So every time you try to inform, persuade or argue with someone, you deal with rhetoric and if you have ever experienced an emotional speech reaction or changed your mind after hearing a qualified debater’s rejection, you have experienced the power of rhetoric. So by developing a basic knowledge of rhetorical devices, you can improve your ability to process and transmit information while enhancing your persuasive skills.
So what is a rhetorical device?
A rhetorical device is a linguistic tool that uses a certain type of sentence structure, sound, or form of meaning to invoke a specific audience reaction, and each rhetorical device is a special tool that can be used to construct an argument or make an existing argument more attractive.
Types of Rhetorical Devices
There are four categories of rhetorical devices:
- Logos – these are devices that try to convince and persuade through logic and reason, will usually use statistics, facts quoted and statements by the authorities to put their point and persuade the listener.
- Pathos – these rhetorical devices base their appeal on emotions, and this may mean calling out sympathy or pity to the listener. Either anger the audience for inspirational action or change their mind about something.
- Ethos – these devices try to convince the audience that the speaker is a credible source, that their words are weighty and must be taken seriously. Because they are serious and have the experience and judgment needed to decide what is right.
- Kairos – and this is one of the most difficult concepts in rhetoric, i.e. the devices in this category depend on the idea that the time has come for a particular idea or action and the timeliness of the idea itself is part of the argument.
The Importance of Rhetorical Devices
Why rhetorical devices are important, of course because rhetorical devices are just like art techniques – they become popular because they work. So while human beings use language, we try to convince each other and evoke emotions, and over time, we have developed a huge variety of different techniques to achieve these effects. And the sum of all such techniques is presented in our modern lists of rhetorical techniques, so each rhetorical device has a different purpose, different history, and different effect!