What are Rhetorical Strategies? Examples of rhetorical strategies

What is rhetoric?

Rhetoric is an art of persuasion. Aristotle made this worthwhile contribution of strategies that help develop a persuasive tone of communication. They are called rhetorical strategies.

Types of rhetorical strategies

There are these four Aristotelian rhetorical strategies also called ‘modes of persuasion’:

  • Ethos
  • Pathos
  • Logos and
  • Kairos

That demands development of communication skills to be effective and make everyone believe you even if you are lying. Just kidding! However, there is no doubt that ethical, rhetorical strategies can make wonder.


Ethos is when an argument is based on the credibility, ethics and moral standing of the speaker. The social status or public image of the speaker decides how he persuades, how effective his words are and what change they make.

For instance, doctors, sportsmen and celebrities with huge fan following endorse brands and products because viewers believe they are trustworthy, kind and fair. Other than that we all have role models who we admire and aspire to be like them. We align our thoughts, style and living with our role models.

Examples of rhetorical strategies (Ethos)

Your statistics’ professor says, ‘he has observed most of the students failing in statistics are those who do not practice properly’. You become conscious and start studying from the beginning of semester.

Dr. Fulani says in a commercial, ‘Sensodyne toothpaste is a solution to sensitivity.’ Public went to buy it because a doctor knows it well.

Beat sensitivity pain
Beat sensitivity pain

The figures and the doctor make it reliable.

Consider some situations when Tehmina the todka (health tip) giver says, “toothpaste is good for skin and pimples”. An aunty who is a hospital in herself says, “long, ginger, onion juice… can treat coronavirus.” A dismantled Baba ji says he can change your fate. Would you believe it? No, because they do not have credible knowledge, nor the hacks are some proven methods to be trusted. Just like an economist cannot forecast weather, a dealer cannot teach mathematics and science, a sportsman cannot run a country, a doctor cannot advise on economy. You do not roam around asking a doctor to advise on economy. Due to the lack of knowledge and credibility, they cannot persuade people to follow them, until and unless they are in Pakistan! XD :D. Nor you tape your life tale to anyone randomly until they are reciprocating and giving you a reason to share.


Pathos is when a speaker tries to appeal to the emotions of listeners or viewers. When emotions are triggered, they make a person agree or disagree and act in a way desired by the speaker.

Examples of rhetorical strategies (Pathos)

‘Fair and lovely 7 days fairness challenge’, ‘get fair skin in 7 days’

The beauty products and fairness creams trigger emotions of viewers. They get convinced that they need those products to look attractive, otherwise, how will society accept them?!

In cases of #MashalKhan, #Zainab, the public outrage and demand for justice was due to hyped up human emotions. Some videos of them were shown on the internet, people got upset and they came on streets to protest against the murderers, rapists and oppressors.

‘Do it for your country’ When PM Imran Khan wanted to collect dam-fund, he appealed patriotism and reminded Pakistani citizens of their duty towards their country. People reacted to this call of duty and a huge amount of contribution was made.

You say, ‘tell me because I care for you.’

You want to get closer to your new friend but she is an introvert and is too reluctant to share her secrets with you. What are you going to do? You do not force her for anything. You are supposed to share your secrets, story and everything to make her willing.


The term means logic. The strategy- Logos is used in an argument to convince the listeners through logic and reasoning. It triggers the thought process of people. Facts or logical deduction has an effect that no one can nullify.

Examples of rhetorical strategies (Logos)

Mercury is the nearest planet to the sun, so mercury must be gazillion times hotter than earth.

Millions of people have died of coronavirus (COVID’19), it is obvious that corona virus is deadly.

The world economy went through a 12% contraction/ drop during the first quarter of 2020. Businesses are shut and thousands of employees lost their jobs, this indicates that the COVID’19 pandemic is causing recession and economic crash.  


Kairos means the opportune moment, it is about right, right place, right person, right context. Everything has a right time and we should take care of time and space when saying something. A statement at the right time may strengthen our argument but if it is not the time, it may spoil everything.

Examples of rhetorical strategies (Kairos)

You and your siblings are hungry when you say ‘let’s go to café’, they all will agree. If you are practicing for a very important exam and you suggest going to a café, everyone will give strange looks.

Suppose you and your friend are at a wedding party and ready to attack the food, do you consider reminding him that he must go on a diet ? No, because it is not the right time. Or suppose you laugh during a serious situation like a funeral, dude you are gone! It is not the right place.

Moreover, Kairos helps strengthen your argument of Ethos, Pathos and Logos. It is necessary that you know when to throw facts and when and where to trigger emotions.

Use of Ethos, Pathos, Logos and Kairos in different situations

There are some supporting instances for comparison. Like when you have met a car accident and are lying on a hospital bed, this is time to emotionally blackmail your mother. You can have all your favorite dishes cooked, TV remote, dream car, dream girl accepted by your mom. Or when you see your father having a cup of tea in one hand and a lit cigarette in the other, you can ask for anything. This is the right time, place and person, you can have his property and wealth written on your name…just kidding!

On the contrary, you do not ask your bankrupt, jobless buddy to go on a world tour, party and enjoy life. If you do, you know what will happen, they will ask you for money XD. This is a wrong statement at the wrong place and time. You do not mess with an angry gym trainer. You do not exaggerate your wealth in front of Bill Gates haha! Nor do you argue with your already angry wife, you just accept your fault. You do not offer vodka to your driver unless you want to die!

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