Rhetorical Strategies

Rhetorical Strategies

“Why do writers write? Because it isn’ t there.” – Thomas Berger

Rhetoric is the method a writer or speaker uses to communicate ideas to an audience.

The strategy is a plan or a course of action to reach a goal.

Rhetorical strategy is the specific approach or approaches a writer employs to achieve an intended purpose.

#1 - What is your purpose?

Purpose is the reason why you or any other person chooses to communicate with an audience – the goal, the intended effect. Do you want...

• To inform

• To entertain

• To question

• To argue

• To elicit an emotional response

#2 - How the writer accomplishes the purpose/goal is the rhetorical strategy. You can use...

• Cause/effect

• Classification/division

• Contrast/comparison

• Definition

• Description

• Exemplification

• Narration

• Process/analysis

For example, if you want to use exemplification or example

The fundamental ways a writer can illustrate, support and clarify ideas include referring to a

• Sample

• Detail

• Personal

• Typical event

This ball was given to me by my personal trainer to strengthen my tennis grip.

#3 - Now you need to make some decisions about organization. How will you present your examples to your audience?

You can choose from the following patterns:

• Spatial (where it fits within a physical area)

• Chronological (time sequence, first to last)

• Most important to least important

• The one I want to emphasize first

• Least important to most important

• The one I want to emphasize last

#4 - You have decided on a subject, purpose, audience, appropriate examples, and their organization.

How do you let the reader all of this in a single sentence?
Think about your...

Subject: quirky prewriting activity

Purpose: illustrate the ritual

Examples: brushing back hair, tapping the pen, doodling using circles, humming while writing

Organization: chronological order (revealed by the word before)

Write this information as a thesis statement or assertion:

Before actually putting pen to paper, I perform a peculiar prewriting ritual.

Consider a thesis checklist:

Does this statement clearly indicate the subject?

Does this statement give the reader a clear idea of the purpose?

Does this statement indicate the actual examples that will be developed?

Does this statement hint at the examples that will be used?

Does this statement give the reader an idea of the organization?

Do the examples adequately support the thesis?

Are the examples representative of indicated categories?

Are the examples relevant to the purpose?