Logos, Ethos, Pathos

What kinds of support do authors use? 

Writers are generally most successful with their audiences when they can skillfully and appropriately balance the three core types of appeals. These appeals are referred to by their Greek names: logos (the appeal to logic), pathos (the appeal to emotion), and ethos (the appeal to authority). 

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Logical Appeals

Authors using logic to support their claims will include a combination of different types of evidence. These include the following:

  • established facts
  • case studies
  • statistics
  • experiments
  • analogies and logical reasoning
  • citation of recognized experts on the issue


Authoritative Appeals

Authors using authority to support their claims can also draw from a variety of techniques. These include the following:

  • personal anecdotes
  • illustration of deep knowledge on the issue
  • citation of recognized experts on the issue
  • testimony of those involved first-hand on the issue


Emotional Appeals

Authors using emotion to support their claims again have a deep well of options to do so. These include the following:

  • personal anecdotes
  • narratives
  • impact studies
  • testimony of those involved first-hand on the issue


As you can see, there is some overlap on these lists. One technique might work simultaneously on multiple levels.

Most texts rely on one of the three as the primary method of support, but may also draw upon one or two others at the same time.

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