Common Persuasive Techniques

Persuasion Is All Around You!
“Can You Hear Me Now?”
What is persuasion?
A means of convincing people:
 to buy a certain product
 to believe something or act in a certain
 to agree with a point of view
Common persuasive techniques
often used in writing
Logical (rational)
 Emotional appeal
 Ethical appeal
 Rhetorical devices (question)
 Parallelism
Logical: builds a well-reasoned
argument based on evidence, such
as facts, statistics, or expert
“OnStar service inside your car is better
than carrying a cell phone because a cell
phone can’t call for you when you’re
Logical appeal in writingA rational appeal against hunting, on the
other hand, might begin as follows:
"Every year sportsmen buy their hunting
licenses and legally kill the state allotted
limit of animals; however, evidence shows
that this practice must be stopped because
the annual "harvest" always exceeds the
ability of nature to replenish the dwindling
animal supply...."
Emotional Appeal: attempts to arouse
the audience’s feelings, often by using
loaded words that convey strong
Writers and
advertisers use
many techniques
to convince you
to agree with
them or buy
their product.
Emotional appeal in writingIf you are writing an essay against hunting,
for example, an emotional appeal might
begin as follows:
"Every year hundreds of bloodthirsty killers
go out and ruthlessly slaughter thousands
of innocent, helpless animals...."
Obviously, many words in the previous
sentence are emotionally charged.
Ethical Appeal: linked to the audience’s
perception of the trustworthiness and
credibility of the speaker or writer.
Nike combines the images of a
young Jackie Joyner-Kersee with the
mature athlete in an ad that
announces Nike's P.L.A.Y.
(Participate in the Lives of America's
Youth) campaign, a campaign
sponsored by Nike to promote the
athletic endeavors of young children.
Using Joyner-Kersee's story and
image helps add ethical appeal to
the campaign, since she gives
testimony to the importance of
athletics in her life.
Rhetorical questions: asking
questions for effect, not to get
A statement suggesting that everyone is
using a specific product, so you should
"Aren't you glad you use Dial?
Don't you wish everybody did?"
(1960s television advertisement for Dial soap)
Rhetorical Questions continued…
A rhetorical question implies its own
answer; it’s a way of making a point.
 “Aren’t you ashamed of yourself?”
 “What business is it of yours?”
 “How did that idiot ever get elected?”
“What is so rare as a day in June?”
These aren’t questions in the usual sense,
but statements in the form of a question.
Parallelism: repeating a grammatical
Parallelism takes place when two similar
phrases are joined to make just one
 For example:
Tom plays the piano.
Tom plays the violin.
Parallelism = Tom plays the piano and
the violin.
Parallelism continued…
Jack eats fish and chicken.
Sarah writes poetry and short stories.
Our neighbors have moved and have sold their house.
My sister walks or rides her bike to work.
The class is not only fun but also helpful.
She is not only strong but also fast.
Peter drives quickly and aggressively.
They work carefully and effectively.
Parallelism continued…
Parallelism can also take place with
phrases. This type of parallel structure can
be more difficult to recognize as the
sentences are more complex.
 Here are some examples:
Having fun is as important as working
She advised me to get some sleep and
take some time off work.
Speech from “Miracle”
Repetition – Parallel Structure
Great moments are born from great opportunity. And
that’s what you have here tonight, boys. That’s what
you’ve earned here, tonight. One game. If we played
‘em ten times, they might win nine. But not this game.
Not tonight. Tonight, we skate with ‘em. Tonight, we
stay with 'em, and we shut them down because we
can! Tonight, we are the greatest hockey team in the
world. You were born to be hockey players -- every
one of ya. And you were meant to be here tonight. This
is your time. Their time -- is done. It's over. I'm sick and
tired of hearin' about what a great hockey team the
Soviets have. Screw'em! This is your time!! Now go out
there and take it!
Quick review
Logical (rational)
 Emotional appeal
 Ethical appeal
 Rhetorical devices (question)
 Parallelism