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English 10 Honors: American Literature
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English 12/LIT 115
English 10 Honors: American Literature » Introduction to Rhetoric

Introduction to Rhetoric Introduction to Rhetoric
Analyzing rhetoric and the rhetorical situation

For the handouts, please click on the links below.

A Useful Definition of Rhetoric


Rhetoric refers to two things:


  • the art of analyzing all the choices involving language that writer, speaker, reader, or listener might make in a situation so that the text becomes meaningful, purposeful, and effective;
  • the specific features of texts, written or spoken, that cause them to be meaningful, purposeful, and effective for readers or listeners in a situation.


Being Skilled at Rhetoric


  • Being skilled at rhetoric not only means being able to make good speeches and write good papers, but it also means having the ability to read other people’s compositions and listen to their spoken works with a discerning eye and a critical ear.
  • Being skilled at rhetoric means reading not only to understand the main and supporting points of what someone writes, but also to analyze the decisions the rhetor makes as he or she works to accomplish a purpose for a specific audience.
  • Being skilled at rhetoric means being able to plan and write compositions, not just write them.
  • Being skilled at rhetoric means being able to examine a situation—in school, in your community, in society as a whole—and to determine what has already been said and written, what remains unresolved, and what you might say or write to continue the conversation or persuade readers to take action.


From: Rothskelly and Jolliffe: Everyday Use, © 2005 by Pearson Education






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