AP Language & Composition

Ethos, Pathos, Logos - The Foundation of Argument
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Ethos, Pathos, Logos - The Foundation of Argument
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Use this for analyzing argument and persuasive tactics 

Ethos, Logos, Pathos: elements of argument


1.     Ethos (Ethics) = ethical appeals – the piece of writing or speech impresses the audience that the speaker is of sound sense, high moral character and benevolence (cares about the outcome and its effects on others). Ethos are based on widely accepted values or moral standards.

America has a long-standing tradition in which every taxpayer is obliged to support the education of our young people. If it were not for the help of all taxpayers, our young people would not get the future they deserve.

                Ethos inspires confidence. Sometimes a person’s reputation will automatically exert ethos, i.e. Dr. Martin Luther King.


2.     Logos (Logic or Reason) – logical appeals – appeal to reason – consist of facts, examples and well-reasoned arguments

Because 85 percent of the taxpayers are senior citizens and do not have school-age children, they should not be expected to pay for academic expenses. The school budget should be cut.



3.     Pathos – emotional appeal – consist of language and stories that arouse strong feelings

Senior taxpayers are sick and tired of seeing their taxes used to support expensive nonacademic programs like wrestling.


   4.    Logical, Ethical, Emotional Follow Up:  Barack Obama’s Inaugural Address


Logical: Look at the support in the article for major claims and ask, “Is there any claim that appears to be weak and unsupported? Which one and why?”




Ethical: Do you trust this author? Do you think he is deceptive? Why or why not?



Emotional:  Does this piece affect your emotions?  Which parts? Do your emotions conflict with your logical interpretation of the arguments?

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