Importance of Ethos in writing

Importance of Ethos in writing

Ethos is an essential component of any persuasive written text. As you strive to enhance your writing, it’s vital to comprehend what ethos is and how to use it effectively to optimize your writing style.

What is Ethos?

Ethos is a component of reasoning and persuasion in which a communicator specifies their validity, expertise, and moral integrity. A writer can implement ethos in written form and public speaking. And all authors employ it to some level to develop authority on a particular topic and strengthen the audience’s trust.

Ethos’s Origins

Ethos is a Greek phrase that interprets nearly as “moral integrity.” The Greek scholar Aristotle developed the concept known as persuasion methods in his work Rhetoric. Aristotle sets up three core forms of reasoning in Rhetoric: ethos, logos, and pathos.

Persuasion Strategies

Aristotle first defined this technique of persuasion in his book on Rhetoric. Aristotle describes ethos in his work, and other rhetorical addresses: logos, pathos, and the often-overlooked kairos. Pathos caters to a viewer’s emotions, whereas logos resonates with the viewer’s logic. As a rhetorical tactic, Kairos employs situational circumstances and deliverability. While intriguing to an audience’s ethos establishes you as a credible medium of data, relying solely on it can render your message appear prejudiced or dismissive. All rhetorical appeals are balanced by persuasive writing.

Elements of ethos

Aristotle divides an effective moral appeal into 3 categories, all of which work around each other to determine the writer as a reliable professional.


This ethos element reveals your knowledge and competency of a subject. For instance, phronesis can involve having a direct experience that validates your viewpoint or outlook or obtaining a Ph.D. degree in a specific topic that validates your depth of understanding. Using practical evidence to back up your written statement, and also extra credible third-party sources introduces phronesis to your writing.


Creating ethos in your document by displaying that your message is founded on great ethical intent and sound reasoning. Arete is the method of coordinating your argument step by step to assist the viewers via your thought pattern. When done correctly, your readers must understand why your point of view is valid and essential.


While arete is concerned with the morality of your text, eunoia is concerned with your virtuous purpose and generosity as a messenger. Finally, eunoia in ethos increases your likeability and approachability. It communicates to the viewer that your ultimate objective as a writer is focused on good motives for the reader’s benefit. These elements, taken together, enhance ethos, seeking to make you look more trustworthy as an author.

Ethos in Contemporary Writing

Ethos appears in a variety of types of writing, and its application is not restricted to rhetorical appeals. Here are a few suggestions of how ethos could be utilized in distinct kinds of contemporary writing;


Somebody who writes an op-ed about the significance of childhood education initially maintains their periods of teaching experience. They contend in their writing that their position is morally sound. They may use familiar anecdotes from their earlier days to instill trust (eunoia) in their readers.


An Olympic sports performer defines the hours of training that led to her gold medal. In their memoir, they discuss the ethical options to make in their profession, and why a sports athlete is so motivated to excel, while also including a few familiar narratives about her relatives, family background, and training routine that enable the audience to understand their reliability.

Magazine ad

A promotion in a publication contains a well-known superstar hairstylist who endorses the brand. When the hairdresser discusses how the shampoo tends to operate for everyone, from their famous and known clients to the customer at home, the ad creates eunoia.

Newspaper story

A journalist describes their thorough examination into corrupt practices on the town council. Though the writing style in a news report could be drier, the consequence of the narrative is that this information is in the public’s best interest.


The following factors contribute to an author’s or writer’s reputation;

  • Authority. A communicator in a role of authority, such as a chairman or CEO, will have a specific amount of ethos merely since they can claim that title. It’s worthwhile to know in literature when characters try to activate their privilege and strengthen their ethos by notifying other personalities of the titles they hold. It’s regularly an acknowledgment that the character quoting their credentials feels overwhelmed or challenged in some way.
  • Authenticity. A significant portion of expressing reliability to a viewer is often dependent on the author’s capacity to improve that they have no vested involvement in persuading the reader of their views. A viewer must preferably believe that the speaker is impartial—that they have no personal stake in succeeding audiences' favor, such as money or power—and that their viewpoints are objective. This type of ethos is especially crucial in the literature about narrators. Writers have their narrators assert impartiality or verifiability at the beginning of a book to gain the writer’s confidence in the narrator’s authenticity related to the story they are about to tell.
  • Expertise. An author’s qualifications, education, and professional field of study all add value significantly to their ethos. For instance, a doctor’s evaluation of a patient or the latest drug will bring more weight to a reader than the viewpoint of somebody with no medical background at all. This form of ethos is translated directly into literature, as characters' perspectives are analyzed within the context of their occupations.
  • Similarity. Speakers can enhance their ethos by mentioning similarities with their readers. Literary characters generally utilize ethos to convey relation or to other characters, as evidenced by modifications in their speech.


What is ethos?

Ethos supports a worded or rhetorical statement on the integrity and authority of a writer or speaker. It focuses on the author’s strong character or public image to gain the viewer’s trust.

What is the function of ethos?

The goal of ethos is to persuade viewers of the speaker’s or writer’s dignity and know-how.

When does ethos come into play in writing?

You may come across ethos unwillingly in documented formats such as a promotional advertisement, or a technical review for work. It can also be utilized by fiction authors to maintain the relevancy of a storyteller.

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