What Is Ethos, Pathos, Logos, and How to Use Rhetoric Means?

What Is Ethos, Pathos, Logos, and How to Use Rhetoric Means?
Table of Contents
  1. What Is Ethos, Pathos, Logos, and How to Use Rhetoric Means?
  2. Three Modes of Persuasion
  3. Ethos, pathos, logos: Check the definitions
  4. Ethos
  5. Pathos
  6. Logos
  7. How and When to Use ethos, pathos, and logos
  8. Illustrative examples of ethos, logos, and pathos
  9. Ethos
  10. Pathos
  11. Logos

Every student should know what ethos, pathos, logos is if he or she wants to impress the audience with persuasive speeches. Aristotle identified these rhetoric means which are used up to this day. Knowing how and when to use each of the rhetoric elements, you'll be able to improve persuasion writing skills and impress any college professor.

Three Modes of Persuasion 

More than two thousand years ago, Aristotle,  a famous Greek teacher, rhetorician, and scientist, prepared students for argumentative essay writing by talking about three basic strategies of convincing the audience concerning the particular option. By the way, in-depth knowledge of three modes of persuasion will get the audience to listen to the points a speaker has to say and support persuasive points. These concepts are also trendy and usable today. Ethos, pathos, and logos referred to these three modes of persuasion. Although the three persuasion methods come naturally to every student, the fourth rhetoric method, kairos that comes back to ancient Greece, can be a new data to some students. Rhetoric was initially concerned with three modes of persuasion, known as ethos, pathos, and logos. However, kairos, the term that identifies using own words at the right time, was an essential feature of the ancient teachings indeed. The rhetoric structure around the right time and place and ethos, pathos, and logos, having a strong impact on convincing the audience properly, will help students write an A+ grade expertise argumentative essay.

Ethos, pathos, logos: Check the definitions

These terms are known as the three central categories of rhetoric. In ancient rhetoric, people used the following persuasive writing concepts: the ethos is the moral principle; logos — the logic, the thought contained in speech; pathos — emotion, enthusiasm, embedded in speech.

The ethos of the ancient tradition means the popular strategies and agreements. Based on such data the orator is allowed to act. The pathos is the concept of speech. It is the introduction of novelty into the theme and form of speech, which represents the specification of the issue and style, i.e., an individual act of speech. Check ethos, pathos, and logos popular definitions to have a clear picture of what they are:

  • Ethos is an ethical, moral position of a person preparing his or her speech to encourage people to take specific actions, to call for a change in attitudes towards the subject of the utterance. It is most directly related to a sense of civic responsibility for the spoken or written word and its credibility.
  • Logos is an important logical idea that should be the subject of their active reflection and assimilation at the dialectic level.
  • Pathos is a form of speech expression corresponding to a situation, the purpose of a statement, which is most conducive to the understanding and assimilation of the meaning of a particular statement.

Now, let’s consider them for persuasive writing more detailed.

modes of persuasive writing


Ethos refers to the conditions the recipient of the speech offers to its creator. These conditions relate to time, place, the timing of speech. They determine part of the argumentative content of speech, at least its theme, which the recipient of speech may consider appropriate or inappropriate. A recipient has the right to reject inappropriate speech. The main sign of relevance is the topic, provided that the time, place, and the timing of speech are agreed between the participants of communication. 

Arguments to the ethos can be divided into the following subgroups:

Arguments related to the personality of the speaker; the speaker must endear himself/herself to the audience with their moral qualities: 

  • Honesty — the responsibility of the speaker for the ideas and suggestions he/she puts forward. An honest speaker speaks not only on behalf of the party, class, science, law, etc. but also personally;
  • Conscientiousness — the quality associated with honesty: the speaker should not mislead the audience. 

Arguments related to the opponent’s personality. The speaker casts doubt on the provisions put forward by the opposing side, attacks not these provisions themselves, but people who put them forward. In rhetoric, there are three types of such arguments:

  • The direct attack on the person: he/she questions the intellectual abilities, moral character or awareness of the enemy;
  • An indirect attack on the person: the speaker shows that the point of view advocated by the opponent represents the private interests of the opponent, and therefore is biased;
  • Tu quoque (and you too) (lat.) is a variant of the argument to the person when the speaker/writer indicates that the opponent's words disagree with his actions or with what he said before.

Arguments related to the morals of the audience's morals. There are arguments to:

  • Empathy;
  • Reject;
  • Reverence;
  • Tradition;
  • Common sense;
  • Mercy;
  • Taste.


Pathos is the intention of the speaker/writer who has the goal to develop a specific and exciting topic for the recipient. It is limited to the category of ethos, on the one hand, i.e., can be realized only within its place and time. Another limitation of it is the verbal means available to the speaker to establish contact with the recipient. Arguments to this mean are addressed to feelings, passions, emotions, audience.

There are two types of persuasive writing arguments to the audience: promises and threats. To correctly choose the argument, determine the audience's dominant need of the audience.

There are three types of needs:

  • Biological (food, clothing, sex, etc.), that is, associated with the maintenance and continuation of life;
  • Social, related to the notion of justice, according to which a person gives what he considers necessary to give (the need for duties) and gets what they consider fair in fact to receive (the need for rights);
  • Ideal (informational) is the need for beauty and novelty.


It is verbal means used by the speaker or writer in a given speech in the implementation of argument design. The mode requires, in addition to the embodiment of the intention, to use the built-in verbal means, the understanding of which would be available to the recipient of speech. Use it and keep in mind the following rules:

  1. Logical arguments are the basis of any reasoning, so they are concentrated in the middle of speech (in its central part).
  2. We must take care, not about the quantity, but the quality of the arguments: they should not be multiplied so much as weighed (the advice of Aristotle).
  3. It is necessary to discard weak arguments (those, which can be easily refuted).

Thus, the ethos creates favorable speech conditions, appealing to human behavior. Pathos is the source for generating the meaning. It is the verbal embodiment of this mode, which one should build.

How and When to Use ethos, pathos, and logos 

To understand the different aspects of rhetoric and make yourself more aware of what fits into creating a proper and effective persuasive argument, you should know how and when to use ethos, pathos, and logos. To omit situations when a writer misuses or overuses any of the appeals, it is necessary to have a clear imagination of the effects that ethos, pathos, and logos have on the argumentative essay. Misused or overused appeals weaken the arguments. Therefore, make sure to keep in mind such useful tips for persuasive modes' use as listed below:

  • If the argument relates to a specific day/facts/context (Ex. Valentine’s Day)a group of people(Ex. people with dogs) - Kairos.
  • If it includes a celebrity / authority figure (Ex. a doctor, a dentist, a politician) - Ethos.
  • If it includes statistics - Logos.
  • If it influences your emotions (Ex. makes you angry, sad, or emotionally happy) -Pathos.

Illustrative examples of ethos, logos, and pathos

In fact, if you conduct literary research or gain learning of persuasion, you can find creative examples of the rhetorical modes. Let's have a closer look at the examples: 

  1.  Francis preached to the birds. His pathos wasn't constrained by anything in the world, but the birds did not offer the preacher any conditions of ethos, and the very embodiment of pathos in the logo in the sermon did not affect anyone. Here is an example of pure pathos.
  2. Gulliver got into the country of Guingma. The inhabitants were polite, allowed Gulliver to speak, but he did not know their language. Therefore he couldn't explain his thoughts to them. Here is an example of the need to appeal to logos.

Check more persuasive writing examples of each mode below to have a better understanding of how to use them in everyday life.


  • A meeting is appointed at a specific place, at a particular time, and on a specific topic
  • If you are still uncertain about the paper content, please reconsider my advanced degree and fieldwork that both speak for themselves.
  • We have 50 years' expertise in good roofing contracting that ensures the quality of business services and our qualified technicians in our company; however, the most worthy evidence is decades of satisfied customers expect nothing but only the best.


  • The plan of the meeting should be thought out by the participant in connection with the time, place, and the topic of the meeting. 
  • If those people do not move soon, they are all going to die! Cannot they see the danger and evidence of staying here?
  • You should think of another effective route in case you leave later. That street is more fearing, dangerous and dark at night as far as I know compared to the daytime.


  • The participants of the meeting should use only language tools that everyone can understand. So, at the academic council of Columbia University, one can speak only in English.  
  • The statistics about the company is most clear: such investment will turn into profit year-over-year, in spite of pandemic effects and market declines.
  • Men and women of the jury: we do not have either the fingerprints, a clear motive, an alibi, and a clear reason for committing a crime nor the video of the defendant breaking in. Hence, this case would not be more nor open nor shut.


The three main categories of persuasive writing are interconnected and can be used together to convince the user. 

Remember that the best way to create a really powerful and creative psychology paper with all three modes and convince the reader emotionally is to get expert writing help. Only experienced writers will be able to write in a clear and concise manner. Feel free to apply for academic assistance any time you like!