By: Claudia Dunn

What is Ethos?

Ethos represents credibility or an ethical appeal in order to persuade the reader on a certain topic. By convincing the reader that we are credible, it will persuade them to trust our opinion on the topic and go along with what a person has to say on a topic.

When do you use Ethos?

You should use ethos when you are wanting to create persuasion among the audience and when you want to show credibility and ethics. Ethos is different from Pathos and Logos because it is creating credibility, not emotion or evidence. Ethos is an effective persuasion tool that will help you with the rest of your life and in any aspects of it wether it be in school or not. Ethos is commonly scene in our everyday lives like on commercials for example. Professional athletes present athletic products, beautiful women present beauty products, and doctors present prescription or non-prescription drugs. Ethos can be seen in Politics, the court room, hospitals, lectures, and much more.

How do you use Ethos?

In order to properly use Ethos in an argument, article, or presentation, the speaker must first provide proof of authority on what ever the topic is. Since you will probably not be as experienced as someone who has a PhD, before you do your presentation, give some background information on your self and tell the audience any back group experience you have a on the topic. You should say anything that would make your audience trust you and let them know your previous knowledge on the topic.

One way a speaker can show Ethos is through showing the audience that they have an onset knowledge about the topic they are sharing. Before addressing the audience about their topic, the speaker should first indicate that he knows the topic very well or that he has read many resources about the subject. Another way to show Ethos is by the speaker sharing that they have close association with the topic. For example, if the writer is arguing that secondhand smoking should be banned in public places, he may tell his readers that although he is a non-smoker he has developed emphysema after having been exposed to secondhand smoke in bars for more than five years. This will show that the writer has actual experience that directly relates to his contention, thereby giving his readers that what he is saying has substance.

Why do you use Ethos?

The purpose of Ethos is to build a sense of authority, ethics, and credibility among your audience. No matter how detailed your presentation or argument might be, it won't be effective if you don't promote your self and show that you have experience in the topic. Credibility is of vast importance when it comes to persuading listeners to accept or even embrace a side of an argument that may run contrary to their own beliefs or values.