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Resources for English Majors



Have you ever tried to communicate a point to an audience?  Whether you were giving a speech, writing an essay, or simply talking to a friend, you were engaging in practices of rhetoric.

To put it one way, rhetoric is:

The art of using language effectively so as to persuade or influence others, esp. the exploitation of figures of speech and other compositional techniques to this end; the study of principles and rules to be followed by a speaker or writer striving for eloquence, esp. as formulated by ancient Greek and Roman writers.  (Oxford English Dictionary Definition)

However, since so many people engage in and study rhetoric, it can be approached in a variety of angles by scholars.  Here are a few more definitions, which have been taken from websites that you can find in the resources section of this LibGuide.

Rhetoric, according to Aristotle, is the art of seeing the available means of persuasion. Today we apply it to any form of communication (TedEd Blog).

In brief, “rhetoric” is any communication used to modify the perspectives of others (Purdue Owl).

Rhetoric is the study of effective speaking and writing. And the art of persuasion. And many other things (BYU).

As these definitions allude to, rhetoric is a broad concept that takes time to understand fully.  Our guide provides resource so that you are able to learn about or research rhetoric in depth.

Credit: Butler University Libraries

Web Resources