Ethos, Pathos & Logos

Ms. Halusek- English 2

What do those words mean?

How do writers get people to feel emotions? Why do we believe some people over others? How do people convince people of their views?

All of these questions can be answered by understanding Ethos, Pathos and Logos.

Understanding these three terms can help us become better writers and reader.

Watch the video below in order to gain a better understanding of Ethos, Pathos & Logos

How to Identify Ethos, Logos and Pathos by Shmoop


Ethos is an appeal to authority and credibility. This means that we believe what someone is saying because of who they are. We know they are reliable and that we can trust them.

For example, We believe when our doctor tells us that a vitamin is good to take because the person saying this is a doctor and we trust doctors.

Why is Ethos important? If your audience believes you are qualified or an expert in the area, they are more likely to believe you. If you are reading or hearing someone who you think it an expert in the area you are more likely to believe them.

Another example:

-Researchers at Harvard university say that learning a second language is important (We believe that because they are researchers at an ivy league university)

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Pathos is an appeal to emotions. This means that the author is trying to get to an audience by evoking some sort of an emotion.

For example, an animal shelter may use images of dogs and cats in cages in order to make an audience feel sadness. This feeling then gets the audience to donate or volunteer for the animal shelter.

Why is Pathos important? If you audience feels some sort of an emotion towards the topic they are more likely to listen and connect.

Another example:

Your peers tell you in order to be cool you need the new Air Jordan's. In order not to feel "un-cool" you buy the shoes.

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Logos is an appeal to logic. This means an author uses logical thought, fact and rationality to prove a point.

For example, Anti-smoking advertisements use the fact the smoking causes cancer in order to persuade people not to smoke. It's a fact that smoking causes cancer. Therefore in order to avoid cancer you shouldn't smoke.

Why is logos important? If you can prove your point through logical reason an audience is more likely to believe you.

Another example:

A study shows that brushing your teeth three times a day reduces cavities, therefore you should brush your teeth three times a day.

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