A photograph of a High School from the outside Shown is the main entrance and the stairs leading up to it.

Source: BHSGalvEntrance, Nsaum75 9talk), Wikimedia

Now you should understand how to include all of the kinds of appeals in your essay as you revise. Let’s practice by using the situation described below.

Imagine this scenario: Your district is considering instituting a longer school day. You’re against the idea because you think that quality rather than quantity is important when it comes to time spent learning. Everyone seems to be talking about the issue, so you listen to and participate in many arguments. You notice that different people use different kinds of appeals: ethos, pathos, and logos. Often, all three appeals are present in one argument.

Your task in the exercise that follows is to identify the main appeal being used in each situation.

icon for interactive exercise

1. At a school board meeting, one of the members argues against the change to a longer school day. She cites facts about the number of students involved in after-school activities and estimates how many hours of work it would require to adjust schedules across the district.

Logos
Correct! This is an example of logos because the facts and numerical estimates require the readers (or listeners) to use logic to understand the argument.


Ethos
Try again. The school board member is not referring to her own credibility.

Pathos
Try again. The argument may make you feel a certain way, but the board member is not directly attempting to play on the emotions of her listeners.




2. A friend of yours tells her story: She works hard to keep up her grades and also puts in long hours at home taking care of her younger siblings. She says her opinion on the longer school day is important because she is a hard-working individual who knows it would mean trouble for many students like her.

Logos
Try again. There is logic in this argument, but that is not the main appeal being used.

Ethos
Correct! By emphasizing her work ethic and her profile, your friend is using ethos to say that her opinion should matter in this debate.


Pathos
Try again. There is pathos in this argument, but its main appeal is not to emotions.



3. Your social studies teacher gets into the fray. He cites case studies about schools that have tried a longer day without seeing a rise in test scores. He is against the extension.

Logos
Correct! An appeal using logos relies on the analysis of data and requires readers (or listeners) to use their logic and sense of reason to follow along.

Ethos
Try again. This would be an ethical argument if your teacher emphasized his credibility, but instead, he mainly relies on logical evidence.


Pathos
Try again. The case studies may make you feel a certain way, but if your teacher were targeting your emotions, he would probably tell stories or use images about specific schools and the individuals in them.




4. You bump into a custodian who’s a friend of yours. He favors the longer school day and wants you to see it his way. Working longer hours will help him buy the car he’s always wanted. He talks about how great he will feel driving it, how soothing it will be to cruise down the highway.

Logos
Try again. Some logic might be found in this statement, but it certainly isn’t the main appeal.

Ethos
Try again. Your custodian friend is not using his credibility to bolster his argument.

Pathos
Correct! The custodian is trying to make you feel like he would feel so that you will agree with him. An appeal to feelings is an emotional appeal.




5. You have dinner with a friend whose parent is a teacher. The parent is in favor of the longer day and says you should agree with her. Her experience teaching, administering, and counseling at schools all over the country means that she really knows her stuff on this issue.

Logos
Try again. There is some logic to her appeal, but it is not her main strategy.


Ethos
Correct! Your friend’s mother emphasizes her credibility to validate her claim; she is using an ethical appeal.


Pathos
Try again. Her main strategy is not to make you feel a certain way, but to show she is a good source of knowledge on this issue.




6. As a member of the newspaper staff, you are charged with researching information that will help students decide whether a longer school day will be helpful to them. You give them examples of the research you have conducted as you have reached your conclusion.

Logos
Correct! You are asking your readers to use their faculty of logic and reason to follow your argument. By presenting research that they should agree with, you are making an appeal to logic.


Ethos
Try again. You are not asking readers to agree with you based on who you are or what you’ve done but asking them to follow a line of reason.


Pathos
Try again. You are not trying to make them feel a certain way so that they will agree with you.



Having learned to spot the different kinds of appeals, you will now be able to include each kind as you revise. Keeping all three in mind—ethos, pathos, and logos—will make your persuasive essays much more convincing.