In a certain sense, a rhetorical device employs words to convey or persuade meanings. It can also be an emotional technique in the audience or the reader.
Skilled writers use a wide range of rhetorical devices to achieve certain effects in their work. Some types of rhetorical devices may also be considered as figurative languages because their use of certain words or sentences is unliteral.
Why do authors use rhetorical devices in essays?
I will take a closer look at four rhetorical devices used in essays, from their roots to their uses in creating an emotional impact on the reader.
Reason versus emotion
The first rhetorical device I want to look at is one that often makes it into the opening paragraphs of many articles, and which most readers will know as argumentative. Many writers use this method to get their ideas across, but without using any positive language.
By using argumentative language, you are arguing, as opposed to using statements, the problem, suggesting a resolution or correcting a flaw. Using argumentative language can also show that the writer is confident in the truth of what they are saying.
I rarely see this in articles which have been published in the first person. If this is what you want to achieve, I would suggest saying “I say” instead of saying “the message I want to send out.”
Usually, you will want to avoid using argumentative language in the opening paragraphs, as this is usually the section where your reader reads about the problem or the issue the article addresses. If the problem is not raised, they will start to feel bored, and not have any idea what the solution is.
Instead of using argumentative language, it is advisable to use more positive language, by saying that you are arguing or showing that the issue is important.
By using argumentative language, you are arguing, as opposed to using statements, the problem, suggesting a resolution or correcting a flaw.
Ad hominem argument
An ad hominem argument is an argument using an insult or criticism against a particular person. When you use an ad hominem argument, you are focusing on a single person rather than the issue. This is often done in the form of a personal attack.
A personal attack is an attack on a particular person rather than the issue, which can be used to discredit a character. It can also be used to suggest that a certain person has an advantage over someone else.
This often happens in personal attacks on religious and racial groups.
Instead of using a personal attack, you will generally want to use more positive language. A personal attack may stir emotions but it doesn’t always deliver the information you are trying to convey.
When you use a thought experiment, you are attempting to get your reader to empathize with your character.
By using the thought experiment, you are suggesting that your reader is in a situation similar to your character’s situation. In order to do this, you may use an emotional description to create a sense of loss, or the sense that your character is at risk.
These types of emotional descriptions are usually avoided by many writers. Instead, you will often use non-emotional language in the opening paragraphs, using terms such as “grief” and “surprise” to help show the importance of the information you are trying to convey.
The purpose of using a thought experiment is to get the reader to think about their own situation, and it can be used to create a deep connection between the reader and the characters in the story.
The writer is suggesting that the reader has a point of view similar to the character’s, in the hope that the reader will empathize with the character’s situation, and give the character the same feeling.
The aim of your article should be to persuade readers to change their behavior, either by changing their behavior or by informing the reader about an issue or concern. This is known as a persuasion strategy.
If you follow the guidelines in this article, you should be able to persuade the reader to change their behavior.
While you may use a range of methods in your articles, the aim of each strategy is to get your reader to use their own behavior in a way that makes sense to them.
There is no single way to persuade your readers to act in a particular way, and each technique can be used in different combinations.
Remember, the goal is to get the reader to change their behavior, rather than to persuade them to agree with you or to think the same as you do.
It is important to remember that it is important for you to have an open mind, so that you can learn from other people’s points of view.
List of Rhetorical Devices and Examples