RHETORICAL

STRATEGIES

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(1) RHETORICAL STRATEGIES:

"He who does not study rhetoric will be a victim of it."

(graffito found on a wall in Greece from the 6th century BC)

  • RHETORIC:
    • Aristotle defined rhetoric (in his famous book, Rhetoric) as the art, faculty, or "ability, in each particular case, to see the available means of persuasion" (Bk. I, Ch.2, emphasis mine).
    • The failure to understand how others utilize rhetoric or the inability to use rhetoric properly in our own work often leads to the victimization the above graffitist refers to: 
      • We cannot defend against their claims or
      • We cannot effectively support our own.
  • RHETORICAL STRATEGIES:
    • For us, then, Rhetorical Strategies are the "means" Aristotle speaks of, the methods for "finding all the available arguments" (Bk. I, Ch.2) on a particular issue,
      • those methods that allow us to convey most convincingly our point on a given topic.
    • In other words, Rhetorical Strategies assist us writers in organizing our compositions for the best effect as we attempt
      • to describe, to relate a story, to illustrate a point
      • to divide or classify, to analyze a process,
      • to compare or contrast, or to define  
    • Thus, in short, Rhetorical Strategies are ways of effectively, efficiently, and coherently presenting our material on a subject
      • in essay writing
      • in speech writing
    • Gaining familiarity and skill with these Rhetorical Strategies will help us
      • not only
      • present our arguments in the most convincing and explicit way
      • but also
      • understand another's argument
      • critique another's argument
  • AKA (Also Known As):
    • rhetorical strategies
    • rhetorical modes
    • rhetorical methods
    • rhetorical devices
    • modes of discourse

(2) THE RHETORICAL STRATEGIES:

  • Below are some of the more common Rhetorical Strategies, but there are others - many others. 
    • A few not included in the following list are Analogy, Argument, Persuasion, and Cause-and-Effect.
  • DESCRIPTION -
    • Utilize sense details and figurative language
    • to support a dominant impression concerning an object or person.
  • NARRATION -
    • Relate a story in chronological order
    • to support a moral.
  • ILLUSTRATION -
    • Illustrate a thesis of your own opinion
    • with three specific examples taken from a broad base of support.
  • PROCESS -
    • Explain the process one might go through to achieve a desired result.
    • Write in sentence and paragraph format.
    • No lists! No "recipe cards."
  • DIVISION-CLASSIFICATION -
    • Break down a broad category into at least three sub-divisions and give the general characteristics and one specific example of each.
    • Categorize elements from a large group into at least three types and give the general characteristics and one specific example of each.
  • COMPARISON and CONTRAST -
    • Show the similarities and differences between two subjects
    • often with the purpose of demonstrating a superiority or preference.
  • DEFINITION -
    • Explain the meaning of a term as you understand it.
    • Discuss at least three of its fundamental characteristics and support each with examples.
    • Utilize the other rhetorical strategies to support your thesis-definition.

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2010

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