How to Write a Rhetorical Analysis

This article covers,

1.What is a Rhetorical Analysis?
          – Definition
          – Characteristics

2.How to Write a Rhetorical Analysis?
          – Steps to Follow
          – Preparing to Write Rhetorical Analysis
          – Writing a Rhetoric Analysis

What is a Rhetorical Analysis

Rhetorical analysis is an attempt to understand how authors use different strategies to achieve their goals of writing a piece of work. Rhetoric analysis is used with nonfiction; it doesn’t only analyze texts, it can also analyze speeches and visual text such as advertisement, cartoon.

In a rhetoric analysis, one does not try to understand or summarize the meaning of a work but, analyses how the writer writes, not what the writer writes. Thus, rhetoric analysis evaluates diction, style, structure and other strategies used by the author and observe whether the author has been successful in achieving his main goal.  Thus, a rhetoric analysis should contain the goals, strategies or technique used, examples, and the effectiveness of these strategies.

Different writers have different goals. Some write to entertain the readers whereas some writer to inform. Some other writers try to persuade their readers through writing. The strategies used by different writers differ according to their purpose. These strategies can also differ according to different fields; for example, a writer in humanities may use an entirely different set of strategies than a writer in the medical field.

How to Write a Rhetorical Analysis

Preparing to Write Rhetorical Analysis

1. Read

Read the text very carefully and understand the whole meaning of the text. Identify the writer’s main ideas, arguments, and purpose.

2. Break Down

You may not be able to analyze a text as soon as you have finished reading it.  The best way to analyze the text is to divide into different elements. Answering the following questions will help you to break the text into separate parts. Write down the answers on a piece of paper.

  1. What is the main idea presented in the text?
  2. What issue does the writer discuss? Why has he selected this particular issue?
  3. Who are the intended audience/ readers of this text?
  4. What is the goal of the writer? (Does the text inform, criticize or persuade?)
  5. How are the ideas arranged in this text? (Topical, chronological, cause-effect, etc.)
  6. How is diction (word choice) used in this text?
  7. Are there any dialogues, quotes? Why have they been used?
  8. Does the writer use punctuation to create an effect?
  9. Are some words and phrases repeated? What is the significant of this repetition?
  10. What kind of sentence structure does the writer use? (Are there lot of passive sentences, run-on lines, fragments, exclamations, commands, etc.?)

These are just some of the questions you can use. You can also add other questions to understand the text more clearly.

By answering these questions you can identify the rhetoric strategies used by the writer. These answers will explain why the writer chooses to write the way he does.

How to Write a Rhetorical Analysis - 2

Writing a Rhetoric Analysis

Thesis Statement

After identifying the rhetoric strategies used in the text, you can start analyzing their use. Before you start the rhetoric analysis, decide what you feel about author’s choices. Do you think he is successful in the use of rhetoric devices? Has he been able to achieve his final purpose?


After you have finished your introduction, arrange the essay in a logical order. For example, you can start by discussing why the author has used the particular topic, and then move on to his stylistic choices and their effect. You don’t have to analyze each and every strategy, stick to the strategies that the author has often used and those that you can analyze well.How to Write a Rhetorical Analysis


Writers use different strategies to achieve different purposes. Don’t just summarize the strategies that have been used, but state why they have been used. For example, instead of simply saying that the writer uses colloquial expressions, describe the effect created by colloquialism.


At the conclusion, summarize the use of rhetoric strategies you have discussed in the essay, and state whether the writer has achieved his purpose by using these strategies. This will connect the end of the essay to the introduction.

About the Author: Hasa

Hasanthi is a seasoned content writer and editor with over 8 years of experience. Armed with a BA degree in English and a knack for digital marketing, she explores her passions for literature, history, culture, and food through her engaging and informative writing.