Rhetorical Communication

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  • The best available means of persuasion. Rhetoric aims to alter the beliefs, attitudes, values, or actions of its target audience. Rhetorical communication is symbolic in nature. Some scholars argue that all communication is rhetorical. Others say that only symbolic communication aimed at persuasion is rhetorical; communication aimed at providing information or entertainment may not be aimed at persuasion and thus would not be rhetorical.

    The Ancient Greeks and Romans divided rhetoric into three elements: ethos, pathos, and logos. Ethos meant both ethical proof in speech and credibility, pathos meant emotional proof, and logos—which literally meant the “word”—stood for the logic, reason, and substance of the message. In addition, they divided rhetoric into five canons: (1) invention (coming up with the ideas and support in the speech), ...

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