Any tips or hacks for making sure you cover pathos when debating and speaking?


Jillian Youngblood, Noodle Expert

User avatar for Jillian Youngblood

The perfect animated gif always does the trick. This one, for example, captures it all:

Maryann Aita, Writer, editor, and 4-year speech and debate competitor

User avatar for Maryann Aita

One way to remember to include pathos is to consider ethos, pathos, and logos as if they were the three points of a triangle. You need them all to make an argument. In fact, I'd suggest drawing a triangle and labeling each corner as a reminder whenever you're preparing an argument or speech.

It's important to cover ethos, pathos, and logos in every argument. I'd also recommend that pathos should be used somewhat sparingly. Here are a few tips to be sure and use all three:

Pathos: appealing to emotion and values. Usually you only need one or two good examples to drive a point home. It can be helpful to use this at the beginning or end of a speech or argument because it can leave a lasting impression.

Examples: - Anecdotes or stories from individuals who was personally affected by a problem - Word choice (e.g. loaded verbs or vivid descriptions)

Ethos: Establishing credibility and trust. This is done implicitly when it's clear you've done your research. This should be easy to remember since it would difficult to give any presentation without doing some research.

Examples: - Cite sources (such as books, studies etc.) - Be confident and clear when speaking - If you have something that makes you especially qualified, say so (e.g. If you are talking about exercising and you've run two marathons, list that credential)

Logos: Reasoning. This is the bulk of a persuasive argument. It's how you lay out the argument and the analysis you provide of your evidence.

Examples: - Statistics, facts, and research - Quotations or opinions from experts on the topic - Your analysis of evidence - ALWAYS analyze evidence and explain it's significance to your argument

You can also view this Noodle video, which provides some more detail about each of these.

Your Answer