How to Write a Rhetorical Analysis Essay Outline: Steps and Examples

How to Write a Rhetorical Analysis Essay Outline: Steps and Examples

Writers and speakers have a way of using words to influence the audience. It is always a conscious decision so that the writing or speech can be persuasive. They present and make their views convincingly and attractively.

To understand a rhetoric essay analysis, you must first know what rhetoric is. Rhetoric is the art of persuading the audience through writings or speeches. The technique is used to connect the audience to believe in a particular idea or message.

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As you critically analyze any text elements, you note down any rhetorical aspect in your rhetorical analysis essay outline. It will be easier for you to examine how these elements effectively influence the audience in a given text.

Rhetorical analysis essay

At first, writing a rhetorical analysis essay can be challenging, but when you get the tips, it’s easy. This article will help you understand a rhetorical analysis essay outline, examples of rhetoric analysis, and steps you need to follow to write a compelling essay.

A rhetoric analysis essay analyzes different parts of a literal work critically. It involves breaking down the text into parts and giving perspectives of those parts. Rhetorical analysis is not about whether you agree with the author or not.

In rhetorical analysis, you explain what the author or speaker is trying to persuade the audience to feel, think, or do. You also give the choices used to achieve the purpose.

You take a deep look into the use of language, its intention, and the common perception that the audience has. A rhetorical analysis essay should explain how the writer or speaker has used words to influence the audience.

Rhetorical analysis strategies

There are three core rhetorical techniques, according to Aristotle. They are ethos, pathos, and logos. As you analyze the text, these are some elements you should note down in your rhetorical analysis outline.


Here you focus on ethics as you convince the reader about the author’s credibility.  It is the disposition of the moral character. Ethos can be divided into virtue goodwill, valuable skills and wisdom, and goodwill towards the audience.

An author will use ethos to justify how moral or reliable they are. You pay attention at:

  • The direct quotes from industry experts or researchers.
  • Testimonials
  • Use of reviewed secondary source.

For example, “I am by no means discouraged. Indeed not. I understand that young ladies often reject the addresses of the man they mean to accept when he first applies for their favor, and therefore I shall hope, my dear cousin, to lead you to the altar before long.”- Pride and Prejudice.


It appeals to emotions. Your arguments should appeal to your reader’s feelings or try to invoke an emotional response.

You should identify the following elements that arouse the reader’s emotions:

  • Trigger words that cause strong emotions
  • Exclamation points used will express either joy, disbelief, surprise, urgency, or enthusiasm.
  • Questions that will trigger you to think about something deeply. For example, why do you do the right thing?
  • Anecdotes or stories from witnesses or survivors

An example of  Barak Obama’s keynote speech in 2004 at a Democratic National convention is relevant. “It’s the hope of the slaves that sit around a fireplace as they sing freedom songs. The hope of immigrants that settle out for distant shores; the hope of a millworker’s son who dares to defy the odds; the hope of a skinny kid who has a funny name and believes that America has a place for him, too.


It is the use of reason or logic to persuade the audience. You use facts, statistics, figures, or logical statements as a way to explain something. Logos can either be deductive or inductive reasoning. You will use logos to support arguments in persuasive writing.

To identify the logos, you look for the following strategies:

  • Statistics, factual information, or any data for support
  • Maps, charts, or graphs
  • Primary sources like the research studies, government documents, legal cases, or court reports
  • Direct information like technical specifications
  • Analogies

For example, ‘America has given the Negro people a bad check, a check which has come back marked, ‘insufficient funds. I have a Dream by Martin Luther.

Other common rhetorical strategies in a text

Apart from the main rhetorical strategies, elements are used in a text that should not be ignored. The author uses these terms more often as an art of persuasion. These elements convey meaning and provoke a response from the audience. They include:

      I. Hyperbole

It is an exaggeration. An author can represent something or someone to be larger, better, worse, or opposite of what they are. The exaggeration proves a point or emphasizes something.

For example, in Martin Luther’s speech, the line, ‘every valley will be exalted and every valley and mountain shall be made low’ is a hyperbole. It emphasizes the equality that will take place in all the people.

   II. Repetition

It is the act of repeating words or phrases commonly used in speeches. It emphasizes or elicits an emotional response. The author or speaker leaves the audience a lasting impression since they can’t forget the repeated words.

III.  Rhetorical question

A rhetorical question is used to ask for emphasis. The author doesn’t expect an answer to the question. These questions are designed to appeal to the audience’s emotions and cause them to think more about something. 

IV.  Exemplification

The author provides examples to illustrate a more significant point in detail. The samples have a clear relationship with the point that the author is making.

 V. Analogy

It is comparing and contrasting two things. When an author uses an analogy, it adds logic to something for the reader to understand better.

VI. Personification

A rhetorical technique where you add human characters to something not human. It helps the reader to make a connection with the non-human things. Personification is very effective because the audience will directly relate to the items to them.

How to title a rhetorical analysis essay outline

The title of a rhetorical analysis is a central function that directs how the reader will receive the analysis. It gives the reader an idea of the topic and the methods to use in the analysis. Your title will always be a fantastic way to create an appositive first impression pulling readers to the writing.

The following steps will help you to write a good title

Step 1

You should first consider the speech and writing that you will be analyzing. Note down the significant questions and ideas that you pull. Concerning your ideas, think of phrases that will entice your reader and catch their attention.

Step 2

You should create a title that will reflect the specific topic of your rhetorical analysis. It is supposed to focus on the particular item or individual to be analyzed. Each individual or entity will suggest a significant theme that should be your center of attraction.

Step 3

Revise your title to add what may be missing. The words that you use should be useful and necessary.

Step 4

Capitalize the first letters of your title except for small words like the, an, for, to, or a. You should always center the title on the paper. This rhetorical analysis format intends to grab the attention of the reader.

Rhetorical analysis: SOAPSTone method

The word SOAPSTone is speaker, occasion, audience, purpose, subject, and tone. It is a rhetorical analysis format that helps you remember what elements to look for or identify when reading. Through the structure, you will understand the author’s work and how it affects the audience.

SOAPSTone stands for:


Identify who is telling the story or giving the information in the text under analysis. It can either be an omniscient narrator, a character in the story, or the actual author of the text. If it is a character, there is a reason why the author chooses the person to be the speaker.

You should note down the essential details about the speaker that the reader is supposed to know. In most of the speeches, for example, the speaker is primarily the author.


It refers to the setting, time, and place where the events took place. The geographical and chronological context in which the speaker is acting. Explain how time and place affect or inform the text. What details does the text give about the occasion itself?


It is the person who the text addresses. You will focus on the reason why the speaker or writer chose the particular audience. Sometimes it can be more than one targeted audience.


It is the author’s goal in writing a particular text for the audience that you have noticed. The author will always want to give specific values through the text. It would be best if you analyzed whether the author has effectively achieved the purpose.


When you know the audience and purpose, you will be in a better position to understand the subject or topic of the text. Investigate what bellies of the reader to provide a deeper meaning.


These are textual elements that evoke emotions in the audience. You should evaluate the word choice, organization, and rhetorical patterns.

How to write a rhetorical analysis essay step by step

Read the text more than once

It is the first and the foremost critical step to writing a rhetorical analysis essay. As you read, you should analyze thoroughly. Prepare a SOAPSTone list of questions that you will answer as you go on with reading.

Make notes on the essential aspects and the techniques that the author used. You can look at other examples of rhetorical analysis essays to help you prepare notes. Make sure you gather enough information.

Understand your topic and the text

To write a rhetorical analysis essay, you need to understand the topic and the work you are analyzing. You can’t give a precise analysis if the subject is not clear. You can search for other examples of a rhetorical analysis essay concerning your topic to help you choose the topic.

Determine the strategy of persuasion in the text

An author or speaker can use the three elements that are ethos, pathos, or logos to persuade the audience. These three modes of persuasion help identify the rhetorical appeals in the speech or writing that convinces the audience.

A text can have more than one mode of persuasion. In a rhetorical analysis essay, you point out which element the author used. You should explain the reasons behind the use and whether it was effective in persuading.

State a clear thesis statement

A rhetorical analysis essay requires you to have a well-defined and clear thesis statement. The statement should be about your interpretation of the text. It should effectively explain how the author is meeting the goal of persuasion.

You include the thesis statement towards the end of the introduction. Before writing it down, you can first craft it because it gives your paper direction. It should be precise and justifiable.

Create an outline

A rhetorical analysis essay outline is essential before writing. It ensures that your points flow out logically. You don’t miss out on anything since the essay outline gives you the direction. It will help when you focus on writing the rhetorical analysis essay outline, for it will joint with your points.

Use the appropriate writing style

Choosing the right words and following grammatical rules makes you write an interesting rhetorical analysis essay. You should maintain an objective tone. Don’t be over critical but analyze the text as you give examples, merely stating your point of view.

Proofread and edit your work after writing

Look out for any mistake in your paper. Proofreading helps you ensure that you have covered all the points in the text.

 How to write a rhetorical analysis essay outline

A rhetorical analysis essay outline makes your writing more manageable and effective. All the ideas and evidence you note down in a coherent order. The format will keep you on track, and your work will be well structured.

A rhetorical essay outline has three parts: the introduction, body, and conclusion. The rhetorical analysis essay outline template will be the reference text.

Introduction of a rhetorical essay outline

In the introduction, you inform your reader about the origin of the text that you are analyzing. You should give information about the author, the target audience, and the background context.

Here you state the author’s apparent purpose. Make sure you describe how the author establishes a relationship with the audience.

Write a powerful thesis statement at the end of the introduction. It should highlight the main point that you will discuss in the essay. Thesis writing is essential in your introduction, for it gives a brief guide of what you will discuss.

Body paragraphs of rhetorical essay outline

The body paragraphs are essential for they unveil crucial information and answer several questions. To draft the body in the rhetorical analysis outline, you should show how the author has achieved the purpose and the persuasive methods.

You should divide each paragraph according to the different ideas. Each body paragraph should explain a single idea and have evidence to support it. Start each section with a topic statement that refers back to the thesis statement.

The following is the format of rhetorical analysis outline template in the body paragraphs:

Topic sentence

The device, style, structure, or strategy used to appeal to the audience. It would be best if you claimed that strategy. For example, Hazlitt uses strong diction as a strategy of promoting the importance of money.

Textual evidence of the strategy above

You should provide evidence to stand out for the strategy that you give. For example, the use of words literally and truly establishes the mood of the piece.

Textual explanation about the strategy

Although happiness is not attached to wealth, Hazlitt uses the two words to show that it’s all that matters in the real world. His diction on the importance of money also comes out clearly because you can’t love someone on an empty stomach. Sometimes, money helps achieve happiness.

The verbs and adverbs used in the text can provide more evidence to advance the idea. A clear denotation of the verbs in the template shows that those poor do not have much fun in life. Money is necessary; that is why lower-class people are controlled by the rich.

Final connection of the strategy to the purpose

The strategy should always align with the purpose of the text. An approach brings out the intended purpose to the audience. For example, Hazlitt’s approach fulfills the purpose. It shines a light on people about the importance of money. You understand that there is self-fulfillment that those without money can never achieve.


The conclusion paragraph summarizes the whole essay and the main points. Make sure there is no new information you add. It would be best to address your main argument to strengthen its effect and state whether the text was compelling.

Tips for rhetorical essay analysis

  1. Don’t push your point of view very aggressively. You are supposed to analyze the text and not to argue.
  2. Reading a rhetorical analysis essay example will help you understand a rhetorical analysis structure.

How to write a rhetorical analysis Ap language

A rhetorical analysis ap language requires a lot of writing. An Ap language exam has three free-response prompts synthesis question, rhetorical analysis, and an argument. The second essay task will provide a non-fictional text that you use to write an essay.

The following are tips you need to follow to write the best Ap lang rhetorical analysis essay:

Take notes as you read first

Reading the non-fiction text included in the prompts is very necessary for it is the basis of the essay. The Ap Language exam takes forty minutes. You should make a little note per paragraph that establishes that part’s purpose. Write down the rhetorical devices that you can find.

Outlining your work before writing

Sketch out your thesis statement and topic sentences. You should note down the critical points in each paragraph. Write the rhetorical strategies and the reasons why the author chose them for that particular audience. A rhetorical analysis essay structure will help you as you write your outline.

The introduction should be brief. It should contain essential information like the speaker, occasion, subject, purpose, and audience.

The paragraphs should clearly and specifically explain how the rhetorical strategies help the author reach his purpose in the body section.

 Write an impactful introduction and conclusion.

Since the Ap language essay is timed, treat your introduction simple. It should be a vehicle for your thesis. Two or three sentences can be enough. In conclusion, you can restate the thesis statement. Give a summary of the overall structure.

Include the rhetorical devices in your thesis

An Ap Language rhetorical essay requires you to explain in detail the rhetorical strategies that are present. You should give information on how these devices come together for the author’s specific purpose. Make sure that it reflects in your thesis.

Explain the effect of each example to the audience

When you identify the rhetorical strategy, for instance, humor, try to explain the function. Show the audience you understand the concept by stating the position and the reasons for using the strategy.

Avoid overused signal verbs

Verbs like the author say, explains, tells us, or writes are weak signal verbs. Analyze your text by using transitional words and strong verbs. You can discuss the writer’s rhetorical choices using words like the author implies, describes, suggests, emphasizes, defines, and establishes.

In conclusion

A rhetorical analysis essay argues how the author conveys their message to persuade their audience. You explore the author’s goals, describe the techniques used, and analyze the effectiveness of the methods to the reader.

When writing a rhetorical analysis essay, you read the text study more than once. You also note down the strategies that the author uses to persuade the audience.

A rhetorical analysis essay outline is essential as it helps keep you on track. You will have all the information that you will present in each paragraph. You craft your thesis here so that it will be clear and precise. If you still need help writing your rhetorical essay, place your order to get help from our experts.

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