How to Write a Rhetorical Analysis

It may appear tough for novices to understand how to write a rhetorical analysis, but once you know the tactics and strategies, you will be writing like a pro in no time.

In this post, we will go through the definition of rhetorical analysis and provide a step-by-step method complete with an outline, guidelines, and examples. However, if you would rather bypass all of this and have one of our experts assist you, please contact our top essay writing service by clicking the button below.

A rhetorical analysis is a style of writing that looks at the author’s goal and technique rather than the work’s content. It is one of the objectives on the AP English Language and Composition Exam, and it is frequently used to assess texts by students, professors, and other professionals. To finish a rhetorical analysis, you must ask yourself a series of questions in order to evaluate the goal of an author’s work and whether it achieved its intended result. In this article, we’ll show you how to write a rhetorical analysis and walk you through the process.

What is a rhetorical analysis?

A rhetorical analysis is an essay that looks at how the author (or rhetorician) put their work together. Any text or visual content that is supposed to persuade an audience might be the subject of a rhetorical analysis. A rhetorical analysis evaluates the writer’s intent or purpose, as well as the strategies they utilized to make their case. Rather than agreeing or disagreeing with the author’s point of view, you’re describing how they presented their argument and whether they succeeded.

The following are some examples of works that can be studied using rhetorical analysis:

  • A speech
  • A scholarly article
  • A novel
  • A television show, film or play
  • An art exhibit
  • An advertisement or a cartoon

A rhetorical analysis is most commonly used in academics, as a writing assignment for high school or college students or as part of a scholarly work.

How do you write a rhetorical analysis essay

An introduction, three body paragraphs, and a conclusion are typical sections of a rhetorical analysis. Break down a creative work into parts and explain how the parts interact to generate a specific result. The author’s goal could be to enlighten, entertain, or persuade the reader. When writing your rhetorical analysis essay, follow these procedures:

How to Write a Rhetorical Analysis Essay

A rhetorical analysis typically has an introduction, three body paragraphs, and a conclusion. Dissect a creative work into its components and explain how they combine to produce a specific result. The author’s intention may be to inform, entertain, or persuade the reader. Follow these steps when writing your rhetorical analysis essay.

  1. Select the Study Text. Review the material you’re evaluating several times to have a better understanding of the author’s thesis and writing style. Make sure you’ve read the content thoroughly and that you comprehend all of the author’s points as well as the context. Consider picking a text that covers a subject you’re enthusiastic about or know a lot about. This will make the writing process for you easier and more enjoyable.
  2. Collect Relevant information

Use the SOAPSTone technique to identify the components of the work and plan your analysis. SOAPSTone is an acronym commonly used in literary analysis that stands for Speaker, Occasion, Audience, Purpose, Subject, Tone.

  • Speaker: The writer or the voice narrating or telling the story
  • Occasion: When and where the work takes place and under what context
  • Audience: Who the text is written for
  • Purpose: The reason behind the work or what the writer wants to achieve
  • Subject: The topic of the text
  • Tone: The writer’s attitude toward the subject

Determine the text’s major points. Begin by studying the author’s writing style and determining who the author’s target audience is. What was the author’s intention when they wrote their paper or story? Is the author trying to persuade a specific audience to agree with a certain point? Is it their intention to inform their audience? Is it something they’re criticizing? What is their argument? You can build an outline to address each argument the author makes, as well as your own thoughts on each of their points, if you wish.

  • Examine the appeals

Writers utilize appeals, sometimes known as persuasive methods, to elicit specific responses from their audience. The three appeals are as follows:

  • Ethos: Ethical appeals that establish the writer’s credibility, such as mentioning one’s qualifications.
  • Logos: Logical appeals, such as evidence and data, are used to make an argument.
  • Pathos: Pathetic appeals designed to have an emotional effect, such as personal and relatable details about a crime victim.

4. Identification of style choices

These are techniques that a writer can employ to elicit a specific response from the reader. Word choice, word order, tone, repetition, imagery, analogies, and figurative language are examples of these.

5. Create an analysis

Pose questions to yourself regarding the data you’ve gathered. Your responses will aid you in determining the writer’s motivations and how effectively they support the writer’s argument. Concentrate on what the author does and why. Some examples are:

  • What is the writer’s intention?
  • Who is the intended audience?
  • What is the argument?
  • What is the writer’s strategy to make that argument? Why?
  • What appeals does the writer use to persuade the reader? Why?
  • What kind of style does the writer use?
  • What effect does this work have on the audience?

6. Write the introduction

The introduction should consist of a single, clear, and brief paragraph that summarizes the essay’s major points. Give a little background on the author, the text’s relevance, and the message they’re trying to convey.

7. Write your thesis

Your thesis statement should be one phrase at the end of the introduction that highlights the point you wish to make about the author’s decisions and techniques. One of the most significant aspects of your essay is the thesis.

8. Write your body text

At least three body paragraphs supporting your thesis should be included. Each paragraph should focus on a different, well-defined topic. You can arrange your paragraphs according to the effectiveness of appeals (such as ethos, pathos, and logos), strategies used by the writer, chronological order, and more. Rather of ideas or feelings, support each paragraph with examples, data, facts, and quotes, regardless of how you organize them. Tie each paragraph’s topic back to your thesis at the end.

9. Write your conclusion

In a brief conclusion, restate your thesis and summarize the main aspects of your essay. Explain why your point is important and, if necessary, give a call to action or additional research.

The conclusion paragraph should restate your thesis, review the major supporting concepts covered throughout the essay, and give your last thoughts on the fundamental idea. Discuss whether the author was able to achieve their writing goal when you address your final impression of the core idea. Were their tactics successful? If so, how did they affect the emotions or perspectives of their target audience? Has the writing had any impact or brought about any changes in the real world? Make a powerful closing statement that summarizes your arguments.

Rhetorical Analysis Essay Prompt

What purpose does rhetorical analysis serve? Students are typically given specific prompts that explain the goal of the work and define the areas to pay attention to when given this type of task.

Here is an example of a basic rhetorical analysis essay prompt: Write a 3-4 pages rhetorical analysis essay on text given. You are required to complete several different tasks: (1) summarize the text’s key argument/claim/purpose and (2) explain how this argument was put together.

As you read the assigned text, consider how the author uses:

  • Different rhetorical strategies (pathos, ethos, logos)
  • Reasoning, evidence, and examples to support their main ideas
  • Persuasive or stylistic elements”

As you can see from the prompt, the main purpose of this task is to define, analyze, and discuss the most important rhetorical features of the assigned text.

Rhetorical analysis tips

Follow these tips for how to write a rhetorical analysis that is powerful, clear and concise.

Prepare Well. Write a rhetorical analysis on your favorite novels, TV shows, movies, and blogs to practice. Also, pick a topic that interests you so that your excitement transfers into an excellent essay.

Proper Formatting A rhetorical analysis should be written in the third person (he, she, or they), rather than the first (I, we), and in the present tense (“… the speech explores social concerns,” rather than “… the speech studied social issues”). Make sure your commentary takes up at least half of your essay.

Correct Word Choice. You should use strong verbs (describes, establishes, supports) that imply analysis rather than weak verbs that seem like you’re summarizing when producing a thoughtful evaluation (tells, this quote shows, explains). Avoid expressing personal beliefs or points of view, as this form of analysis aims to be objective. When providing evidence to support your position, use direct quotes, paraphrase, facts, and examples. However, avoid stuffing your essay with quotes, and never open a paragraph with one.

Proper Conclusion. Avoid using weak and unnecessary phrases like “in conclusion” or “in summary” to begin your conclusion. Instead, use phrases like “Recognize that…” or “The research demonstrates that…” Analyze your core claim rather than arguing it. In your conclusion, avoid presenting fresh information. Only summarize what you’ve already said in the body text in the conclusion.

Ensure Citation. Any sources or examples you used in your analysis should be properly cited. Always edit your final manuscript for grammatical, punctuation, and spelling errors, as well as any typos or formatting errors.

Rhetorical Essay Outline

A student must have a thorough understanding of rhetorical techniques and methods in order to create an excellent paper. Additionally, you must be able to recognize and assess their utilization in specific literary works. When analyzing a text, correct structure is also important—a good rhetorical analysis essay should be well-structured and ordered.

Keep in mind that structuring your rhetorical analysis essay is not the most significant consideration; the most important consideration is ensuring that you fulfill the unique needs of your writing work. As a result, following any traditional essay structure isn’t required; there are a variety of approaches to start your rhetorical analysis outline correctly.

If it is more convenient for you to follow your professor’s arrangement. You can always employ the 5-6 paragraphing style if they do not provide a required structure for your essay. Our recommendation for your outline is as follows:

  • Before starting your outline, make sure you read, analyze, and take notes.
  • Make an outline of your essay’s main ideas and support them with evidence.
  • Write a thesis statement that summarizes your primary ideas while also addressing the author’s intent.

The writing will be easier if you have the major ideas to support your thesis and proof to back them up in your outline. You may also use our rhetorical analysis essay outline template to help you write your paper more effectively. Keep in mind that the intro-body-conclusion structure is constant.


The best technique to gain the reader’s trust in a rhetorical analysis essay is to demonstrate that you’ve read and fully comprehended the prescribed content. Make the introduction brief and informative when writing it.

To begin, summarize in your own words the portion you’ll include in your essay; this will demonstrate to the reader that you grasp the text’s core idea.

After that, briefly discuss the author’s persuasive styles and their impact.

Finally, turn your point of view into a well-crafted thesis statement. It should answer the questions “who,” “what,” “how,” and “why.” The thesis statement for your rhetorical analysis is normally found towards the end of your opening paragraph.

Remember that your introduction is your opportunity to pique the reader’s interest in the topics you’ll discuss later in the text.

Body Paragraphs

It’s time to do some critical analysis after giving the reader some context. A significant portion of your time will be spent on informative body paragraphs. Explain the author’s tactics for informing, persuading, and entertaining the reader in the body.

  • If the author used persuasive language, state that the author used persuasive language;
  • If the author used sympathetic language, explain it and provide examples.

Always remember that your writing should be consistent and organized. Rather than squeezing everything together, it is better to have various paragraphs detailing the author’s strategies.

Answer the following questions when determining the author’s writing strategies:

  • What is the mechanism behind this strategy?
  • In the example, how is the strategy working?
  • Why did the author choose this method for this audience?
  • How did the audience feel, react, or respond as a result of the strategy?

Shifts in tone and diction are two other things to notice in the body paragraphs. Always remember to provide proper sources in your writing. The MLA format is widely used in literature for citations.


Finish your essay by producing thorough, well-cited body paragraphs. Summarize what you have already discussed, like you would in most other types of essays. Discuss how the author’s words have influenced the audience’s perceptions or if they have had a significant impact on society.

You might include a powerful concluding remark in the final sentence of your rhetorical analysis conclusion that highlights the relevance of the author’s writing or how its tactics have helped shape history.

Key concepts in rhetoric Analysis

Rhetoric, or the art of persuasion, is a topic that teaches you to analyze texts, arguments, and speeches in terms of how they are intended to persuade the audience. This section introduces some of the field’s most important principles.

Appeals: Logos, ethos, pathos

Appeals are how the author convinces their audience. Three central appeals are discussed in rhetoric, established by the philosopher Aristotle and sometimes called the rhetorical triangle: logos, ethos, and pathos.

Logos, The use of reasoned argument to convince is known as the logical appeal. This is the most common method of academic writing, in which arguments are constructed using logic and evidence.

Ethos. The author presents oneself as an authority on their subject in the ethical argument. Someone presenting a moral argument, for example, can emphasize their own morally admirable behavior; someone speaking about a technical issue might establish themselves as an expert by highlighting their credentials.

Pathos, or the pathetic appeal, evokes the audience’s emotions. This could include speaking passionately, using vivid images, or attempting to elicit anger, sympathy, or any other feeling from the audience.

These three arguments are considered fundamental aspects of rhetoric, and an author may use all three to persuade their audience.

Text and context

A text is not always a piece of writing in rhetoric (though it may be this). A text is any form of communication that you are examining. This could be a speech, a commercial, or a satirical image, for example.

In these circumstances, your study would include more than just language; you would also consider the text’s visual or aural features.

Everything around the text is considered context: Who is the writer (or speaker, or designer, or whatever)? Who is their target audience (intended or actual)? When, where, and for what reason was the text created?

Considering the context can aid your rhetorical analysis. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech, for example, has international appeal, but understanding the context of the civil rights struggle is crucial.

Claims, supports, and warrants

A piece of rhetoric is constantly making an argument, whether it’s one that’s very well stated and logical (as in a philosophy essay) or one that the reader must deduce (e.g. in a satirical article). Claims, supports, and warrants are used to build these arguments.

A claim is a fact or notion that the author wants the reader to believe. An argument might be based on a single claim or a collection of them. Claims are normally expressed openly, although they can also be implied in certain types of material.

Each assertion made by the author is backed up by evidence. Anything from hard evidence to emotional appeals might be utilized to persuade the reader to believe a proposition.

The rationale or assumption that links a support to a claim is known as the warrant. The warrant is rarely expressed outside of very formal argumentation—the author thinks that their audience would comprehend the relationship without it. However, this does not preclude you from investigating the implied warrant in certain situations.

Step-by-step method of polishing Rhetorical Analysis

Here is step by step method to assist you with proofreading and editing, both of which can have a significant impact on the quality of your work.

1. Top Notch Grammar

Always double-check your writing for spelling and grammar issues, and avoid abbreviations.

2. Avoid Plagiarism

In all types of educational institutions, this is a punishable offense.

  • Always accurately cite whatever you use as a source.
  • To ensure you haven’t plagiarized anything in your assignment, use an online plagiarism checker like Copyscape, Turnitin or Grammarly.

3. Use Diverse Vocabulary

Using a diverse vocabulary will demonstrate a thorough comprehension of the passage under consideration. Use a thesaurus to expand your vocabulary while studying for better results.

4. Ensure Coherence

Transitions between paragraphs are always beneficial. Avoid jumping from one statement to the next. Instead, use fluid transitions to guide the reader through your writing.

5. Write in Present Tense

To avoid confusion among your readers, write in the present tense; it keeps your writing simple and straightforward.

6. Respond to the Text

Write your work as if you are responding to the passage while studying it. A rhetorical analysis paper is similar to a text reflection. Analyze the writer’s rhetorical technique while being natural and offering your own thoughts and opinions.

7. Choose the Best Title

First impressions are important. Make an engaging title that stands out from the crowd. Make that the title is appropriate for your work.

Frequently asked questions about rhetorical analysis

What’s the goal of a rhetorical analysis?

A rhetorical analysis’ goal is to describe how a piece of writing or oratory affects its audience, how successful it is, and the tactics and appeals it employs to accomplish its objectives.

Unlike a traditional argumentative essay, it focuses on examining how the arguments are created rather than taking a position on them.

What counts as a text for rhetorical analysis?

In a rhetorical analysis essay, the phrase “text” refers to the item you’re evaluating. It’s often a piece of writing or a speech, but it’s not required. An commercial or political cartoon, for example, may be treated as text.

What are logos, ethos, and pathos?

Logos uses logical arguments to appeal to the audience’s reason. The speaker’s ethos appeals to their status or authority, causing the listener to trust them more. Pathos appeals to the emotions, for example, attempting to make the listener feel furious or empathetic.

The rhetorical triangle refers to these three appeals taken together. Though a piece of rhetoric may not use all of them, they are essential to rhetorical analysis.

What are claims, supports, and warrants?

A claim is anything the author wants the audience to believe, according to rhetorical analysis. The proof or appeal they employ to persuade the reader to believe the proposition is called a support. A warrant is an assumption (often implicit) that connects the evidence to the claim.