What is Logos? - Definition & Meaning

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  • 0:00 What Is Logos?
  • 0:23 Begin with a Claim
  • 1:02 Use Relevant Evidence
  • 1:33 Use Facts Sparingly
  • 2:11 Reasoning
  • 3:25 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Mary Firestone
Find out what logos is, and how to use it in persuasive writing. Learn how to apply logos with inductive and deductive reasoning, then take a quiz to test your knowledge.

What Is Logos?

Logos is one of the three appeals of persuasive writing and speaking. When you use logos, you are persuading with logic based on evidence and your skills of reason. The other two appeals are pathos (emotion) and ethos (credibility). To effectively persuade, it is best to utilize all three appeals.

Begin With a Claim

A persuasive essay or speech should make a claim that invites and encourages debate. For example, claiming that many video games contain violence is a weak thesis statement because few people would challenge this position. 'Violence in video games is a concern to many parents' is also a weak thesis statement because, again, not many people would challenge this position.

'The high level of violence in video games and other media must be reduced if we want to decrease the bullying in our schools' is a much better example of a debatable thesis statement. This claim states a clear connection between violent video games and bullying, and readers will be interested to see if you can prove it.

Use Relevant Evidence

The effective use of logos requires evidence and data that directly supports your claim. For example, the thesis statement just mentioned makes the claim that there's a definite link between violent video games and bullying. To support this claim, you would search library databases for articles in peer-reviewed journals that support the claim. If you are unable to find relevant evidence, then your claim might not be true. Avoid using evidence that offers conflicting viewpoints, since your goal is to persuade instead of just covering the topic.

Use Facts Sparingly

Facts are critical to a logical appeal, but avoid overwhelming the reader with facts and statistics. Weaving evidence into your ideas and arguments will help them follow and understand your ideas better.

For example, if you begin with a topic sentence stating how games in the past were less violent, follow up with some details and facts to support that statement. Were the scenes less graphic? Were the sound effects limited? You could then add facts or a statistic that suggest, for example, a correlation between the rise in aggression in schools and the graphic violence in video games. Include a sentence or two that draws a logical conclusion based on the facts that you offered.

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