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“Rhetoric” is the art of argument. Therefore, this essay assignment is asking you to analyze argument strategies. (Review your lecture notes on Pathos, Ethos, & Logos!) For this essay, you’ll choose an ad (or ads) from the print ads provided in the slideshow, and you’ll write thoughtfully and intelligently about the rhetorical strategies (pathos, ethos, and logos) that you see being used.


The ads I provided have a variety of goals: To persuade you to buy something, to do something, to stop doing something, and more. As you study an ad, ask yourself: What does this ad want from me? How is it going about attempting to persuade me? How many distinct types of persuasion can I pick out?


A successful rhetorical analysis essay will be thorough! Rather than selecting 3 ads and covering only the most surface-level rhetorical strategies, a successful essay will look at every detail of an ad, perhaps finding elements of all 3 strategies (pathos, ethos, and logos) within a single ad. (In other words: Whichever ads you choose, make sure you discuss them thoroughly!) A successful essay will also be specific. It’s not good enough to just say, “This ad uses pathos.” Which elements of pathos, specifically? How do you know that’s what you’re looking at? How are these elements being used? Etc.




Introduction: Introduce and briefly describe the ad (or ads) you’ll be discussing. Provide just enough description so that I know which ads you’ve chosen. Conclude your introduction with a thesis statement that outlines which specific elements of pathos, ethos, & logos you’ll be discussing.


Body Paragraphs: You may order your essay according to which ad you’re discussing (one paragraph for each ad), or according to the appeals you’re discussing (a paragraph for pathos, one for logos, etc.)


Conclusion: Restate your thesis and discuss whether or not you think the ads your essay covered were successful.


The specific aspects of rhetoric that we discussed in class include …


  • Pathos (appealing to emotion through the use of meaningful language, emotional tone, emotion-evoking examples, emotion-evoking anecdotes, connotative words, repetition, figurative language, etc.)
  • Ethos (appealing to credibility and trust through the use of language appropriate to the subject, sounding fair and reasonable, referencing expertise and authority, using correct language, etc.)
  • Logos (appealing to logic through the use of facts, data, statistics, studies, analogies, and inductive and deductive reasoning)
  • NOTE: Some of these ads contain logical fallacies! If your ad contains a logical fallacy, you may choose to discuss this as well.


Your essay must also meet the following basic requirements:

  • Include a formal header (name, date, class, and my name)
  • Include the title, “Rhetorical Analysis Essay”
  • Double-spaced throughout and at least 4 full pages long.
Rhetorical Analysis Essay Assignment
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