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Rhetorical canons

Dear Dr. Name:

Re:  “Rhetorical Canons.” Is it important for English composition?

This letter to you is created to explain why the study of “Rhetoric” and the “Rhetorical Canons” is valuable to me, a modern day English student. Before identifying the importance of rhetorical canons, it is crucial to look at the different categories and how they can be used for English composition, by politicians, marketing and PR companies and communication firms.

Rhetorical canons consist of five categories as follows: Invention ( the process of developing and refining your argument), arrangement (the process of arranging and organizing your argument for maximum impact), style ( the process of determining how you present your argument using figure of speech and other rhetorical technics), memory ( The process or learning and memorizing your speech so you can delivery it without used of notes), and delivery ( the process of practicing how you deliver your speech using gestures pronunciation and tone of voice).

What does the word Rhetoric mean? Rhetoric is an art of discourse, that aims to improve the facility of speakers or writer who attempt to inform, persuade, or motivate particular audiences in specific situation (definition source from Wikipedia) For me personally, as the speaker and you my professor as the audience, this pattern is known as the Rhetorical triangle or Aristotelian triad. Rhetorical canons are used to compose written or verbal pieces of discourse. They have both practical and theoretical aspects, and studying the theories will help speakers and writers with their composition of discourse and persuasion. (Crowley, Sharon. “Composition is not Rhetoric.” Enculturation 5.1; 2003)

Independent on the political ideology of President Obama, he is an impressive speaker and arguably the best public speaker of his generation.  President Obama is known to skillfully use the rhetorical technique called anaphora. Anaphora means the repetition of certain words or phrases at the beginning of each sentence or clause. As a famous example: “I have a dream.“ is a phrase used by Martin Luther King as the beginning of six consecutive paragraphs.

Another person known of successfully using one of the five rhetorical canons to his advantage is Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, who was recognized by lawyers and jurists across the political spectrum as one of the world’s best legal writers in the history of the Supreme Court.  (“The Art of Manliness’”).  Knowing the techniques can help speakers in court, politics and public relations alike.

The main idea of rhetorical canons is knowing and discovering the best available techniques of persuasion. For those who have focused on their studies of rhetoric techniques, persuasion of masses is simple; as an example I would mention again Martin Luther King, Barack Obama and supreme court Judge Antonin Scalia.

The studies of rhetorical canons is not only valuable to me but also everyone who is part of today’s society. Rhetorical techniques are a part of our daily lives from doing a job interview to selling services or products to a customer.

Sincerely: