection between thoughts and the order of the content within a piece of writing. In Latin, coherence basically means “to stick together.”

coherence continued
COHERENCE (Continued)

To make your essay coherent you may use the following tips:

  • Repeat key words. Using synonyms may help as words are markers
  • Use pronouns for important nouns
  • Use demonstratives: “This policy …,” “that event,” etc.
  • Use transitional words to link the thoughts and signal the type of relationship between the thoughts : therefore, moreover, however
  • Establish logical order to the paragraphs and sentences within paragraphs such as cause to effect, or general to particular
figurative language
Figurative Language
  • Metaphor
  • Simile
  • Analogy
  • Personification
  • A metaphor makes an implicit comparison between dissimilar ideas or things without using like or as:
  • You are a hog. War is hell.
  • She was very old and small and she walked slowly in the dark pine shadows, moving a little from side to side in her steps, with the balanced heaviness and lightness of a pendulum in a grandfather clock.

-Eudora Weltry

To take full advantage of the richness of a particular comparison, writers sometimes use several sentences or even a whole paragraph to develop a metaphor.

  • A simile is an explicit comparison between two essentially different ideas or things that uses the word like or as to link them.
  • You eat like a hog. Life is like a box of chocolates.
  • I walked toward her and hailed her as a visitor to the moon might salute a survivor of a previous expedition.

- John Updike


Analogies usually involve explaining one idea or concept by comparing it to something else. An analogy is typically a complex or extended comparison.

Admittedly capital punishment is not a pleasant topic. However, one does not have to like the death penalty in order to support it any more than one must like radical surgery, radiation, or chemotherapy in order to find necessary these attempts at curing cancer. Ultimately we may learn how to cure cancer with a simple pill. Unfortunately, that day has not yet arrived. Today we are faced with the choice of letting the cancer spread or trying to cure it with the methods available, methods that one day will al­most certainly be considered barbaric and would certainly delay the dis­covery of an eventual cure. The analogy between cancer and murder is imperfect, because murder is not the "disease" we are trying to cure. The disease is injustice. We may not like the death penalty, but it must be avail­able to punish crimes of cold-blooded murder, cases in which any other form of punishment would be inadequate and, therefore, unjust. If we cre­ate a society in which injustice is not tolerated, incidents of murder—the most flagrant form of injustice—will diminish.

  • In Personification, the writer attributes human qualities to ideas or objects.

The moon bathed the valley in a soft, golden light.

-Corey Davis

Indeed, haste can be the assassin of elegance.

- T.H.White

Blond October comes striding over the hills wearing a crimson shirt and faded green trousers.

- Hal Borland