Examining ArgumentsEthos = The imaginary person your reader thinks of when they read your work. Usuallychanges for each assignment you write.Problems to look out for : Ethos too low (don’t sound well-informed, appear“amateurish”)–When you use simple, formulaic organization patterns, youdon’t appear like an interesting, well-developed writer.Creativity suggests skill.–Not addressing issues on local terms creates a “distant”ethos, souse “we” when appropriate + analyze facts in terms of local,everyday lifeEthos too high (sound too analytical, sound like an outsider)–When you use complicated words, avoidnatural/conversational contractions, or act infallible (speaklike you think your never wrong)–When you look at things from an impossibly large perspective(people believe they are unique, different from the largerissue itself)Avoiding a perspective that is too largeSmall annoyances are equally if not more persuasive than large, dangerous, “extreme”concerns, because most people “don’t believe it will happen to them”. These also have theadvantage of being
.Ex) Drunk driving = deadly, dangerous and a loss of control
But we don’t really believe we’ll die if I drive drunk (that’s why we do it sometimes). I drivesober b/c I hate to take the long way from the bar searching for cops and making sure Idon’t get caught drunk driving, pay a fine and probably lose my license for 6 months.
Which consequence is worse—a fine, or dying in a wreck?
Ex) Seatbelts = will save your life in an accident. You may die if you don’t wear one.
But I don’t really believe I will die when I leave my seatbelt off (that’s why I don’t use it). I just want to avoid a $100 fine!
So make your claims specific, local, and constructed for your audience:
Ex) Alcohol causes brain damage (serious brain damage, too).
A Virginia Tech publication says that Alcohol can impair your memory for up to 72 hours.That means you may not get brain damage from a little weeknight drinking, but you willhave a harder time remembering the answers to the test you’ll take later this week. Thisevidence is also strong because it’s not common knowledge.
Ex) Alcohol impairs motor function (ability to move and control your body)