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How to Write a Rhetorical Essay

Two Types of Rhetorical Essays 

There are basically two different types of rhetorical essays. One is an expression of your opinion on a text you read, such as a book or article. This is sometimes called a rhetorical analysis essay. A regular rhetorical essay can be about any subject, but provides a line of reasoning, a summary of the line of reasoning, an explanation and clarification of what you think it means and why. 

Structure of a Rhetorical Analysis Essay 

A rhetorical analysis essay is different than a book report. In a book report, you may give some background on the author and give a summary of what the book was about. The author's viewpoints and your reaction to them are not usually part of the report. That's where a rhetorical analysis essay comes in and putting into your own words what a text meant to you can sometimes be difficult. Start with the author of the text and tell a little bit about that person and how you may feel toward the author. Then summarize what the text was about and whether you think the author expressed his ideas adequately and if not, why. Describe points about the text that the author could have made better or clearer. 

Use Definition for a Rhetorical Essay 

  • Start with an outline of the main points you want to make.
  • Structure your essay so that the reader knows what you will be talking about from the first sentence of the essay by defining what your subject is. For example if you are writing about the endangered polar bear, define what that might mean to society.
  • A rhetorical essay can be written on any subject, but you might want to pick topics that people are interested in reading about. Check the major networking websites such as Facebook and Twitter for hot topics.
  • Write a description about the subject you are going to make your argument or opinion on, then describe the argument or opinion you have on the subject.
  • Explain why you feel the way you do about the subject and summarize or clarify your opinion. Give strong reasons for feeling the way you do so that your audience can relate to the subject and to you. 

Do not be Afraid to use References 

With any essay, it is important to remain succinct and not to wordy. After all, it is an essay, not a book. If you ramble on about your opinions, people will not want to read your essay. You have to give reasons why you have each opinion and the reasons have to make sense to the reader. For example, you can not just write “I'm apposed to the healthcare plan.” You need to go into reasons why you are apposed to it, which may involve a little research. Don't be afraid to cite references if you have to do some research. References give the essay credibility and will let readers know you are knowledgeable on the subject you are writing about. 

Essay Format 

Essays are usually written in a formal format. Avoid slang terms and a lot of unnecessary words. Keep things precise and use proper spelling and grammar. People do not like to read essays with words misspelled. It is distracting and it reflects on your writing skills. If you write with proper spelling, correct grammar and are able to get your points across in a precise and convincing manner, you have the makings for an excellent rhetorical essay.