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Why Writers Use Description As A Rhetorical Strategy Essays

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How to Write a Rhetorical Analysis

How to Write a Rhetorical Analysis

This article covers,

1.What is a Rhetorical Analysis?
– Definition
– Characteristics

2.How to Write a Rhetorical Analysis?
– Steps to Follow
– Preparing to Write Rhetorical Analysis
– Writing a Rhetoric Analysis

What is a Rhetorical Analysis

Rhetorical analysis is an attempt to understand how authors use different strategies to achieve their goals of writing a piece of work. Rhetoric analysis is used with nonfiction ; it doesn’t only analyze texts, it can also analyze speeches and visual text such as advertisement, cartoon.

In a rhetoric analysis, one does not try to understand or summarize the meaning of a work but, analyses how the writer writes, not what the writer writes. Thus, rhetoric analysis evaluates diction. style, structure and other strategies used by the author and observe whether the author has been successful in achieving his main goal. Thus, a rhetoric analysis should contain the goals, strategies or technique used, examples, and the effectiveness of these strategies.

Different writers have different goals. Some write to entertain the readers whereas some writer to inform. Some other writers try to persuade their readers through writing. The strategies used by different writers differ according to their purpose. These strategies can also differ according to different fields; for example, a writer in humanities may use an entirely different set of strategies than a writer in the medical field.

How to Write a Rhetorical Analysis Preparing to Write Rhetorical Analysis

Read the text very carefully and understand the whole meaning of the text. Identify the writer’s main ideas, arguments, and purpose.

2. Break Down

You may not be able to analyze a text as soon as you have finished reading it. The best way to analyze the text is to divide into different elements. Answering the following questions will help you to break the text into separate parts. Write down the answers on a piece of paper.

  1. What is the main idea presented in the text?
  2. What issue does the writer discuss? Why has he selected this particular issue?
  3. Who are the intended audience/ readers of this text?
  4. What is the goal of the writer? (Does the text inform, criticize or persuade?)
  5. How are the ideas arranged in this text? (Topical, chronological, cause-effect, etc.)
  6. How is diction (word choice) used in this text?
  7. Are there any dialogues, quotes? Why have they been used?
  8. Does the writer use punctuation to create an effect?
  9. Are some words and phrases repeated? What is the significant of this repetition?
  10. What kind of sentence structure does the writer use? (Are there lot of passive sentences, run-on lines, fragments, exclamations, commands, etc.?)

These are just some of the questions you can use. You can also add other questions to understand the text more clearly.

By answering these questions you can identify the rhetoric strategies used by the writer. These answers will explain why the writer chooses to write the way he does.

Writing a Rhetoric Analysis Thesis Statement

After identifying the rhetoric strategies used in the text, you can start analyzing their use. Before you start the rhetoric analysis, decide what you feel about author’s choices. Do you think he is successful in the use of rhetoric devices. Has he been able to achieve his final purpose?

After you have finished your introduction, arrange the essay in a logical order. For example, you can start by discussing why the author has used the particular topic, and then move on to his stylistic choices and their effect. You don’t have to analyze each and every strategy, stick to the strategies that the author has often used and those that you can analyze well.

Writers use different strategies to achieve different purposes. Don’t just summarize the strategies that have been used, but state why they have been used. For example, instead of simply saying that the writer uses colloquial expressions, describe the effect created by colloquialism.


At the conclusion, summarize the use of rhetoric strategies you have discussed in the essay, and state whether the writer has achieved his purpose by using these strategies. This will connect the end of the essay to the introduction.

About the Author: Hasa

Hasa has a BA degree in English, French and Translation studies. She is currently reading for a Masters degree in English. Her areas of interests include literature, language, linguistics and also food.

Other articles

8 rhetorical strategies that can help strengthen your writing - Poynter

8 rhetorical strategies that can help strengthen your writing

I love names that begin with the letter Q, and this essay includes two of them: the British man-of-letters Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch and the Roman rhetorician (c. 35 - 100 AD) Marcus Fabius Quintilianus, better known as Quintilian. Sir Arthur often used Q as a pen name. I now refer to the Roman dude as “the Q-man.” Q and the Q man.

This year marks the 100th anniversary of a series of lectures delivered by Quiller-Couch to his students at Cambridge University in England, talks that have been anthologized in the book "On the Art of Writing."

The most famous bit of Quiller-Couch advice, inspired by Samuel Johnson, is that writers must “murder your darlings,” that is, cut those phrases from a draft that seem the most self-consciously elegant. In other words: stop showing off.

In one lecture, Q consoles his students that, with a couple of powerful tools, “you can go a long way.” One such tool is emphatic word order, and to describe it Quiller-Couch invokes Quintilian, who wrote this sometime before his death around the year 100 AD:

"There is sometimes an extraordinary force in some particular word, which, if it be placed in no very conspicuous position in the middle part of a sentence, is likely to escape the attention of the hearer and to be obscured by the words surrounding it; but if it be put at the end of the sentence is urged upon the reader’s sense and imprinted on his mind."

Quiller-Couch then offers his students an example of the Roman's Q-tip, arguing that “The wages of sin is Death” is more powerful than “Death is the wages of sin.”

In my 2005 book "Writing Tools ," I encourage writers to “Order words for emphasis.” Little did I know that, almost two thousand years earlier, the same advice had been stated much more eloquently by an author I had never heard of!

If you follow the craft of vaudeville, you were called a vaudevillian. If I follow the craft of Quintilian, am I now a Quintilian-ian? I certainly hope so.

In an earlier essay, I mourned the shift of the word “rhetoric” from something powerful and purposeful toward something pejorative: fancy but empty discourse. I wished for a resurgence in rhetoric, the classical understanding of how the best speakers and writers communicate and persuade. Quintilian could be our patron.

On his behalf, I am about to do you a favor. Rather than send you to Quintilian’s most significant body of work, the "Institutio Oratoria ," I will offer you highlights from a translation edited by James J. Murphy. Here are Quintilian's greatest hits, the ideas and strategies that make him as relevant now as he was in the days of the Roman Republic:

1.Let a text cool off before revision. In a letter to Trypho, an eminent bookseller in Rome, the Q-man writes that he prefers not to rush his works into print: “I allowed time for reconsidering them, in order that, when the ardor of invention has cooled, I might judge of them, on a more careful re-perusal, as a mere reader.”

I’ve heard the same advice from many writers, that even under deadline pressure they need to get away from the text so that it can cool off. The cooler the text, the more clear-eyed the revision.

2. Connect reading, writing and speaking. Quintilian started a school to train the leading citizens of Rome and is as well-known for his theories on education as he is for rhetoric. For example, “Not only is the art of writing combined with that of speaking, but correct reading also precedes illustration, and with all these is joined the exercise of judgment….”

Stanford scholar Shirley Brice Heath once asked me to describe the behaviors of the most literate Americans. I was stumped. She said, “They read, they write, and the know how to speak about reading and writing.” It follows that students must practice these behaviors every day, acts of literacy that will lead to good judgment.

3. Study writers of all kinds. Quintilian argues, “Nor is it sufficient to read the poets only; every class of writers must be studied, not simply for matter, but for words, which often receive their authority from writers.” Two millennia later, the British author David Lodge would put it this way: “That is why a novelist … must have a very keen ear for other people’s words … and why he cannot afford to cut himself off from the low, vulgar, debased language; why nothing linguistic is alien to him, from theological treatises to backs of cornflakes packets….”

4. Gain knowledge from all fields of study. “Nor can grammar be complete without a knowledge of music," writes Quintilian since the grammarian has to speak of meter and rhythm.” He goes on to make a case for knowledge of astronomy and philosophy as well, thinking of grammar, not in a narrow sense, but as the strategic use of language in all disciplines. Forget Caesar. Hail, Grammar!

5. Strive for a reliable voice. “By speakers, as well as writers, there are certain rules to be observed. Language is based on reason, antiquity, authority and custom….Custom, however, is the surest preceptor in speaking: we must use phraseology, like money, which has the public stamp.” It seems that Quiintilian anticipates a kind of reconciliation between prescriptive and descriptive forms of grammar and usage. There are rules to follow, but it turns out to be common usage that lends the ring of truth.

We think of Latin as a dead language, but not for Quintilian. It was very much alive, enriched by new words, influenced by travel, conquest, technology, all aspects of Roman imperial culture. George Orwell made the same argument during World War II: that appeals for sacrifice by the English people should be made in the language of common Brits (he called it “demotic” speech), and not dressed in the finery and eduction of the upper classes and BBC.

6. Over the top is better than under the bottom. Writing by students should not be “dry and insipid,” nor should it be “wantonly adorned with far-fetched descriptions.” In other words, neither under-written nor over-written. But here is the key for Quintilian: “Both of these kinds of narratives are faulty, yet that which springs from poverty of mind is worse than that which comes from exuberance.” I take him to mean that it is easier to tone down the exuberance of the young over-writer than to light a fire under those who lack creativity and imagination.

7. Work toward being a fluent writer. “The sum of the whole matter, indeed, is this: that by writing quickly we are not brought to write well, but that by writing well we are brought to write quickly.” Do I see here the use of a rhetorical inversion known as a chiasmus. described in my earlier essay on rhetorical moves?

8. Use your craft for the common good. The sharpest arrow in Quintilian’s quiver is the notion that rhetoric requires the merger of craft and character, of method and purpose: the good citizen equipped to serve others with the power of the spoken and written word. This should be the idea that inspires journalists most of all.

What to read next

Rhetorical strategies

Rhetorical strategies

This article has multiple issues. Please help improve it or discuss these issues on the talk page .

  • It may contain original research . Tagged since March 2012. </li>
  • Its tone or style may not reflect the formal tone used on Wikipedia . Tagged since March 2012. </li>

    Rhetorical strategies are the efforts made by authors to persuade or inform readers. Rhetorical strategies are employed by writers and describe the different ways to persuade the reader. Before deciding which rhetorical strategy to use in any specific situation, a writer needs to consider a few questions to determine the strategy that best suits the text to be written. Such questions might include:

    • Who is the intended audience and what is the writer’s relationship with them? For example colleague-to-colleague, teacher-to-student, salesman-to-client, etc.
    • Does one want to prove an argument. If so, will you include counter arguments?
    • Do you want to simplify the issues?

    In addition to these and other questions, consider also the choice of words to use. In some respects this is a part of bearing in mind the intended or target audience. However, word choice can influence the development of an argument or a position and can affect the reader’s emotions.

    Process analysis strategy

    This type of rhetorical strategy could be summarized as describing steps towards achieving an effect or result. for example a report of a science experiment in a laboratory. ending with a result and a conclusion. The process analysis strategy also includes works where the aim is to help the reader understand how something is made to happen or how something works. This strategy is generally called comprehension-based process analysis. Then there is a third type of strategy, less common in academic writing. but prevalent in magazines. that tells readers how to do something; such as change their behavior in order to be slimmer, fitter, less depressed. etc.

    A published example of writing on process strategy is by Langley, [1] who wrote Process Thinking in Strategic Organization.

    Argumentation strategy

    According to Gray, [2] there are various argument strategies used in writing. He describes four of these and gives examples found within philosophical literature.

    Argument from analogy

    This strategy compares two different things to emphasize their relevant similarities. For instance, the actions of kicking and punching could be described as analogous – similar violent physical attacks on another person, even though one is using feet, the other fists. One example of a published philosophical analogy was by Singer [3] in The Life You Can Save . in which he argues that a professor who sees a child drowning in a pool and can save the child’s life at minimum cost is obliged to do so — and we all have a duty to give to life-saving charities at minimal cost to ourselves for the same reason — because we have obligations to do good when it is at little or no cost to ourselves. The professor who could save the child and everyone who can give to charities are in analogous situations insofar as they can all save lives at minimal cost.

    Thought experiments

    These are imagined situations that can be used to illustrate a point, perhaps to prove a theory to be inconsistent. An example of such a thought experiment was when Aristotle mistakenly assumed that heavier objects would fall faster than lighter ones, and thinking so, concluded that it must therefore be true. The point of this example is that it might seem logical to have that belief, but we know that it is not true.

    Argument from absurdity

    This strategy is used either to provide evidence to disprove a belief or argument, or to prove the truth of something when to deny it would be absurd. An example might be if someone were to argue that if all humans are mammals and all humans are animals. then all animals are mammals. Whilst the two ideas are correct, the conclusion isn’t.

    Inference to the best explanation

    In this strategy, all viable explanations are considered and contrasted to determine the most likely to be true. Strengths and weaknesses of each may be considered to see which is best. However, merely inferring which explanation is the best is insufficient proof, because it may be that other explanations are plausible. Nonetheless, an inference to the best explanation could be helpful even so. An example of inference to the best explanation is the view that germs cause disease. Even though in the days before germs could be seen by using microscopes, they were thought to exist and to be the cause, so doctors routinely sterilized instruments and washed their hands, going some way to proving the hypothesis.

    Cause and effect strategy

    Typically used in writing for the social sciences. this strategy type — sometimes called causal analysis — focuses on the ”why” of an issue and the consequent effect(s). For example, why women typically get paid less than men doing the same job, and how that affects their position in society. The writer using this strategy should take into account there may be multiple and/or more complex causes and effects for what might at first sight seem a simple issue.

    Divisions strategy

    This strategy may be used to deal effectively with a broad and/or complicated topic which — if divided into more manageable parts – would be easier to explain and to understand. This strategy is sometimes expanded to be called Classification / division. Grouping ideas or topics into categories is classification; separating the subject into parts is called division. An example of division would be discussing each of the key elements of a top sports team. An example of classification would be to discuss the common denominator between (say) eggs, Swiss cheese and ice cream.

    Compare and contrast strategy

    Under this strategy, two basic formats are common: subject-by-subject and point-by-point. Both discuss the similarities (compare) and the differences (contrast) between the subjects being discussed. In the subject-by-subject approach (probably best for shorter essays), each subject is discussed and examined individually. So in comparing two sports teams, for example, start with an introductory paragraph covering both teams, then use the next paragraph(s) for the first of the two teams, before continuing with about the same number of paragraphs about the second team. The point-by-point approach works well for longer or more in-depth essays. With this type of structure the reader can more readily keep track of all the points raised. Staying with the example of two sports teams, you might want to discuss tactics of each team. After the introduction and your thesis statement. present each subject point-by-point, but covering both teams for each point before moving on to the next.

    Narrative strategy

    Narrative writing tells a story. Its principal feature is that it spans time. A narrative often (but not always) is written in chronological order. The thesis of a narrative essay is the telling of the story — usually a true story for a narrative essay, which might be for example, a case study. or a historical account. However, a narrative essay usually has an objective other than simply telling the story, perhaps using the specific account to illustrate a wider picture or series of events.

    Description strategy

    The description strategy entails writing essays to create an involved and vivid experience for the reader, who should find the account so real that they almost feel they could touch the object, person or place being described. Good descriptive essays achieve this by including really detailed observations and descriptions. Sometimes a descriptive essay focuses on a memory or experience, in fact descriptive writing can be about anything that you can perceive or experience.

    Exemplification strategy

    The strategy of writing an exemplification essay typically involves providing a number of examples to support a generalization about something (the essay thesis). The examples — which can be brief, comprehensive. or both — act as supporting material, either to explain or to clarify the general subject.


    This article uses material from the Wikipedia article Rhetorical strategies. that was deleted or is being discussed for deletion, which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

  • How to Write a Rhetorical Analysis Essay

    How to Write a Rhetorical Analysis Essay How to Write a Rhetorical Analysis Essay

    In this article, we will share guidelines to help you know how to write a rhetorical analysis essay without a challenge. But first lets see what is a rhetorical essay; A rhetorical analysis essay is an essay written about television shows, films, artwork collections, texts and other communication forms that try to make a statement to a given audience.

    To write a good rhetorical analysis essay, it is imperative to determine the manner in which the writer or original work creator attempts to make in his or her argument. Additionally, information on whether the argument was successful or not should be included.

    Guidelines on how to write a rhetorical analysis essay

    The following guidelines will help you know how to write a rhetorical analysis essay without difficulties.

    Purpose -is what the speaker or an author wants to analyze. In this case, it is essential to clearly understand the intentions of a writer.

    The audience – is the group of people who may be or may not be persuaded by the document being analyzed. Therefore, you must always understand who the targeted audience is. Is it a group of students or a group of college tutors?

    Strategy -this involves understanding the purpose of the paper and choosing the most ideal strategy to convince the target audience.

    The rhetorical triangle is also enhanced by the elements of a rhetorical analysis which you should also understand and they include

    Occasionthis an element of a rhetorical analysis essay that refers to the context and text under which, the information was written. For instance, there is always a great difference between a scholarly conference essay and a letter written to a scholar in the same field.

    Subjectin a rhetorical essay refers to the topic that the author is discussing in the text.

    How to write a rhetorical analysis essay and the keys to a successful paper

    Having an idea of the elements that make up a good rhetorical analysis essay, it is imperative to master the keys to writing a successful paper.

    First of all, it is essential to start your paper with a rhetorical triangle. This can be done efficiently by identifying the purpose of the author, identifying the target audience and discerning any primary rhetorical strategies.

    Additionally, you should identify the strategic purpose or the intent. This is the purpose of the author including each word and detail that has been chosen. Ask why and how the writer chose to shape the feelings and thoughts of the audience.

    The next step is to find any embedded quotes in the piece being analyzed. However, you should only quote the most essential words and embed them using your own words.

    With embedded words, answer the two most important words that make up a rhetorical analysis essay, how and why. In this case, whenever the words of an author are presented, ask yourself, why did the author say that and does the choice of words shape the feelings and thoughts of target audience? Answer these questions in writing.

    Always follow the argument for a successful essay. In many cases, writers will always develop their positions and it is wise that follow this kind of development.

    Strive for complexity and more specifically if the creator or the author employs the use of details or words that make one point. However, ensure to write them in one single paragraph.

    End your paper with an analysis. The last paragraph of your essay should be an analysis of the words of an author. Therefore, conclude by offering an explanation on how the author’s words are tailor made to win over the target audience.

    Strategies on how to write a rhetorical analysis essay

    There are different approaches to writing a rhetorical analysis essay that will help you draft an excellent paper and they include

    • The use of figurative language including similes and metaphors- they are creative comparisons used in writing a rhetorical analysis essay and helps the audience to visualize the work and ideas of an author better. In this case, focus on the rhetorical triangle because it is a visual metaphor for the rhetorical process.
    • Use analogies because they help in making comparisons
    • Emotional appeals are significant in rhetorical analysis because they explain how the writer targets the emotions of audiences
    • Logical appeals on the other hand explain the way in which the intelligence of audience is targeted by the writer
    • Always attempt to establish the credibility of a writer, by determining how he or she wins the trust of audiences
    • Use repetition because it is a strategy that enhances memory recall
    • Diction is also a writing a strategy that involves the use of emotionally charged words and patterns of words to create a message or a theme
    • Standout sentences are essential and they help in attracting the attention of target audience
    • Tone in rhetorical analysis essay writing helps to bring out sarcasm and in an effective way
    • You should also use the cause effect argumentation in your writing for instance, if this happens, what will you do?
    • Address the opposition in your writing
    • Use historical precedents despite the fact that this falls under analogies but using it separately is a plus for your essay
    • Contrast is equally a significant approach to writing a rhetorical analysis essay because it states the position of a writer.
    • Last but not least, use selection of detail-always remember that the person making an argument in the paper can choose what you don’t see and what you see.
    The structure to follow when writing a rhetorical analysis essay

    You should always follow the right structure on how to write a rhetorical analysis essay which includes an

    State the title of the rhetoric essay, the complete name of the author, his or her description and qualifications as well as the article’s historical background if any. Offer a brief summary of the article and the intended purpose of the author

    Explain clearly who the targeted audiences are, how much knowledge does the audience have over the subject or topic being analyzed and will the audience disagree or agree with the author?

    Determine whether the readers will disagree or agree with each other, whether the author appeals to specific values that audience upholds and if any, what are those values?

    In the second body paragraph, state any appeals that the author uses. Many authors can use pathos, logos and ethos to appeal to the audience. Pathos refers to emotional messages, ethos involves creation of trust and authority to win over target audience and it many authors go an extra mile to use reliable sources. Logos on the other hand involve use of facts and statistics.

    Authors can also use a combination of appeals and in such a case, it is imperative to provide more specific examples from the work being analyzed to support your remarks in body paragraph two.

    In the third body paragraph, evaluate the efficiency of the work being analyzed. This is a strategy on how to write a rhetorical analysis essay that enables you to state your opinion. In this case, explain why you believe the author has or has not adequately accomplished his or her purpose.

    To end a rhetorical analysis essay, you need to reassert and summarize your thesis statement briefly. Restate main ideas but avoid being over repetitive especially on the points you have discussed. It is equally important to recommend any further research to make the conclusion more effective.

    Examples of Rhetorical Analysis essays Topic: A Search for Equality

    The ‘Confessions of a Female Chauvinist Sow’’, by Anne Roiphes was first featured in the New York Magazine in 1972. In the essay, Anne aims at convincing her target audience that women must put in faith the fact or idea that they are equal and not superior to men. ‘‘Women who want equality must be prepared to give it and believe in it- isucomm.iastate.edu where personal anecdotes comparison and contrast are techniques that Anne skillfully employs to write a convincing essay.

    Title: Why Privacy Matters: Debunking the Nothing to Hide Argument

    The word privacy has become ubiquitous in today’s society. We see it on almost daily basis on social media, HIPAA forms and online transactions among other features. Professor Daniel J. Solove in his essay, ‘’why privacy matters even if you have nothing to hide’’ was published in May 2011. In the essay, Daniel argues that the issue of privacy affects more than just the person hiding a wrong………………………. (Read the full rhetorical analysis essay at uwec.edu -pdf .

    Topic: Why I Won’t Buy an IPad and Think You Shouldn’t Either

    In the article BoingBoing . Cory Doctrow offers an older review of an IPad, one of the most popular products from Apple. At the time the article was being released, iPad was undoubtedly the latest product from the company to hit the market but it was not yet very popular. Cory’s career, has been entirely revolving around technology…………………….

    The purpose of the paper is to convince clients that the product is not worthy because its uses are limited, has technological issues and has the possibility of becoming obsolete – owlstg.excelsior.edu- pdf.

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