figures of ethos
figures of speech
groupings index

Although it is certain that nearly every figure of speech may be employed in such a way as to promote the authority and credibility of the speaker (the appeal to ethos), many figures are specifically designed to do so, or else are likely to build the speaker's ethos in addition to any other effects.

Figures used to establish credibility (ethos)

  • anamnesis
  • litotes
    The Ad Herennium author suggests litotes as a means of expressing modesty (downplaying one's accomplishments) in order to gain the audience's favor.

Figures that can damage credibility (ethos)

Stylistic vices, of course, will damage ethos (such as cacozelia). And some figures seem more obviously artificial or affected, and can thus hurt one's credibility, especially if overused. See Also

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Gideon O. Burton, Brigham Young University
Please cite "Silva Rhetoricae" (

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