Category Archives: Rhetorical devices

A little more on ethos-building: rhetorical devices that can make your writing more credible


When I wrote about strengthening your credibility I neglected to mention a couple of rhetorical devices that can help boost your ethos. “But what’s a rhetorical device?” No, a rhetorical device is not a speech-writing machine. First, rhetoric is the … Continue reading

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Strengthening the pillars—Ethos, or “a reason to believe”


A while back, I introduced you to (or reminded you about) the pillars of effective communication: Ethos, Logos, and Pathos. (Here’s a quick refresher: ethos is your credibility, logos is the evidence and logic you use, and pathos is the … Continue reading

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Five Basic Stories


There’s something about a story that grabs our attention. And getting people to pay attention is something that every writer wants, right? Ergo, writers who learn how to use stories become better writers. Over at Forbes.com, Nick Morgan tells us … Continue reading

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Simple structures for short messages


If you’re ever stuck for a way to organize some short content—an email message or a letter, for example—you can always steal borrow some ideas from public speakers: PREP, PEP, and Divide and Conquer.

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James Geary on metaphor


Here’s author and aphorist James Geary explaining the ubiquity and power of metaphor:

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Savory similes


Most people know what a simile is—a direct comparison between two unlike things—and we use them all the time. In fact, we use them so freely that many of them have become clichés. For example, “stiff as a board,” “white … Continue reading

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Surprise me!


As soon as I came to, I knew it was going to be a long day. My head was throbbing like I had had one too many boilermakers down at Geno’s, a seedy bar on 5th Avenue frequented by a … Continue reading

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Clichés aren’t just words


It’s no surprise that a writing blog would say “avoid clichés.” But we need to remember that clichés Normal 0 false false false MicrosoftInternetExplorer4 /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:”Table Normal”; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-parent:””; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0in; … Continue reading

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Using visual metaphors


Metaphors are powerful tools that can help you clarify abstract ideas for your audience (as I pointed out in “Dealing with abstractions? Try metaphors.”). Just remember that you don’t have to limit yourself to words when you’re creating a metaphor. … Continue reading

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