Think of a place or a time in your life when someone attempted to convince you of something.What rhetorical elements were used, whether or not they were persuasive, and why?

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Susan Hurn eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Is there any group more inspired to persuade than a class of students seeking the postponement of a scheduled test? I don't think so! Here are some of the persuasive techniques I've heard in this situation:

1. anecdote: "Last night the bus broke down on the way home from the game. We had to wait two hours for another one to come get us. I didn't get home until after midnight, so it was too late to study. It wasn't my fault, really."

2. rhetorical questions: "You want us to make good grades, right? Wouldn't postponing the test give us more time to study?"

3. repetition: "Please! Please! Please!"

4. refuting an anticipated argument: "You always say you never postpone tests, but remember last month? You gave us an extra day on that one." [For the record, school assembly.]

5. logical appeal: "If we ask questions today and take more notes, we'll do better tomorrow."

6. emotional appeal: "We've worked really hard on this stuff. Please give us a break, just this one time."

These were good persuasive techniques, but except for unavoidable circumstances (see #4), tests were never postponed. Experience trumps persuasion in most circumstances, unless other factors apply.

ladyvols1 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

There are many ways to persuade someone to think the same way you think, or do something you want them to do. One way to persuade is to appeal to the reader's sense of logic.  To get someone to see that whatever you want them to do will benefit them in someway.  The typical phrases used might be phrases such as, "it will be fun," "your life will be better if you do this." 

Another form of pursuasion is to make the person feel guilty about not doing whatever it might be that you want them to do or think.  Telling a person that if they don't do something you would be disappointed in them, or be letting them down in some way. 

In using persuasion a person might feel inclined to use the point of view or quotation from someone the other person respects or admires.  You see this happen a lot when people are debating the themes of religion or a woman's freedom of choice. Other techniques that might be used for persuasion are: repetition, consistency in the argument used, social proof of what your are saying is true, using the concepts of future outcomes or what will happen if the person doesn’t accept the argument presented. 

Hope this helps give you some ideas.

M.P. Ossa eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The instigator always appeals to the senses. First, they try to appeal to your sense of guilt. If that fails, they attack your self esteem, and if that fails, they usually resort to psychological harassment (if they are not very smart) or by luring, which works best. 

When they lure you, they also appeal to your external senses such as sight, touch, emotion, etc...they might come with promises of great sensations that would entice you to indulge. That's when the rhetoric talk comes, as they describe and idealize what you would want to hear and feel.

Peer pressure happens mostly that way. In my case, the one thing I've always been lured to do is to eat unhealthily. When I try to go vegetarian, or eat healthy there is always some person luring me into eating sugar, fat, or salt in excess, because otherwise I'd be isolated and would end up having lunch or dinner by myself. It really bites.

amy-lepore eNotes educator| Certified Educator

My college friends were always trying to get me to go out and party with job was a Karoake hostess, so I was always "partying" in a sense, and it didn't appeal to me on my nights off.  Their biggest persuasive technique was to use the bandwagon approach--"Everyone will be there tonight!  You have to go!  I'll bet even (insert name of guy) will be there and he SO likes you!  Come on, it'll be fun!"

There are so many techniques people use to persuade.  I used to teach journalism, so I'm attaching a link or two to other propaganda techniques used to persuade people to do things they don't want to necessarily.  Good Luck!


Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

As a teacher myself, I agree with post number 6's categorizations.  Indeed, I have heard them all.  For my bet and given the type of learner I am, I am more akin to being convinced with a healthy combination of logical appeal and the preemption of an anticipated argument.  This is not merely how I stand to be convinced in class, but outside of it, as well.   I think that how one is convinced of arguments is reflective of how person learns and understands material.  I find with my students in arguing and trying to persuade them, I have to find out what type of learner they are and pitch my argument in that vein.

epollock | Student

So many times, even at my former school, I was asked to inflate grades.  The tactics are usually everyone "else is doing it" and "don't let your students fall behind." Generally, peer pressure is incredibly strong; so strong in fact that peer pressure can wipe out, years of parents telling you not to do something, in a heartbeat.