How to Write a Rhetorical Analysis Essay: Sample & Helpful Tips

Below you will find all the answers you’ve been searching for rhetoric writing, as well as helpful tips on how to write a rhetorical analysis essay from the team of our top-quality essay writing service.

What is a Rhetorical Analysis?

Before we even get into analysis, you have to know what rhetoric is! Rhetoric is the study of how writers and speakers use words to influence an audience. They influence an audience by appealing to these three characteristics:

Pathos: Appeals to an audience’s emotions.

Ethos: The author using his credibility and background to gain approval.

Logos: Using reason to win favor or gain approval.

There are many mediums by which a rhetorician can use these three types of appeal. He can do it in the written form by authoring an article or a book; he can also do so verbally by giving speeches, or he can do it visually with cartoons or films with interesting dialogue.

Understanding the Basics

The basics of essay writing are often communicated across to all students at some time in their academic journey, especially here in the US. However, it isn’t uncommon to discover that some still struggle with drafting out written work that is worth an A grade. Of course, we must understand that people assimilate information at different speed. Also, an essay type that is not very much discussed around would take more time adapting to and understanding.
One such write-up category is a rhetorical analysis essay. For us to understand what type of content would be found in it, we would first look at what a rhetorical analysis entails.

A rhetorical analysis is a style of writing that dissects a non-fictional piece into bits and pieces. It then proceeds to explain in detail how each bit and piece complement each other to produce certain effects experienced in reading through and between lines. A rhetorical analysis paper involves an in-depth study of the particular essay in need of analysis before taking steps to divide it into bits that can be explained at a closer glance. This makes it an ‘intense’ type of work, and one that should not be undertaken with laxity or indifference.

Now that you have a general idea about what rhetoric is, now we can get into rhetorical analysis thesis. Simply put, analysis is when you study how a rhetorician uses words and influence an audience, and as a researcher, make the determination of whether or not the rhetorician was successful.

How do you write a visual rhetorical analysis?

In case you have the task of writing a visual rhetoric analysis, you could start by putting down on paper everything you see in the image or video (colors, objects, their relative size and position) as well as their role and meaning with relation to the whole piece. Describe evoked feelings and thoughts. Think about the author’s motivation of using this picture or certain elements in it and the message he/she wanted to convey (but also who is the intended audience).

Read also: How To Write a Literary Analysis Essay

Structure and Parts – The Typical Rhetorical Essay Outline

What does a rhetorical analysis outline look like?
A typical outline would have the following parts, which would be reflected in a step-by-step process outlined below:

Selecting a non-fiction story /Gathering necessary information

Many wonderful books can be selected with the purpose of creating this essay. However, a widespread and common glitch related to non-fiction is their availability via online channels. Keeping this in mind, it’s also okay to gather information about the said book. It could be that you just need a chapter of this book to create the perfect rhetorical analysis essay. The most important thing is to have a book, or part of it decided upon, as this would guide you in your information search.

Getting the introductions in order

Nothing upsets the balance of an essay like a poorly-constructed introductory paragraph/opening remark. Hence, it’s essential that you work on this aspect and ensure that it is in continuous flow with other work’s parts. The introduction should not give an entire essay away; rather; it should point to the basics alongside with some titbits that are sure to catch any reader’s attention.

Paragraphs with arguments

The next aspect of a rhetorical analysis essay is organizing paragraphs. Among the few important moments to remember during learning how to write a rhetorical essay is that your ideas need to ‘flow’ and connect. It should be a chain reaction. Each idea and bit examined should connect to an upcoming one, and the next, and they all keep connecting until the final idea is roped into a perfect rhetorical analysis essay. Every point you raise to aid the proper understanding of the arguments you are trying to push forward.
Usually, three solid arguments are considered to carry enough weight to analyze an essay. However, depending on the book synopsis and outline, more paragraphs might be needed so that all aspects of the story might be addressed.

Working with the conclusion

For every beginning, there’s an ending. An essay without a proper ending as well could bring room for some degree of confusion. Some students still struggle with ending their written work because they make the mistake of discussing ideas rather than bringing them all to a wrap. A conclusion should solely focus on bringing all arguments to a common point and ending them. Your closing remarks should be as good as your introduction; it gives credibility to your write-up.

How do you write a conclusion paragraph for a rhetorical analysis?

Writing a conclusion for a rhetorical analysis would likely require revising the main elements or categories of elements/ tricks used in the rhetorical piece and looking at them in an integrated manner (summarizing their anticipated effect or interactions in order to produce the desired effects). An evaluation of the overall power of the rhetoric piece is also given.

Use your writing tips

How do you make this task of drafting a well-prepared rhetorical analysis essay easier? Even though a student might be familiar with all steps listed above, they still search for the best approach towards this whole process. Everyone wants to be time – efficient and produce more within a short period. This is why we include some rhetorical analysis tips that would help anyone to get more done properly in a short period.

Do not write with assumptions

Don’t assume. Any fact that isn’t mentioned in the story, or that was mentioned as a ‘by-detail’ should not be picked on as a major point, e.g. targeted story says that “a man had to watch his mother almost die” and then nothing is mentioned about his mother anymore in that part. It would be wrong to say that his mother died because there is no supporting text for that in this story.

Grammatical accuracy

This stays forever important as far as any category of essay writing is concerned. A lot of confusion is avoided when you ‘dot the I’s and cross the t’s’ in a proper and timely way. Overuse of punctuation marks is an absolute no. Let your readers know where one sentence ends, and another starts. Keep your words clear and concise. Be wary of discrepancies between American and British English, and do not interchange one when writing to an audience that understands another.

Get your work checked

As the sole owner of the work, it’s okay if you discover you omitted some corrections, and before you submit you should subject your work to a compulsory check. You could either use online checkers who would identify grammatical errors and watery words, or you could ask an experienced friend to assist you in proofreading the work.

Proper referencing

Perhaps you have to gather information from more than one source related to this story you are analyzing. It is essential to include appropriate reference details. This gives your rhetorical analysis essay more credibility, and it’s easier for readers to trust information from you, knowing that they can always check on it from the source. Furthermore, do the best possible not to use out-dated information because this would indefinitely push you towards out-dated references. Keep your work relevant to the happenings and trends of the day.

Don’t just write

In other words; do not just create a rhetorical analysis essay for the sake of creating one. Every written piece has its own target audience. Take all needed steps to ensure that the work you’ve prepared is relevant to the targeted audience, i.e. it’s something they can identify with and relate to.

Check previously done essays

If you feel like you would learn better from checking out previously done pieces by others who had to come up with an essay similar to this one, then you should check their works out. It would also help you avoid making mistakes that they already made, and improve your accuracy index.


With the above-highlighted tips, advice and other aspects, it becomes easier for one to attempt the process of creating a read-worthy rhetorical essay. As one might correctly assess, writing this type of paper can take much time. It requires a good amount of mental focus. We do hope that with the tips offered above, writing in a rhetorical tone is something students in US universities can finally look forward to without fear of failing.

How to Write a Rhetorical Analysis

Now that you know what rhetoric is, you need to know how to write a rhetorical analysis. Writing a rhetorical analysis means to analyze the rhetorical piece in detail, to record the feelings, impressions, and thoughts it evokes upon first and subsequent readings and to try to explain in detail how the author achieves each of these effects in the reader/listener, or why exactly he/she fails to achieve what was intended.

In some respects, it’s like writing an essay, but below are some points you should focus on in your writing:

  • Purpose
  • Research
  • Pre-Writing
  • Outlining
  • Writing and Style
  • Proofreading
  • Formatting and Citation

This guide will elaborate on each of these points so that you have a clear idea of what is expected of you when you are creating your composition.

Read also: Analytical essay writing guide at

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What Is the Purpose of Your Rhetorical Analysis Essay?

Ask yourself why you are writing; what is your goal? How are you going to communicate your ideas to your audience? Your goal should be to get the highest grade possible on your assignment and to do that you are going to keep in mind that the professor is your audience.

The fact that your professor is your audience makes things easier to some degree because you know what he expects from you. Most likely he has either given you written or verbal instructions detailing the format he wants you to use or the question he wants you to answer.

Don’t deviate from the professor’s rules, no matter how stupid you think there are. Half the trick in college is learning how to follow instructions, and if you can't do that, consider an option to buy essays and get a high grade.

Doing Research for Your Paper

Now that you know the purpose of your work, now comes the task of researching the topic. Your topic is almost 100 percent likely to be a book or speech, or some other medium for conveying ideas. In order to do your research properly, you are going to actively read the work you are studying, analyzing the author’s use of words and his appeals to pathos, ethos, and logos.

In order to get a complete picture of the author’s work, you not only have to analyze the work, but you must also understand the context in which it was written, especially if you are analyzing something written hundreds of years ago. You also must understand the author himself. For example, if you are writing a rhetorical analysis about Sir Winston Churchill’s speeches, you should develop a good understanding about Churchill’s life and his family background, as well as a good understanding of the British Empire and the Second World War. Taking the time to understand the historical context of the subject of your essay will only serve to improve your composition.

Read also: How to Write a Character Analysis in the Most Professional Way

Pre-Writing for Your Project

All good essayists pre-write before they even begin to think about creating a draft or outlining their composition, so you should do this, too. This will help you to develop ideas for your rhetorical paper.

After you have completed your research, you should have a fairly good idea of what you want your essay will be about; however, your thoughts are probably disorganized and all over the place. You can organize all of those different thoughts by recording every single one on a piece of paper. Sit down, pull out a blank page, and scribble down every single thought, word, or idea related to your project that comes to mind. Before you know it, you will have a long list of material for your essay.

Once you are done writing, look through the notes you’ve jotted down and eliminate the words and phrases that you think won’t help you, and keep all the rest. Then try to organize this material into coherent sentences and even paragraphs. These will form the meat and potatoes of your essay!

How to Make an Analysis Outline

Creating a good structure and rhetorical analysis essay outline is one of the most important steps in the process of essay writing, because it helps you to stay organized and on task, and it helps you to avoid writing superfluous text. Your outline should contain the following three sections:

  • Introduction
  • Thesis Statement
  • Main Body
  • Conclusion

Your introduction is meant to introduce a topic to your reader that he might not be familiar with. Within your introductory paragraph is a thesis statement that surmises your opinion about the topic being discussed in your paper.

Your thesis is the main argument you are trying to make in your composition. Is it your position that the analyzed work is good? If so, then in the thesis section of your outline, write in plain language your opinion.

The main body is where you will support the stated in your thesis position. Put down, in short sentences, that are to the point, every idea you intend to use to support thesis in the order you want them to appear.

In the conclusion, end your essay, stating why your argument matters. Scribble down whatever ideas you have to support your conclusion in short sentences.

Remember, when outlining, use plain language. Do not compose entire sentences and paragraphs.

Writing and Style

Now that you have an outline, get down to creating your task. Your outline will make writing much easier on you because it will serve as a step-by-step map that takes you to the end of the road. Each short sentence can be expanded into one paragraph or multiple paragraphs depending on its complexity.

When expanding the sentences, created in your outline, be sure to use words that will allow a transition from sentence to sentence, paragraph to paragraph. If you don’t use transition words, your text will be blocky and clunky.

Once you start your rhetorical analysis essay there is no need to do it all in one sitting, or even on the same day. Give yourself enough time and do a little bit every day, or if there is only a day for it, give yourself breaks and time to rest.

Keep in mind that you should use an appropriate style for your composition. Do not use first-person pronouns; instead, use third person pronouns. Words like I, you, and me are completely unacceptable in this form of academic writing.

Proofreading Your Analysis Essay

Like any type of essay, a rhetorical paper must be proofread and edited for mistakes. Once you are finished with writing your composition, read through it, use a grammar checker and eliminate any spelling and grammar errors, as well stylistic mistakes. Never turn in an unedited task, because it is guaranteed to have some errors, no matter how good of an essayist you are.

It also does not hurt to have a fresh pair of eyes to look at your paper. Most likely your professor has office hours where students can come visit. You can always have your professor look at your paper and give you advice.

Rhetorical Analysis Format and Citation

Every paper has to be formatted in accordance with the instructions of your professor. Most likely he assigned a format, such as MLA, Harvard, or Chicago. Follow this format to the letter and don’t choose a format not specified by your professor. Doing so will often result in receiving a failing grade, no matter brilliantly is written your essay. By the way, you can use our Harvard reference generator for free.

In addition to formatting the text of your essay, you must also be sure to format your bibliography in accordance with the formatting style you’ve been assigned or chosen.

Preparing to Write: Rhetorical Essay Tips

What should one prepare for when dealing with rhetorical analysis essay? Just a few things. Firstly, one needs to be aware of questions that are to be answered by the analysis provided. This involves questions like:

  • What’s the plot?
  • What’s the role of every cast’s character?
  • Would the plot take a different twist if one or more of the ‘less significant’ characters were absent from storyline?
  • What do we know about an author of a specified story?
  • Are there moments in this story that we can relate to an author’s life? (Authors are often known to write from experience)
  • What age group was targeted as a suitable audience? Is presented content suitable enough for them?
  • Do various scenes and situations ‘flow’ into each other or are there different parts disjointed and difficult to connect?
  • Given that your audience is likely from different cities in the US, how does this story connect to certain aspects of American culture regarding life, education, etc.?
  • Is it something that they are likely to relate to, or not?
  • There are a host of other questions, but we have taken essential ones and highlighted them above. Furthermore, due to the essay’s nature, some tips one must observe for a comprehensive rhetorical analysis thesis is that it must be:
  • Clear to concerned readers
  • Concise and precise
  • Not involve the use of offensive words
  • Have simple grammatical construct, i.e. avoid using ‘big’ words even if they do pass the meaning across.
  • Have no grammatical errors or mistakes. They tend to confuse the readers.
  • Must be constructed in such a way that it catches any reader’s attention. No one likes reading boring essays even when neatly written.
  • Straight to the point. Now, beating around the bush just to maintain word count is a swell idea, but doesn’t work when you are dealing with rhetorical writing. Also, keep in mind that dillydallying around one idea actually makes the idea to lose relevance.

We would look at how to write a rhetorical essay in a minute. But first, let’s examine the structure of a typical essay from this category.

Also to further understand the structure and approach of a rhetorical essay, it can be helpful to study a rhetorical essay example, which provides practical insights into the application of rhetorical analysis techniques.

What Is an Example of a Rhetorical Analysis Essay?

An example of a rhetorical analysis essay could be any essay which critically dissects/ analyzes the rhetorical means used (classified as ethos, pathos, or logos) and the efficiency of their use in delivering a message/ creating a convincing case.

Here’s a fragment of a typical rhetorical analysis essay example. Note the structure of the paragraphs and how the ideas fit together. Here we see various segments that make it up.

A Rhetorical Analysis of “The Right Stuff” by Donna Carthy

David Suzuki’s “The Right Stuff” features the gracious, entertaining and informative style we have come to associate with this well-known host of The Nature of Things. He begins with the interesting speculation from the book “Is There Life After High School?” that “impressions formed in high school are more vivid and indelible than those formed at any other time in life.” Suzuki stresses the importance of high school education and prepares his readers for a proposal related to making that education as valuable as possible. A rhetorical analysis reveals varying degrees of success with which Suzuki employs logos, pathos, and ethos: while Suzuki’s ethos is strong because of the reputation he brings to his writing, and his use of pathos to appeal to his target audience of parents and educators, his use of logos is weak. Suzuki is skilled in argumentation, but his strong ethos fails to make up for lack of support for his thesis that high school science courses should begin with sex education.

Because there will be parents in the 1980s (when we can assume this article appeared before it was republished in book form in 1989) just as likely to be concerned as parents of any decade if the high school science teacher appeals to teenage sexual interest to “sell” the subject. Suzuki wisely delays his thesis, first by appealing to his target audience: parents and educators who grew up in relatively the same era as he did, who may even experience some nostalgia for high school when, in the first paragraph, he asks them to invoke their own memories. He appears to have begun his own musings based on the book he has just read. This is a disarming strategy that gets his readers onside before his argument begins, and certainly belongs in both the realms of ethos (his credibility – he had similar experiences to theirs) and pathos (feelings of nostalgia)

The major question overlooked by Suzuki’s essay—one of logistics-- is how can the schools, understaffed and overstressed, add the difficult subject of sex education to their curriculum. Admittedly, David Suzuki wrote his essay at a time when education budgets were in better shape than they are today, and he certainly makes an excellent point that educators should respect their students and appeal to their interests.

Nevertheless, his argument for sex education in the schools clearly needs further thinking. In spite of Suzuki’s strong ethos and persuasive use of pathos, he needs a stronger use of logos to make an argument here. The best he can hope for is to get his audience’s attention – then it is up to them to see if and how his ideas should be implemented in the schools.

Now You Know How to Write a Perfect Rhetorical Essay!

Composing an analysis will be much easier now that you are armed with these writing strategies. Remember that although these writing tasks are difficult, they are not impossible to complete, so long as you use our tricks of the trade. But, if feeling like these endless essays are becoming too much, and you have more important things to do, you can hire an essay writer from EduBirdie who can help writing a narrative essay or get free rhetorical analysis examples!

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