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
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