Examples

Modes of Persuasion: Logos

Logos or the appeal to logic, means to convince an audience by use of logic or reason.

To use logos would be to cite facts and statistics, historical and literal analogies, and citing certain authorities on a subject. Logos is the Greek word for “word,” however the true definition goes beyond that, and can be most closely described as “the word or that by which the inward thought is expressed" and, "the inward thought itself" (1). The word “logic” is derived from logos.

 

Logos can be developed by using advanced, theoretical or abstract language, citing facts (very important), using historical and literal analogies, and by constructing logical arguments.

Logos in Academic Writing

In academic writing, a writer uses logos by supporting his or her thesis with evidence from credible sources and by clearly and logically arranging his or her argument. Evidence can be facts, statistics, historical references, scientific findings, or even literary allusions. All evidence should be true and from credible sources. Sources should also be relevant, properly cited, and in most cases current.

The objective of academic writing is to compel readers to buy into a thesis by making that thesis easy to comprehend and accept. If a paper presents an argument that is confusing or illogical, readers will not find it convincing; therefore, academic writing must flow and avoid logical fallacies. Gaps or leaps in logic will diminish a piece’s logos, as will generalizations or broad statements supported by little evidence. 

Logos in academic writing also depends heavily on audience awareness. Addressing readers’ concerns with logical solutions and directly refuting their counter arguments are effective ways to include logos and convince an audience to accept a thesis. 

Logos in Advertising 

Advertisers use logos to convince people to invest money and/or time into a product, service, event, person, or organization. The purpose of an advertisement is to get people to do something that will ultimately benefit the advertiser, and logos is an important tool advertisers use to reach their target audiences and achieve their marketing goals.

Logos is commonly used in advertisements having to do with nutrition, money, performance, or politics, which can all be shown with numbers. Think calories, financial returns, miles per gallon, employment rates, etc. Numbers and statistics are compelling ways advertisers use logos to convince people to buy what they’re selling.  

Another common way advertisers use logos is by presenting an “if/then” argument. By using convincing images and/or language, many ads lead consumers to believe that if they purchase a product or service, then they will have more fulfilling lives or be more attractive, successful people; if they do what the ad suggests, then they will solve a problem the ad has convinced them they have.  

Take a look at the Popchips ad below for an example of logos in print advertising. 

 

By presenting nutritional facts and using a logical comparison, Popchips uses logos to show that their chips are better for consumers than their competitors’ chips. The visual aspect of the ad also appeals to the audience’s sense of logic, because who wouldn’t want a bigger stack of chips? This ad uses a common form of logos with a “more bang for your buck” strategy that works well not only in advertisements for food products but also in ads regarding money or performance. Finally, this ad presents the “if/then” strategy by arguing that if you buy Popchips, then you will be a healthier person. 

Logos in Public Speaking and Oral Presentations

Speakers and presenters use logos when they support their assertions with facts, cite credible sources, quote reliable experts, and present clear lines of reasoning. Arrangement is also important. By first establishing ethos, or likability and credibility, a speaker will then be able to effectively use logos. If the audience doesn’t trust the speaker, then the audience won’t likely trust the information presented by the speaker. 

Delivery is another important way speakers use logos. By speaking clearly and in a convincing tone, and by using timing and pauses to reinforce important facts and claims, a speaker can easily appeal to his or her audience. When delivering citations, effective speakers do so as naturally as possible by citing only what’s necessary; they don’t let citations overshadow the facts and interrupt the flow of the argument. 

Take a look at Graham Hill’s TED talk Less Stuff, More Happiness for an example of effective logos in public speaking:

Notice how Hill uses logos by presenting statistics to support his thesis, and he logically arranges his speech by using a convincing “cause and effect” strategy. Because Hill has already established himself as a credible researcher and public speaker, he doesn’t need to cite his sources; he would if he were a student or amateur. 

Hill’s delivery is particularly appealing and positively affects the impact of his logos. He is confident and obviously well-practiced, and he uses a clear tone and an easy-to-follow pace. Notice how he subtly pauses after important facts and assertions, and he consistently reinforces his thesis without being obnoxious or monotonous. 

Hill also uses logos by showing his audience how he personally applied his principles to his own life, which leads the audience to think, “If he can do it, then I can do it.” Hill shows that he understands his audience by presenting examples that are relatable and easy to understand.  At the end, he addresses his audience’s potential counter arguments or concerns and presents practical solutions. Finally, the images throughout the presentation reinforce the facts and make the argument seem logical and attainable. 

Modes of Persuasion: Ethos

Ethos or the ethical appeal means to convince an audience of the author’s credibility or character.

An author would use ethos to show to his audience that he is a credible source and is worth listening to. Ethos is the Greek word for “character.” The word “ethic” is derived from ethos.

 

Ethos can be developed by choosing language that is appropriate for the audience and topic (this also means choosing the proper level of vocabulary), making yourself sound fair or unbiased, introducing your expertise, accomplishments or pedigree, and by using correct grammar and syntax.

During public speaking events, typically a speaker will have at least some of his pedigree and accomplishments listed upon introduction by a master of ceremony.

Ethos in Academic Writing

The application of ethos in writing, and advertising material manifests itself in a multitude of ways.  In academic papers, writers convey ethos first and foremost through appropriate use of style and grammar. This usually means adhering to a predefined manner of formatting the paper’s citations and paragraph structure, such as APA, MLA or Chicago/Turabian style.  This custom is primarily used to give a standard means to citing and referring to sources, in order to facilitate academic review.

Ethos in academic writing is further established by adequately structuring the paper’s theses and ideas. Thus in this case ethos is closely associated with the logos, the appeal to logic.  This is due to the nature of academia itself being dedicated to the pursuit and advancement of knowledge and ideas.

Ethos in Advertising

Establishing credibility when attempting to call an audience to an action, such as buying a product, encompasses a wide range of details, which can sometimes be entirely specific to the medium on which the advertisement is being delivered. Approaches can widely vary whether an advertisement is delivered in a purely audio, static graphic or video format.  Whether an advertisement is delivered via digital advertising, billboard, street furniture, print publication or television could also potentially have a source effect on the ethos of the advertisement and of the brand or product the ad is attempting to promote. Additionally, the content and reputation associated with a certain website or publication can have affect the ethos of the advertisement.

Approaches to establishing ethos can also depend entirely on the industry and branding strategy. In many cases it is not about having a "better" or "worse" ethos, rather the goal would be to establish a connection to the ethos of existing groups of people. Do you want your advertisement to appeal to surfers from surfers from Long Beach, or bankers from Wall Street? A different ad strategy and associated product/brand ethos would be required to appeal to each. 

However, there should be a clear distinction between establishing a desired ethos surrounding a specific advertisement/campaign/brand/product, and advertising products which convey or attempt to establish a personal ethos. In essence, one is needed to establish the other. When promoting their products, advertisers will attempt to persuade customers that the ethos associated any given product will transfer itself to the user of the product. 

Some of the best examples of this are advertisements for designer clothing and automobiles, for example Gucci and Mercedes. Both of these product categories are closely associated with a sense of individual style and status, and many people buy these products to establish or promote a certain personal ethos that they believe is already associated with the product.  Marketing for these kinds of goods normally attempts to connect the product to a certain way of life, personal image or social status.

 This Mercedes Benz Ad Utilizes a Celebrity Athlete in Order to Attach a Certain Ethos to its Product

Ethos in Public Speaking and Oral Presentations

In oral presentations and debates, speakers knowingly and unknowing utilize ethos in a number of ways. The easiest example of this to see is choice of dress and physical appearance. In this aspect, different audiences and events will beget different attire. A speaker at a surfing convention would most likely dress themselves much differently than one at a shareholder meeting for a Wall Street bank.

Speakers Must Adapt their Image and Attire for Different Audiences and Events

During any oral presentation two key elements, just about equal in importance, will almost certainly be necessary to effectively present to any given audience.

One is calmness, and certain confidence in the fact that you know what you are talking about. Of course, achieving this usually requires preparation, as well as a solid understanding of the presentation or speech’s topic.  One aspect of this is keeping on topic and having a solid point to point agenda of subjects vital to the coherency of the presentation.

The second key element is to introduce pedigree and experience in the subject of discussion.  This is especially important during key industry and academic events, where many audience members are either familiar in the topic of discussion or an expert in it themselves. Typically, at least some of this work should be done prior to any speech by a master of ceremony. However, it still may be a good idea to touch back to anecdotes of accomplishments and/or projects that the audience would likely be interested in during the speaking engagement.

While introducing pedigree and experience, there can sometimes be a fine line between demonstrating knowledge and industry experience, and sounding somewhat arrogant. On this note, having a degree of calmness when speaking about your experiences and knowledge can in many cases offset this effect.  Demonstrate as much expertise as necessary, and leave the act of impressing the audience up to your presentation.

During any class presentations below the high school or undergraduate level, pedigree and expertise are negligible, as the audience is typically of peers who will not expect anything more of a speaker than being their classmate. Any existing expertise or pedigree in presentations like this are a bonus.

Ethos, Pathos, and Logos Definition and Examples

Ethos, Pathos, and Logos are modes of persuasion used to convince audiences.  They are also referred to as the three artistic proofs (Aristotle coined the terms), and are all represented by Greek words. 

Ethos or the ethical appeal, means to convince an audience of the author’s credibility or character.

An author would use ethos to show to his audience that he is a credible source and is worth listening to. Ethos is the Greek word for “character.” The word “ethic” is derived from ethos.

Ethos can be developed by choosing language that is appropriate for the audience and topic (this also means choosing the proper level of vocabulary), making yourself sound fair or unbiased, introducing your expertise, accomplishments or pedigree, and by using correct grammar and syntax.

During public speaking events, typically a speaker will have at least some of his pedigree and accomplishments listed upon introduction by a master of ceremony.

Pathos or the emotional appeal, means to persuade an audience by appealing to their emotions.

Authors use pathos to invoke sympathy from an audience; to make the audience feel what what the author wants them to feel. A common use of pathos would be to draw pity from an audience. Another use of pathos would be to inspire anger from an audience, perhaps in order to prompt action. Pathos is the Greek word for both “suffering” and “experience.” The words empathy and pathetic  are derived from pathos.

Pathos can be developed by using meaningful language, emotional tone, emotion evoking examples, stories of emotional events, and implied meanings. 

Logos or the appeal to logic, means to convince an audience by use of logic or reason.

To use logos would be to cite facts and statistics, historical and literal analogies, and citing certain authorities on a subject. Logos is the Greek word for “word,” however the true definition goes beyond that, and can be most closely described as “the word or that by which the inward thought is expressed" and, "the inward thought itself" (1). The word “logic” is derived from logos.

Logos can be developed by using advanced, theoretical or abstract language, citing facts (very important), using historical and literal analogies, and by constructing logical arguments.

In order to persuade your audience, proper use of Ethos, Pathos, and Logos is necessary.

Examples of Ethos, Logos and Pathos:

Example of Ethos: 

“Woz and I started Apple in my parents garage when I was 20. We worked hard, and in 10 years Apple had grown from just the two of us in a garage into a $2 billion company with over 4000 employees. We had just released our finest creation — the Macintosh — a year earlier, and I had just turned 30...

During the next five years, I started a company named NeXT, another company named Pixar, and fell in love with an amazing woman who would become my wife. Pixar went on to create the worlds first computer animated feature film, Toy Story, and is now the most successful animation studio in the world. In a remarkable turn of events, Apple bought NeXT, I returned to Apple, and the technology we developed at NeXT is at the heart of Apple's current renaissance. And Laurene and I have a wonderful family together.”

Stanford Commencement Speech by Steve Jobs. June 12, 2005.

Example of Pathos:

"I am not unmindful that some of you have come here out of great trials and tribulations. Some of you have come fresh from narrow jail cells. And some of you have come from areas where your quest -- quest for freedom left you battered by the storms of persecution and staggered by the winds of police brutality. You have been the veterans of creative suffering. Continue to work with the faith that unearned suffering is redemptive. Go back to Mississippi, go back to Alabama, go back to South Carolina, go back to Georgia, go back to Louisiana, go back to the slums and ghettos of our northern cities, knowing that somehow this situation can and will be changed."

I Have a Dream by Martin Luther King Jr. August 28th, 1963.

Example of Logos:

"However, although private final demand, output, and employment have indeed been growing for more than a year, the pace of that growth recently appears somewhat less vigorous than we expected. Notably, since stabilizing in mid-2009, real household spending in the United States has grown in the range of 1 to 2 percent at annual rates, a relatively modest pace. Households' caution is understandable. Importantly, the painfully slow recovery in the labor market has restrained growth in labor income, raised uncertainty about job security and prospects, and damped confidence. Also, although consumer credit shows some signs of thawing, responses to our Senior Loan Officer Opinion Survey on Bank Lending Practices suggest that lending standards to households generally remain tight."

The Economic Outlook and Monetary Policy by Ben Bernanke. August 27th, 2010.

Ethos, Pathos, and Logos ‒ Examples

Examples of Ethos:

“You are the leader of one of the world's most iconic companies and a model of the power of business to do well while doing good. You were raised in Alabama and are a graduate of Auburn University, which has honored you with its Lifetime Achievement Award. You earned a master's degree in business administration from Duke University, Fuqua School of Business where you were recognized as a Fuqua scholar, the school's highest academic honor. 

You joined Apple in 1998 to lead worldwide sales and operations and later became chief operating officer. In 2011, you became Apple's chief executive officer, succeeding the company's legendary founding CEO Steve Jobs. As CEO of Apple, you have overseen the development and launch of innovative products that are ubiquitous across our university's campuses…

Ladies and gentlemen, your commencement speaker, Dr. Tim Cook.”

Dr. Steven Knapp, Introduction of Tim Cook, George Washington University Commencement Speech, May 07, 2015

 

"When I am the nominee, I will offer a clear choice. John McCain won't be able to say that I ever supported this war in Iraq, because I opposed it from the beginning. Senator McCain said the other day that we might be mired for a hundred years in Iraq, which is reason enough to not give him four years in the White House.

If we had chosen a different path, the right path, we could have finished the job in Afghanistan, and put more resources into the fight against bin Laden; and instead of spending hundreds of billions of dollars in Baghdad, we could have put that money into our schools and hospitals, our road and bridges – and that's what the American people need us to do right now."

Barack Obama, Potomac Primary Night Speech, February 12, 2008

 

"I have pledged myself and my colleagues in the cabinet to a continuous encouragement of initiative, responsibility and energy in serving the public interest. Let every public servant know, whether his post is high or low, that a man's rank and reputation in this Administration will be determined by the size of the job he does, and not by the size of his staff, his office or his budget. Let it be clear that this Administration recognizes the value of dissent and daring -- that we greet healthy controversy as the hallmark of healthy change. Let the public service be a proud and lively career. And let every man and woman who works in any area of our national government, in any branch, at any level, be able to say with pride and with honor in future years: 'I served the United States Government in that hour of our nation's need.'"

John F. Kennedy, State of the Union Message, January 30, 1961

 


Examples of Pathos:

Kimberly N. had a senior position at a charitable organization when her son was born. She planned for a six-week maternity leave, but her son was born with a life-threatening condition, and she ended up taking 12 weeks with partial pay. Kimberly’s supervisor was unhappy that she took such a long leave and refused to let her work part-time or from home. After going back to work, Kimberly had a terrible performance evaluation that contrasted sharply with her previous positive evaluations. She soon left her job, which significantly impacted family finances. Savings quickly dwindled, debts grew, and Kimberly filed for bankruptcy. A few months later, she found a part-time job at a lower level with no benefits but was laid off when the recession hit. She worries that future employers will question her period of unemployment.

An Argument for Parental Leave in the United States, written by:

Walsch , Janet. Failing It's FamiliesHuman Rights Watch, 2011 Online

 

The Rangers looked up and saw the enemy soldiers -- at the edge of the cliffs shooting down at them with machine guns and throwing grenades. And the American Rangers began to climb. They shot rope ladders over the face of these cliffs and began to pull themselves up. When one Ranger fell, another would take his place. When one rope was cut, a Ranger would grab another and begin his climb again. They climbed, shot back, and held their footing. Soon, one by one, the Rangers pulled themselves over the top, and in seizing the firm land at the top of these cliffs, they began to seize back the continent of Europe. Two hundred and twenty-five came here. After two days of fighting, only 90 could still bear arms.

Behind me is a memorial that symbolizes the Ranger daggers that were thrust into the top of these cliffs. And before me are the men who put them there.

These are the boys of Pointe de Hoc. These are the men who took the cliffs. These are the champions who helped free a continent. These are the heroes who helped end a war.

Gentlemen, I look at you and I think of the words of Stephen Spender's poem. You are men who in your "lives fought for life...and left the vivid air 

Ronald Reagan "The Boys of Point Du Hoc" Normandy France June 6th 1984

 

This country is more decent than one where a woman in Ohio, on the brink of retirement, finds herself one illness away from disaster after a lifetime of hard work. 

This country is more generous than one where a man in Indiana has to pack up the equipment he's worked on for twenty years and watch it shipped off to China, and then chokes up as he explains how he felt like a failure when he went home to tell his family the news. 

We are more compassionate than a government that lets veterans sleep on our streets and families slide into poverty; that sits on its hands while a major American city drowns before our eyes. 

Barack Obama Night Before the Election Speech Manassas, Prince William County, Virginia November 3, 2008

 

The little crowd of mourners-all men and boys, no women — threaded their way across the market-place between the piles of pomegranates and the taxis and the camels, wailing a short chant over and over again. What really appeals to the flies is that the corpses here are never put into coffins, they are merely wrapped in a piece of rag and carried on a rough wooden bier on the shoulders of four friends. When the friends get to the burying-ground they hack an oblong hole a foot or two deep, dump the body in it and fling over it a little of the dried-up, lumpy earth, which is like broken brick. No gravestone, no name, no identifying mark of any kind. The burying-ground is merely a huge waste of hummocky earth, like a derelict building-lot. After a month or two no one can even be certain where his own relatives are buried.

When you walk through a town like this — two hundred thousand inhabitants, of whom at least twenty thousand own literally nothing except the rags they stand up in — when you see how the people live, and still more how easily they die, it is always difficult to believe that you are walking among human beings. All colonial empires are in reality founded upon that fact. The people have brown faces — besides, there are so many of them! Are they really the same flesh as yourself? Do they even have names? Or are they merely a kind of undifferentiated brown stuff, about as individual as bees or coral insects? They rise out of the earth, they sweat and starve for a few years, and then they sink back into the nameless mounds of the graveyard and nobody notices that they are gone. And even the graves themselves soon fade back into the soil. Sometimes, out for a walk, as you break your way through the prickly pear, you notice that it is rather bumpy underfoot, and only a certain regularity in the bumps tells you that you are walking over skeletons.

George Orwell "Marakesh" 1939


Examples of Logos:

Apple has come down from $363 in February to $316 Monday. Furthermore, that masks the fact that the company is sitting on a ton of net cash. At the end of the last quarter, cash, securities and other liquid assets exceeded liabilities by $51 billion, or around $55 a share. This may top $60 by the end of this quarter.

So the cash-free stock price — the enterprise value of the business — may only be around $260.

That’s barely 10 times forecast earnings of $25 for the fiscal year ending in September. It’s just nine times next year’s forecast earnings. And it’s only around 2.3 times this year’s sales.

Brett Arrends Is Apple Becoming a Value Stock? on Marketwatch.com June 21st 2011

 

Two major studies from military intelligence experts have warned our leaders about the dangerous national security implications of the climate crisis, including the possibility of hundreds of millions of climate refugees destabilizing nations around the world. Just two days ago, 27 senior statesmen and retired military leaders warned of the national security threat from an “energy tsunami” that would be triggered by a loss of our access to foreign oil. Meanwhile, the war in Iraq continues, and now the war in Afghanistan appears to be getting worse. 

Al Gore "A Generational Challenge to Repower America" July 17th 2008