Glossary of Terms From the Rhetorical Framework

    Speaker: The person or voice assumed to be presenting.

    Persona: The aspect of the speaker that relates to how the audience perceives him/her.

    Exigence: The context, situation or circumstance of the piece.

    Audience: The intended reader.

    Purpose: Why the piece was written—e.g., to educate, entertain, profit and/or affect change. . .

    Invention: The original stance and/or approach(es) that the writer brings to the subject.

    Logos: Logic. The writer’s organization of the argument as well as the choices regarding the
                 persona and devices used.

    Ethos: Credibility. The writer’s background experience, the use of credible sources, and the use
                 of tone to convince the intended audience.

    Pathos: Emotion. The writer’s appeal to feeling, typically through anecdotes with sympathetic
                  characters and sensory details.

    Tone: The author’s attitude towards the subject, reflected in appeals, diction and other devices.

    Mode/Arrangement/Organization/Structure: Rhetorical modes, or types, include exposition
                  (explaining), argument (convincing), description and narration (storytelling). These, like
                  the smaller ways a piece of writing is designed, are best seen as a writer’s choice made
                  in consideration of the purpose and audience.

    Diction: Word choices. Subcategories of diction include denotation (literal meaning) and
                  connotation (figurative meaning; feelings and symbols evoked).  

    Syntax: Word order; sentence structure. Like diction and other devices (below), it’s best
                  discussed in terms of how it serves the writer’s purpose, audience and
                  logos/ethos/pathos appeals.

    Imagery: language that is visually descriptive and/or visually symbolic.

    Figurative Language: As opposed to literal language, which states facts as they are, figurative
                    language suggests meanings different than or beyond the literal. Examples include
                    metaphors, similes and figures of speech as well as any language that achieves that


Last Modified on August 6, 2014