Pathos, as Lunsford put it, are “arguments based on emotion”. When a writer or speaker is using pathos, an appeal is trying to be made toward the emotions of an audience in order to influence them over to the side of the speaker. Such things as “words, images, and sounds can arouse emotions”, which gives a lot of potential tools for the speaker to work with. The thing about pathos is that when you argue a point based on emotion over anything else, persuasion is the way to go and not actually arguing. A person gets farther with their audience when he is seeking to persuade rather than throw his arguments at them. The difference between persuasion and argument? Well, with persuasion, the writer wants his audience “to take action”. Whereas, with argument, the speaker is trying to “convince that something is true”. Pathos has to do with wrapping your audience’s minds around what you are wanting to persuade, usually aided through personal chatter such as indulging them by letting them know you are speaking from personal experience. Additionally, humor such as what is oh so frequently used in plenty of speeches today, is an aspect of pathos and the emotional argument. Jokes help to lighten a mood, relax an audience, if all goes well even putting the audience into a more malleable state.


Ethos, as Lunsford put it, are “arguments based on character”. The fact that these types of arguments are based on character lets you know that what they are appealing to are values and that such things cannot possibly stimulate every varying type of audience. Here in ethos, we have the importance of reputation bringing more credibility to an argument and by extension to its persuasive power. “Authority, trust, and motives” count when it comes to listening to an argument based on ethos. A reader has to keep in mind what the reasonings are suspected to be behind the writer’s arguments, what motived the writer to say the things he’s saying, how much he can be trusted, and whether or not he even has the authority to say what he is claiming. Ethos encompasses the writer’s honesty and respect for his audience. If they aren’t being respected, then what should keep an audience listening to a speaker such as that? Better yet, why would they ever want to agree with a speaker who disrespects them as a group? They wouldn’t! Here, details, appearance, and presentation matter on a large scale. These types of arguments require the message to be clearly conveyed, sources cited, and details, details, details.


Logos, as Lunsford put it, are “arguments based on fact and reason”. He drew an interesting little parallel to the fact that Spock, and his race the Vulcans, approach all of their arguments in this way. Logos also seeks to persuade, but such methods require solid evidence of both hard and factual nature. Evidence gives credence to a claim; it makes the case plausible and capable of being listened to. A writer or a speaker here is trying to get his readers or listeners to believe him, which is why facts are necessary. Statistics, polls, and surveys are also a common part of logos as they can be used as a form of evidence in order to point out specific facts or majority views or what have you, such as when a decision is helped to be made based on a majority vote. Speakers here would probably want to use such techniques as telling anecdotes of the variety that can back up their arguments, providing evidence of the speaker’s own human experience relating to the topic and thus supporting their arguments. Analogies are also a useful part of this, as certain analogies can bring clarity to an audience of otherwise difficult to understand portions of a topic. Like Spock, with logos people seek to fuel the fires of their arguments with logic, reasoning, and common sense.