Pathos, Logos, and Ethos (2024)

Most people are able to drive a car without fully understanding how the car operates. Making an argument is the same way. Most of us attempt to persuade people every day without understanding how persuasion works. Learning how a strong argument is crafted empowers us to better communicate and persuade others to understand our viewpoints.

What Are Pathos, Logos, and Ethos?

Ethos, Pathos, and Logos are three strategies commonly employed when attempting to persuade a reader.

Pathos, or the appeal to emotion, means to persuade an audience by purposely evoking certain emotions to make them feel the way the author wants them to feel. Authors make deliberate word choices, use meaningful language, and use examples and stories that evoke emotion. Authors can desire a range of emotional responses, including sympathy, anger, frustration, or even amusem*nt.

Logos, or the appeal to logic, means to appeal to the audiences’ sense of reason or logic. To use logos, the author makes clear, logical connections between ideas, and includes the use of facts and statistics. Using historical and literal analogies to make a logical argument is another strategy. There should be no holes in the argument, also known as logical fallacies, which are unclear or wrong assumptions or connections between ideas.

Ethos is used to convey the writer’s credibility and authority. When evaluating a piece of writing, the reader must know if the writer is qualified to comment on this issue. The writer can communicate their authority by using credible sources; choosing appropriate language; demonstrating that they have fairly examined the issue (by considering the counterargument); introducing their own professional, academic or authorial credentials; introducing their own personal experience with the issue; and using correct grammar and syntax.

Sample Paragraph

Imagine this: a small dog sits in a dark, cold garage. His hair is matted and dirty; he is skinny and weak from going days without food. There is no water for him to drink, no person to give him love and no blanket to keep him warm at night.1 While this might be a hard scenario to imagine, it is not an uncommon one in America today. According to the Humane Society of the United States, nearly 1,000,000 animals are abused or die from abuse every year.2 As a veterinarian with 30 years of experience, I have seen how even one incident of abuse can affect an animal for the rest of its life.3 As a society, we need to be more aware of this terrible problem and address this issue before it getsworse.

1Pathos: the author paints a vivid picture to evoke a feeling from the reader—sadness and pity for the abused animal.

2Logos: the author uses a startling statistic to appeal to our intellect. Keep in mind that these three strategies can often overlap. This sentence qualifies as both Logos and Ethos because it cites a reputable organization, so we know the author is using credible sources.

3Ethos: the author establishes their own credibility by stating their occupation and experience.>

How Do I Know if the Author is Using Pathos, Logos or Ethos?

Pathos—does the writer appeal to the emotions of their reader?

  • Do they use individuals’ stories to “put a face” on the problem you’re exploring? For example, using an individual’s story about losing their home during the mortgage crisis of the 2008 Recession may be more powerful than using only statistics.
  • Do they use charged language or words that carry appropriate connotations? For example, if a writer describes a gun as a “sleek, silver piece of sophisticated weaponry,” they are delivering a much different image than if she writes, “a cold hunk of metal, dark and barbaric and ready to kill.”

Logos—does the writer appeal to the rational mind by using logic and evidence?

  • Do they include facts and statistics that support their point? It’s more convincing to tell the reader that “80% of students have committed some form of plagiarism,” than simply saying that “Lots of students have plagiarized.”
  • Do they walk us through the logical quality of their argument? Do they show us how ideas connect in a rational way? For example: “English students have been able to raise their overall grade by meeting with peer tutors, so it’s safe to assume that math students could also benefit from frequent tutoring sessions.” This example points out that logically, if the result has been seen in one situation, then it should be seen in a different but similar situation.
  • Do they avoid logical fallacies? A few examples of these are:
    • Hasty generalizations: “Even though the movie just started, I know it’s going to be boring.”
    • Slippery Slope: “If the government legalizes marijuana, eventually they’ll legalize all drugs.”
    • Circular Argument: “Barack Obama is a good communicator because he speaks effectively.”

Ethos—is this writer trustworthy?

  • What are their credentials? Are they an expert in the field? Have they written past essays, articles or books about this topic?
  • Do they use reputable sources? Do they support her statements with sources from established publications like The New York Times or a government census report? Do they fail to mention any sources?
  • Are they a fair-minded person who has considered all sides of this issue? Have they acknowledged any common ground they share with the opposite side? Do they include a counterargument and refutation?

Learn more about the Rhetorical Analysis Graphic Organizer.

Learn more about the Rhetorical Analysis Sample Essay.

Pathos, Logos, and Ethos (2024)


Pathos, Logos, and Ethos? ›

Logos appeals to the audience's reason, building up logical arguments. Ethos appeals to the speaker's status or authority, making the audience more likely to trust them. Pathos appeals to the emotions

appeals to the emotions
Appeal to emotion fallacy occurs when someone tries to win an argument by evoking emotion, without using facts or logic. Arguments that appeal to our emotions often attempt to influence our viewpoints in a manipulative way. › fallacies › appeal-to-emotion
, trying to make the audience feel angry or sympathetic, for example.

What is an example of logos? ›

Logos is the use of evidence and reasoning to persuasively support a claim. For example, a speaker claims that "teen pregnancy has decreased in the last five years" by citing studies that show a significant decrease in teenage pregnancy.

What is an example of ethos? ›

Some examples of ethos include: Advertisem*nts where doctors recommend a product. Murder mysteries where the main character is a professional detective. Political speeches where a candidate talks about their relevant experience.

What are the 3 types of appeals? ›

Aristotle taught that a speaker's ability to persuade an audience is based on how well the speaker appeals to that audience in three different areas: logos, ethos, and pathos. Considered together, these appeals form what later rhetoricians have called the rhetorical triangle.

What is an example of a pathos? ›

Pathos: Appeal to Emotions

For example, many of us have seen the ASPCA commercials that use photographs of injured puppies, or sad-looking kittens, and slow, depressing music to emotionally persuade their audience to donate money. This is a classic example of the use of pathos in argument.

What is pathos vs ethos vs logos? ›

Logos appeals to the audience's reason, building up logical arguments. Ethos appeals to the speaker's status or authority, making the audience more likely to trust them. Pathos appeals to the emotions, trying to make the audience feel angry or sympathetic, for example.

How to identify logos in writing? ›

To use logos, the author makes clear, logical connections between ideas, and includes the use of facts and statistics. Using historical and literal analogies to make a logical argument is another strategy.

What is ethos for dummies? ›

Ethos is a Greek word meaning 'character'. In terms of persuasive language, it is an appeal to authority and credibility. Ethos is a means of convincing an audience of the reliable character or credibility of the speaker/writer, or the credibility of the argument.

Which sentence is an example of ethos? ›

Examples of ethos in a Sentence

The company made environmental awareness part of its business ethos. They are working to keep a democratic ethos alive in the community.

What's in ethos? ›

In short, ethos is about the speaker or writer, pathos is about the audience, and logos is about the message or text itself. Keep in mind that you do not have to use all three appeals in every argument. The context of communication and the topic at hand will determine what is the best strategy.

What appeal is the best example of logos? ›

Ever told someone to “listen to reason” during an argument? This is what logos does. The best logos advertisem*nt examples are when a speaker appeals to logic. Statistics, surveys, facts, and historical data can make a product seem like a more reasonable decision.

How to use ethos, pathos, and logos? ›

Ethos is about establishing your authority to speak on the subject, logos is your logical argument for your point and pathos is your attempt to sway an audience emotionally.

How to appeal to ethos? ›

Does the writer provide complete and accurate information about the issue? Does the writer use the evidence fairly? Does he or she avoid selective use of evidence or other types of manipulation of data? Fair incorporation of credible evidence from authoritative, accessible sources builds ethos.

What are examples of logos? ›

Logos is an argument that appeals to an audience's sense of logic or reason. For example, when a speaker cites scientific data, methodically walks through the line of reasoning behind their argument, or precisely recounts historical events relevant to their argument, he or she is using logos.

What are examples of ethos? ›

Ethos – Calls to human ethics; the author establishes a sense of persuasion through the use of their own credibility, status, professionalism, research, or the credibility of their sources. EX: If my years as a Marine taught me anything, it's that caution is the best policy in this sort of situation.

What are some good pathos? ›

You can see examples of pathos in language that draws on your audience's emotions: If we don't move soon, we're all going to die! Can't you see how dangerous it would be to stay? I'm not just invested in this community — I love every building, every business, every hard-working member of this town.

Which statements are examples of logos? ›

The statements 'The number of individuals who experience identity theft is up 25 percent from the previous year' and 'As a neurologist, I advise people to consider taking 30-minute breaks every hour to help with work fatigue' are examples of logos as they rely on factual data and expert reasoning respectively.

What is a simple sentence for logos? ›

Examples from the Collins Corpus

) Second drawer, scratch pads and packs of adhesive memos with album and record company logos on them. Judging by the logos, she hadn't been to Safeway for a frozen chicken.

Which activity is an example of logos? ›

Expert-Verified Answer. The activity that is an example of logos appeal in a wartime speech is showing an audience charts and maps of military strength.

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