Forms of appeal

This guide gives you everything you need to know about the forms of appeal: ethos, logos, and pathos. They are also known as the modes of appeal, modes of persuasion, rhetorical appeals, or rhetorical modes.

The three forms of appeal are often relevant in connection with non-fiction analysis (rhetorical analysis) and may be helpful in several school subjects. This guide is mainly focused on English.

The webbook first gives you a quick definition of the forms of appeal as well as an overview of the situations where they might be relevant to analyze. Then, you can read about each form of appeal in detail. We offer you a multitude of authentic examples of how each form may be created in a text or media text. Finally, you can test your analytical skills on a couple of examples.

Extract

Here, you can read an extract from our webbook:

Speeches with an emotional delivery

If you are working with a speech and have access to video material, you may want to consider whether the delivery of the speech includes a pathos appeal. This could be the speaker clearly showing emotions such as anger. As humans, we tend to mirror the emotions we see in others, so this type of delivery can be an effective way to reach people’s emotions if the speaker is not afraid of looking emotional.

In 2017, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau delivered a tearful apology speech to the Indigenous people of Newfoundland and Labrador. Many of these peoples had their culture, language, and families taken away from them when they were placed in state schools. Trudeau’s apology marked the Canadian government’s recognition of this wrongdoing. 

The Prime Minister’s message was underlined by the fact that Trudeau is visibly welling up, voice shaking, which can be seen in video versions of the speech. His delivery is a strong pathos appeal - but also an ethos appeal since he comes across as a caring leader with a strong moral compass. 

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Forms of appeal

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