Quick Write

What is an argument?


Many ways to argue. Different ways to argue. No one way is correct. It changes depending on region, audience, and message. It even changes by gender. Circular logic and linear logic. 


Ethos is about values. In rhetoric we connect ethos to character, credibility, and trustworthiness. At their core, these concepts have to do with values. We tend to believe and trust those individuals who exemplify the values we cherish, who live the sort of life that we would want to live.

 Ethos Handout from University of Maryland

5 Ways to Persuade with Character (Ethos) | How to Craft an Argument

 Ethos is inferred, NOT possessed. Five strategies for persuading through character from the video.
  1. Personal info
  2. Sources
  3. Identification with Audience
  4. Point of View
  5. Balanced Presentation

Presidential Hats

Trump in Cowboy Hat
Obama in Cowboy Hat
Bush in Cowboy Hat

Ethics and Rhetoric

The Nation of Immigrants Myth

A very persuasive article that doesn’t argue ethically, fairly, and uses fallacies.

The lesson here is you should be ethical and fair. You should seek to argue for the truth, not an agenda you might have.

Understanding Audience

Audience is quite possibly the most important thing to consider when writing an argument. You need to appeal to them, understand their problems, values, and beliefs, in order to convince them of your point of view.

  • Who your audience is should influence how you present your argument.
  • Who your audience is should influence how you present yourself.
  • Determine what is important to your audience. What do they really care about? What do they value?
  • Are your argument claims in line with those values?

“I Have a Dream” Speech

Martin Luther King Jr. gave one of the best speeches in history. How does he develop his ethos? How does he use appeals to emotion and logic to get us to see his perspective. How does he persuade us to see the truth he knows? 

Write down some examples of ethos, logos, and pathos from the speech. 

Casso “Worth the Lie”

What argument is Casso responding to? What is Casso’s argument?

How does Casso support the argument they are making? Find examples of ethos, pathos, and logos. 


  1. Sort of cost-benefit analysis
  2. Measuring praise and blame
  3. Making the weaker argument the stronger one, playing devil’s advocate