Aristotelian Appeals: Logos, Ethos, and Pathos

Whenever you read an argument you must ask yourself, “Is this persuasive? If so, why? And to whom?” There are many ways to appeal to an audience.

Among them are appealing to logos, ethos, and pathos. These appeals are identifiable in almost all arguments.



To Appeal to LOGOS

(logic, reasoning)


To Develop or Appeal to ETHOS

(character, ethics)


To Appeal to PATHOS



: the argument itself; the reasoning the author uses;

 logical evidence


: how an author builds credibility & trustworthiness


: words or passages an author uses to activate emotions


Types of LOGOS Appeals


Ways to Develop ETHOS


Types of PATHOS Appeals


·         Theories / scientific facts

·         Indicated meanings or reasons  (because…)

·         Literal or historical analogies

·         Definitions

·         Factual data & statistics

·         Quotations

·         Citations from experts & authorities

·         Informed opinions

·         Examples (real life examples)

·         Personal anecdotes



·         Author’s profession / background

·         Author’s publication

·         Appearing sincere, fair minded, knowledgeable

·         Conceding to opposition where appropriate

·         Morally / ethically likeable

·         Appropriate language for audience and subject

·         Appropriate vocabulary

·         Correct grammar

·         Professional format



·         Emotionally loaded language

·         Vivid descriptions

·         Emotional examples

·         Anecdotes, testimonies, or narratives about

             emotional experiences or events

·         Figurative language

·         Emotional tone (humor, sarcasm,

             disappointment, excitement, etc.)



Effect on Audience


Effect on Audience


Effect on Audience


Evokes a cognitive, rational response.  Readers get

a sense of, “Oh, that makes sense” or

“Hmm, that really doesn’t prove anything.”


Helps reader to see the author as reliable, trustworthy,

competent, and credible. The reader might respect

the author or his/her views.



Evokes an emotional response.  Persuasion by emotion.

(usually by evoking fear, sympathy, empathy, and/or




How to Talk About It


How to Talk About It


How to Talk About It


The author appeals to logos by defining relevant

terms and then supports his claim with numerous

citations from authorities.


Statistics and expert testimony

are convincing logical appeals.



Through his use of scientific diction, the author

builds his ethos by demonstrating expertise.


The author develops her ethos by demonstrating to

readers that she is sympathetic to the struggles




When referencing 9/11, the author is appealing to pathos.

Here, he is eliciting both sadness and anger from his



The author’s description of the child with cancer was a

very persuasive emotional appeal.