Dear students of first year college English, also known here at El Camino as English 1A, it is time to learn how to argue in your work. Not just any arguments though, you must learn to place logical, ethical, and sometimes even emotional points in your papers. The most important technique to learn at this time in your education would be the use of logos in your essays. Logos is logic based arguments in written word or media and can seriously help you in supporting your claims. When you use logic in your papers you are using the cold hard the facts, the things that people struggle to deny are true or just inherently understand as right.
Logos is simple to use too. When writing for class you are given literature to read and analyze and can no doubt find logical arguments from the text itself to quote in your papers. Articles and facts pulled from well accredited online sources are also logos at work. What makes a fact a fact however, is typically ethos. The people who come up with what we know to be true must be seen as ethical and trustworthy otherwise we wouldn't take their word for it. Thus ethos is necessary, the ethical arguments of literature and media. Why should the reader trust/ believe what you say?
What gives you any clout or your words any back up? To use ethos in literature you can tell a story about yourself that relates to your topic or experience you've had that gives your opinion some authority. Ethos can support your logos if the logical facts you use in your essays come from ethical and well thought of sources. Varying arguments can give your papers higher degrees of validity. You want your readers to trust you, understand what your saying, and nod in agreement with the facts you present them. Always try to be reasonable and well backed up.
On another level of argument sits pathos, the emotional statements that can sway a crowd. Pathos is powerful but should be used properly and always sparingly. People are very emotion based, we have empathy for each other and animals and issues surrounding us. It can be easy to get to someone through their emotions, but emotions are tricky and sometimes unstable. If you use too much pathos someone can feel too much and lose sight of what you wanted to show them. The right amount, the right placed statement that makes your heart melt for the subject, can be just what your argument needs however.
Make your readers feel, but don't let them get too heated or sad about any one thing or you may lose them. Remember students of English 1A, argue your points in all essays, but concentrate on the logical, remember your logos. Support yourself and your facts with ethos, use your ethics and background. Give emotional appeal and feeling to your paper but never let yourself or others lose sight of your point. Always keep in mind that literature and the written word is a way to be heard, to be known. Always hold your own and argue on.