Dialectics and Rhetoric:
Arts of Discussion and Persuasion



In the first chapter of this book we studied the art of storytelling. A storyteller unfolds his tale while the audience listens, charmed by its magic. The charm of conversation, however, is found in an exchange of ideas. The art of conversation consists both in speaking and in listening. Of all kinds of recreation, conversation is the most important and universal in human life, and the very heart of friendship.

Unfortunately many conversations are boring. People who would like to be friends meet and yet can find nothing to say. They exchange a few remarks about the weather, their health, business, yesterday's baseball games, or the neighbors next door. Then the conversation "falls flat." To be sure, there are some people who can always find something to talk about, but this does not prove that what they say is interesting.

Conversations become interesting only when there is something to share, and this usually means that there is some difference of opinion about the topic of conversation. Some people are afraid of differences of opinion. They say "never talk about politics or religion," because they think that every difference of opinion is impolite and will lead to a quarrel. Yet it is only when there is some contest of minds about a topic important enough for people to have definite opinions that a conversation can become lively. A baseball game where there was only one side would not be much of a game.

But just as in a sport contest the player must learn how to play hard to win without breaking the rules of the game or losing control of his temper, so in conversation we need to learn the art of courteous debate. The art of storytelling is called poetics. The art of conversation, discussion, debate, and inquiry is called dialectics (from the Greek for "through" and "speak," that is a "talking through" or discussion of a problem).


It is not only in friendly recreation that discussion and the contest of opinions is important. Today almost all organizations are run by policy-making boards. In business, in government, in the army, in clubs, the important decisions are not made by a single man, but by boards of officials. They meet to exchange and discuss ideas, in order that the final decision may embody the experience and wisdom of all. Such discussion can be a way of avoiding responsibility, however, if those who engage in them do not discuss with the purpose of coming to a genuine agreement, and if they do not know the art of good discussion.

The man or woman who knows how to discuss well can be very powerful in such organizations. It is well known that the influence which some Communists have had in American life was largely due to their ability to influence other through skillful discussion at public meetings. Catholics and others who stand for basic principles can also have great influence for good if they know how to discuss intelligently and effectively.

Sometimes such discussions are held publicly before an audience and are called debates or forums. The meetings of legislative bodies, like the Congress and Senate of the United States, are occupied with such debates. In order that such meetings should be carried out in an orderly fashion, the rules of parliamentary procedure, first developed in the British parliament, are usually followed.

For all discussions and debates there are three informal rules which ought always to be followed:
   1. Try to come to an agreement. There is no use discussing a problem if there is no possibility of agreement. If you keep this goal before you, you will try hard not to lose your temper, nor use harsh, cutting words, since these make agreement more difficult.
   2. Listen to the other side. You do not know if you agree or disagree with another until you know what he thinks. Unless you know what he thinks and why he thinks it, you cannot change his mind. Many people make the mistake of thinking only of what they are going to say next while the other person is talking. Consequently they do not hear what he says, and do not really reply to it. If you do not clearly understand what the other person is saying, then question him until you are sure. Questioning is a very important part of every discussion.
   3. Give your reasons for what you think. Too often persons in a discussion keep making statements over and over again, without ever giving any proof for what they say.

It is this last rule which requires a good deal of study, and which is the key to all effective discussion and debate. In order to know how to apply it, we must first consider the nature of a statement, since every discussion consists in making and defending statements of our opinions.

The Form of a Statement

Every statement consists of three parts:
   1. What we are talking, about. This is called the subject, because it is the subject under discussion.
   2. What we say about it. This is called the predicate (from, Latin for "about" and "say").
   3. The copula, that is the linking word ( copula in Latin means a coupling or joining) which is either is or is not (see page 161).

Thus if the subject under discussion is women, we may make either the statement "Women are logical," or "Women are not logical." These two statements have the same subject and predicate, but the former is an affirmative statement, while the latter is a negative statement. They are made out of the same material, but they are said to be different in quality.

Why are these three parts the essential parts of any statement? The subject is like the clay used in a statue; it is a thing which we know in a rather vague and indefinite way. The predicate is a modifier or form by which we mold the subject and make it more clear and definite in our mind. This form or mold has to be actually applied to the subject, as a mold must be pressed into the clay to give it form. The copula signifies this act of the mind by which it actually applies the predicate to the subject. The copula makes the predicate dynamic, so that a statement is not just two ideas hooked together, but a single truth in which one idea (the predicate) forms the other (the subject), just as the figure of a statue gives shape to the clay and produces a single work of art. If the statement is negative, then the negative copula indicates that the mold will not cut or fit the material to which we are trying to apply it; the predicate does not fit the subject.

The Quantity of a Statement

In a debate each side affirms or denies some basic statement, but this statement may also be either universal or particular, that is, it may affirm or deny a predicate of an entire class of things, or only of some members of that class. Thus we might argue whether "Every woman is illogical," or "Some women are illogical." This difference in statements is called a difference in their quantity. The combination of different qualities and quantities of statements give us four possible types of statements:*

*Do not confuse this use of "quality" and "quantity" of statements with the categories of quality and quantity (page 46) which are accidents of real things. This is an example of an analogical use of terms.
    1. A universal affirmative statement; for example: "Every woman is illogical."
    2. A universal negative statement; for example: "No woman is illogical."
    3. A particular affirmative statement; for example: "Some women are illogical."
    4. A particular negative statement; for example: "Some women are not illogical."

You will notice that it is the copula (not the predicate) which makes a statement negative. Thus the statement "Every woman is illogical" is affirmative, although the predicate "illogical" contains a negative idea. Also you will notice that in English we have a rather peculiar way of expressing the universal negative statement. One would think that it should be "Every woman is not illogical," but in English this last sentence really means, "Some woman at least is not illogical," which is a particular statement. Sometimes universal statements are written as " all women are illogical." This is also correct, but not as clear as "Every woman is illogical," since a universal statement does not mean that the predicate belongs to the subject taken as a collection, but that it belongs to each and every member of the class.


This classification of four basic forms of statements is useful in debate and discussion because it helps us see just bow strong the disagreement is between two sides of a question.

    1. If one side makes a universal affirmative statement, and the other side wishes to disagree completely, it should make a particular negative statement using the same subject and predicate. Thus the complete denial of the statement that "Every woman is illogical" is the statement that "Some women are not illogical" (not that "No woman is illogical"). Such a complete denial is called a contradiction. When two sides take contradictory positions, one must be right, and the other wrong. It is not possible for both to be right, or both to be wrong.

    2. If one side makes a universal negative statement, it is contradicted by a particular affirmative statement. Thus the contradiction of "No woman is illogical" is "Some woman is illogical."

    3. If one side asserts the universal affirmative and the other the universal negative, then their disagreement is not complete, because although both cannot be right, both may be wrong. Thus it is possible that both the statement "Every woman is illogical," and "No woman is illogical" are false, because it may be true that "Some women are illogical and some are not." Such a disagreement is not a contradiction, but is between contrary statements. In debating we should try to avoid arranging the two sides in this way, since the audience may very well conclude, "Why, neither side should win; both are wrong." Similarly a particular affirmative and a particular negative position do not make a clear disagreement, since both sides may be right or wrong. These are called sub-contraries.

    4. In arguing we may always go from the universal to the particular of the same quality, but we cannot go in the other direction. For example, if I can prove that "Every woman is illogical," I have also proved that "Some woman is illogical." Or if I have proved that "No woman is illogical," then I have also proved that "Some woman is not illogical." But from the fact that "Some woman is illogical," it is not certain that "Every woman is illogical"; nor from the fact that "Some woman is not illogical" does it follow that "No woman is illogical." Such statements are called subalternates, and are a source of a great deal of confusion in discussion and the cause of many pointless arguments. How often we hear someone argue, "Every Catholic is dishonest, because Mr. Kelly who is a Catholic is dishonest," or "Every Negro is dirty, because the Jones' who are Negroes are dirty," or "No Englishman has a sense of humor, because the Englishmen I have known have had no sense of humor," This is often called illegitimate generalization.

Hence we should try if possible in a debate to state the problem so that the two sides are contradictory, so that one side must be right and the other wrong. Furthermore we should notice that the side which defends the universal statement is the more difficult, since the other side has only to prove a particular statement in order to win. Thus if one side argues either that "Every woman is illogical," or that "No woman is illogical," the other side can defeat them if they can prove a single exception to this statement-if they can point to a single woman who is not illogical, or a single woman who is illogical. Hence a clever debater prefers to take the particular, rather than the universal side of the argument. Some debaters, however, make the mistake of trying to prove too much. They try to disprove a universal statement, not by proving its contradictory (which is particular), but by trying to prove its contrary (which is universal). This is much harder to do, and is unnecessary.


Reasons for Basic Statements

We have seen that the chief task of every speaker in a discussion is not only to make statements, or to contradict the statements of others, but to give reasons to back up his statements. This is true not only in dialectics, but in every form of writing or speaking, and especially in scientific writing. Man is a reasonable being, and be is not satisfied to accept a statement without reasons for it. It is not enough merely to claim that a statement is true, or to repeat this loudly, for it to be accepted. It is an old rule of discussion that "What is asserted without a reason, can be denied without a reason." Hence if we are to be sure that a statement is true, we must know the reason for it.

When we know that a statement is true immediately from our experience it is said to be an immediate truth or principle. Thus the following statements are seen to be true as soon as we understand what the words mean and compare them with our experience:
    1. The whole is greater than the part.
    2. Every effect has a cause.
    3. If equals be added to equals the sums are equal.

But other truths are not known to us merely by knowing the subject and the predicate. We must see that the subject and predicate are connected through a third or middle term, which gives us the reason why the predicate is connected to the subject. We can write these in parallel columns:

    Statements which are not      Why is it true? (middle term)
    immediately evident.

       S                     P                    M
 1.  A cow     / is / an animal with        Because it eats grass, which is
                      many, stomachs.       hard to digest.

       S                     P                    M
 2.  X-ray technicians/are/ often anemic.   Because X-rays injure the bone marrow
                                            which makes blood.

       S                     P                    M
 3.  Man    / is/     the only animal	    Because it requires intelligence
                      which laughs. 	    to see what is laughable.

       S                     P                    M
 4. Adrenalin  / is / able to revive a 	     Because it stimulates the heart.
                      person in a state
                      of shock.

When a statement is said to be true through a middle term, it is said to be demonstrated (from Latin for "pointed out," because we point out the reason why it is true). It may be written in the form of parallel columns as above, or merely as a causal statement; for example, "A fish has fins because it lives by swimming." However, if we wish to make it perfectly clear and explicit we put it in the form of a syllogism (Latin for a "linking together of words or ideas"); the syllogism points out that this truth in fact depends on two other truths which show that the middle term is the link between subject and predicate.

       M                                     P
1.  An animal which eats things
    hard to digest, e.g., grass.  is    one which has many stomachs.

       S                                     M
    And a cow                     is    an animal which eats things
                                        hard to digest, e.g., grass.

       S                                     P
    Therefore, a cow              is    an animal which has many stomachs.

       M                                     P
2.  People exposed to X-rays
    which injure the bone-marrow
    which makes blood             are    often anemic

       S                                     M
    And X-ray technicians         are    people exposed to X-rays
                                         which injure the bone-marrow.
                                         which makes blood.

       S                                     P
    Therefore, X-ray technicians  are    often anemic.

       M                                     P
3. An animal which has the in-
   telligence to see what is
   laughable                       is     the only animal which laughs.

       S                                     M
   Man                             is     the only animal which has the
                                          intelligence to see what is

       S                                     P
   Therefore, man                  is     the only animal which laughs.

       M                                     P
4. Heart-stimulants                are    frequently able to revive persons
                                          in a state of shock.

       S                                     M
   adrenalin                       is     a heart-stimulant.

       S                                     P
   Therefore, adrenalin            is     frequently able to revive persons
                                          in a state of shock.

In the foregoing syllogisms you will notice that the terms are arranged in the following pattern:

Every M is P
And : every S is M
Therefore : every S is P.

There are other forms of the syllogism but this is the most common and the most useful. In it there are two statements called premises (Latin for "something put first"), in both of which is found the middle term ( M ), and a conclusion which does not contain the middle term. Of these premises the one which contains the predicate of the conclusion ( P) is called the major premise, and is often (but not always) written first. The other premise contains the subject ( S ) of the conclusion and is called the minor premise.

How to Make a Syllogism

When we wish to form a syllogistic argument (for example, in geometry) we should first ask ourselves: What am I trying to prove? This will be the conclusion of the syllogism (thesis, or theorem). Write down the conclusion and mark the subject ( S ) and predicate ( P ). Then place P as the predicate of a major premise and S as the subject of a minor premise, leaving the place of the middle term ( M ) blank. For example a biologist might wish to show that "The valves in the arteries are ones made to face away from the heart." He could then write this in the following skeleton demonstration:

       M                                     P

................................  is     valves made to face away from the heart.

       S                                     M
And: the valves in the arteries  are    ........................................

       S                                     P
Therefore; the valves in the
arteries                         are     valves made to face away from the heart. 

His problem is now clearly stated. He needs to find a middle term ( M ) which can be used to complete these two premises so that both will be true. After thought and investigation he may find this middle term or cause, and get the following syllogism:

A valve in a blood-vessel which
carries blood away from the heart    is    a valve made to face away from the heart.

And: The valves in the arteries      are   valves in blood-vessels which carry blood
                                           away from theheart.
Therefore;  the valves in the
arteries                             are   valves made to face away from the heart.

The following is an example from algebra. Suppose that we wish to prove that a = b. We can write this as the following skeleton syllogism:

                      x = b
          And:        a = x
          Therefore:  a = b

Our problem then is to find an x which will fit in the two first equations, namely, to find some quantity which we know to be equal both to a and to b. Similarly, in geometry we begin with the theorem to be proved and then try to discover something which we know to be equal both to the subject and the predicate of the theorem. Thus in the example on page 566 we prove that vertical and opposite angles are equal by recognizing that these angles are the remainders of equals minus equals, which is our middle term.

Ordinarily it is sufficient in our thinking to use the method of parallel columns, or causal statements given above, but these are only abbreviations for the syllogism, which states explicitly why we know the conclusion is true. In the next chapter we will show why the syllogism is the basic form of all reasoning.

It is obvious that truths known by reasoning are based on premises, but these premises are either demonstrated themselves (and this merely moves us back another step), or they are immediately evident. Thus all our thinking rests on a foundation made of immediately evident truths which are rooted in experience.

Sometimes the experience on which an immediate truth is based is our own personal experience, and then the truth is said to be evident. Sometimes it is based, not on our own experience, but on that of someone else whom we know to be trustworthy, and then the truth is said to be known by faith, or on authority. If we know from our own experience that this person is really trustworthy, then our faith is reasonable. If we do not know this, then our faith is foolish or credulous. When we know that a person is truthful we ought to believe what lie says, even if it may seem very surprising and outside our own experience. Some people refuse to believe anything they have not seen for themselves, but this is unreasonable and would greatly limit our knowledge. Only if we take the word of reliable experts can we have a very wide knowledge, for no man can see very many truths for himself. On the other hand, many people are quick to believe anything they hear or read, or to suppose that any famous person must be an expert on whatever he says. The reasonable man makes sure of his authorities before he accepts what they have to say.

In all our reading and listening we should ask ourselves whether the principles stated by the author are really true from our own experience, or if he gives a good authority for them. If not, then we should not accept these principles, nor the conclusions based on them. In writing or speaking ourselves we should never expect others to take our word unless we back it up with facts, or with reliable and well known authorities.

Certainty and Probability

In scientific writing of the demonstrative type it is not sufficient to begin with merely probable statements (that is, statements which seem to be true, but which possibly will turn out to be false). Nothing certain can ever be proved from merely probable statements. For a strict demonstration it is necessary to start with principles which are certain, and which could never be false. Thus the principles of Euclidean geometry (the axiom, postulates, and definitions) are certainly true, as we can test for ourselves by imagining the geometrical figures on which they are based. Again, in history some facts are certainly true, because we have many reliable witnesses on whose authority we can believe them, although we were not on the scene ourselves.

If someone beginning to study a work of science is not certain of the principles, then lie must go back to the facts and make sure of these principles before lie proceeds. If a student raises doubts about such principles the teacher can only refer him to the facts to see for himself. If he still has doubts, then these can be answered only by the highest sciences (theology and metaphysics) whose business it is to remove doubts and confusions about the principles of the other sciences. Thus occasionally one reads today that the principles of geometry have been disproved, because modern science says that there may be more than three dimensions. The student of geometry can either make sure that there are only three dimensions to the figures used in the study of geometry by looking at them for himself, or lie can wait until lie studies philosophy. The philosopher will show him that it is not true that science has discovered more than three dimensions, but that this statement is due to a confusion about the meaning of the word "dimension" in science, since this word is used in several equivocal senses (see page 389).

Dialectics and Probability

In dialectics, however, probable statements are a sufficient starting point, since in discussions, debates, or inquiries the dialectician is only exploring; lie is not yet trying to demonstrate anything. Hence the dialectician starts with opinions (probable statements, or certain statements which have not yet been carefully criticized). These can be opinions which almost everyone holds, or those held by experts, or at least by the group of people with whom we are, discussing. The dialectician, however, does not remain content with these opinions. He begins to argue them, showing the arguments for and against them. As lie proceeds be usually revises and modifies the opinions with which lie began, correcting them so as to make them more and more probable.

Frequently a dialectician uses an opinion in a discussion which lie himself doubts, or is even sure is wrong, in order to test it or expose its falsity. Thus, a good dialectician knows how to suspend judgment, to consider a question first from one side, and then from another. He knows how to doubt systematically. Even the things of which he is sure he tests as if they could be doubted. This makes some people uncomfortable. They like positive statements, not debates and difficulties and doubts. In trying to arrive at the truth, or to know the truth more clearly, however, we must make use of this method. On the other hand, we should not fall into the error of always doubting everything and never coming to a positive conclusion.

Poetics and Probability

The statements of the poetic writer do not have to be strictly true, but only probable. The probability of poetry is that the story corresponds in its broad outlines to the universal experience of human life, although the details may be entirely fictitious. Thus the story of Macbeth, who sought to be king by murder and whose life ended in failure and despair, may have no detailed correspondence to history; yet it is probable, because we know that it fits the general pattern of the lives of ambitious criminals.

The details used by the poetic writers also have a kind of probability in that they form I consistent whole that fits the general story. The more vivid and circumstantial the details of the story the more probable and life like it appears. When stated in a mere abstract or in a factual way it may not be very convincing, but when it seems to live before our eyes, then we are convinced. Hence in poetic writing, merely abstract or factual statements are of little value. If you have read Defoe's Robinson Crusoe, you know how convincing Defoe makes the story by his use of detail. In order to bring about this probability the poetic writer must draw on his own experience and observation, and make us aware of details of our experience on which we may not have reflected.

Just as some people find it hard to listen to the pros and cons of dialectic, because they prefer flat dogmatic statements of truth, so many find it hard to accept the attitude of the poetic writer. They feel that fiction is hardly better than a lie. The dialectician is not a sceptic. He considers both sides of a question in order to make the truth more evident. A rhetorician is not a flatterer. He appeals to the opinions of his audience in order to find a common ground between them and himself on which to consider the truth. The poet is not a liar. He invents a fiction, but only so that the fundamental and universal truth which lie depicts will become vivid to us in terms of personal experience.

Misunderstandings arise in our reading, writing, or speaking, only when we fail to see whether the demonstrative, the dialectical, the rhetorical, or the poetic mode of speaking is the appropriate one.


The Demonstrative Mode of Speaking

In Whether Piety is a Special Virtue? (see page 417) St. Thomas has as his thesis or conclusion the statement: "Yes, piety is a special virtue."

He states two basic principles from which he attempts to prove this thesis:

    1. "Piety pays duty and honor to parents and country and to whatever is related to them."
    2. "A virtue is special when it relates to some object under a special aspect." But he does not merely state these principles dogmatically. The first he proves to be true by showing, that we have a special debt to honor our parents and country, because they are the "connatural principle of being and government." The second lie does not explain in this article, because lie has already explained it earlier in the Summa (see First Part of the Second Part, Question 60.)

In this article we also notice how St. Thomas confirms his thesis by an appeal to in authority, namely, Cicero: "On the contrary is the statement of Cicero that [piety] is a part of justice, as lie says in his On Invention at the end of Book II." Cicero, the great Roman orator and philosopher, was one of the greatest experts on the philosophy of the virtues known to the Middle Ages. In medieval writing it is usual for a writer to give all authority confirming his opinion, before lie states and proves his own view. This does not mean that the conclusion is presented to us on faith, since it is proved by clear reasons, but only that it is confirmed or strengthened by an additional appeal to authority.

In answering objections we will notice how St. Thomas makes use of his knowledge of the relations between different kinds of statements.

1. In the first objection it is argued that every act of honor and service is given to persons because we love them; therefore piety is nothing but love. St. Thomas answers by pointing out an exception to the principle stated. Certainly we love God and worship him because we love him, but it has already been proved that worship (religion) is not the same thing as love. Thus it is clear that the principle stated by the objection is not universally true.

2. The second objection argues that every act of honor or worship is an act of the virtue of religion; therefore piety must be the same virtue as religion. The objection is backed up with the authority of St. Augustine. St. Thomas answers by saying that some acts of honor and worship (namely, those given to God) are acts of religion, but not all. Those given to our parents and country are not acts of religion but of piety. Once again he has pointed out the exception to the too general statement of the objector. He also backs up his answer by quoting another authority with whom St. Augustine certainly would have agreed.

3. The third objection argues that whatever relates to the fatherland is a matter of legal (social) justice; hence piety must be the same as legal justice. St. Thomas again finds an exception: that some things that relate to the fatherland (namely, as it is the common good) are a matter of legal justice he admits; but he denies that every thing, which relates to the fatherland is a matter of legal justice, because some things relate to it only as it is "a principle of existence." This exception leaves room for piety to be a special virtue.

Thus St. Thomas proves his own point from solid and universal principles, and answers his objectors by contradicting their universal statements, showing that they admit of exceptions.

The Dialectical Mode of Speaking

Chesterton in A Defense of Patriotism is dealing not with certain principles but with common opinions. Throughout his whole essay he takes it for granted that a man ought to love his native land. No one in his audience would really doubt this, and so he makes no attempt to prove it. What he wishes to refute is another opinion held by many of his audience because they have never stopped to think about it seriously, This is the false opinion that patriotism consists in imperialism, or a "lust of territory," the desire to take away the fatherlands of other nations. In order to refute this view he makes use of two other opinions shared by his audience:

1. That there is a difference between lust and honorable love. Using this accepted opinion Chesterton tries to show that there is the same difference between genuine patriotism and imperialism as between lust and love.

2. That an Englishman is a very sensible and civilized kind of person. Chesterton uses this to show that in mistaking imperialism for patriotism, and in bragging about his country's military strength instead of its achievements in science, art and philosophy, an Englishman is making a fool of himself and acting like the ignorant savages for whom he has so much contempt.

It will be noticed that in selecting these two opinions Chesterton has a rhetorician's eye for his audience. He knows that the English pride themselves on their sense of decency (opinion 1) and on being a most civilized nation (opinion 2), and he shows that these opinions are inconsistent with their imperialism. Still Chesterton is acting here more as a dialectician than a rhetorician, since what be desires is not so much to get Englishmen here and now to vote against imperialism, as to help them wake up and think about the basic principles on which they act. He is trying to help them untangle their true opinions (namely, that patriotism is noble, and that England is a great nation), from their false opinions (namely, that imperialism is noble, and that England is great because of military power).

Notice, however, that Chesterton does not deny all truth to the other side. "Colonies are things to be proud of, but for a country to be only proud of its extremities is like a man being only proud of his legs." He is not saying that every colony is bad, but only that colonies are bad if they are sought for the sake of mere military power. Chesterton's essay, however, tends to fall short of ideal dialectic, because lie does not sufficiently bring out tile other side of the argument. It is essentially dialectical, but with too much rhetoric thrown in.

The Rhetorical and Poetic Modes of Speaking

In the works of Emerson and Lincoln it is quite easy to see that both build on the common patriotic emotions and attitudes of their audiences. Lincoln well understood that the people to whom he spoke were bitter about the losses and sacrifices of a war. Consequently be did not ignore this grim feeling but rather used it. He showed them they must be "highly resolved" to see the task which had cost so much carried through to its finish.

Emerson was not trying to persuade his audience of anything; he only wished them to share his own insight into the experience which he depicted. He wanted them to see how glorious patriotism is, but he did this by the ironic contrast between the greatness of the battle and the forgetfulness and quiet peace of today. The probability of his poem lies in the vividness of this contrast. On the one hand, we see vividly the great historic moment when the first shot was fired at Concord. On the other hand, we also see vividly this quiet moment on the river bank where nothing is left to mark the site of the battle except the traces of the graves which cover conqueror and foe alike. Thus the greatness of patriotism as an abstract truth becomes concrete for us in this experience of an ironic situation. For a moment we are, suddenly alive to the greatness which we had almost forgotten.



Without discussion and debate, free men cannot work together for common goals, and the inquiry after truth is greatly hampered. Discussion alone, however, seldom leads to agreement and decision without leadership. Even when a leader is chosen by a group, he still must get that group to understand and carry out willingly the decisions which he proposes. Of course, as the lawful authority accepted by the group lie may impose his decision by force when this is necessary, but no group will long continue to accept a leader who rules by force alone. If he is to remain a leader he must persuade his followers to accept his decision and put them into practice willingly and intelligently.

The art of storytelling is called poetics, the art of discussion and inquiry is called dialectics, and the art of persuasion is called rhetoric (from the Greek for a "speaker").

Poetics aims to produce stories that recreate and refresh us. Dialectics has many applications in all phases of our life, but it is always used to prepare the way for something more decisive: it is tentative and exploratory. Rhetoric, however, belongs to the world of practical life: it deals with action. Nothing is more practical in daily life than this art of persuasion, since success in every human endeavor, be it business, love, politics, or the Christian apostolate, depends on our power to persuade others "to see things our way."


Every American knows that "salesmanship"  is essential to business success, but salesmanship is only one small part of the great and noble art of persuasion which includes "the art of public speaking," "propaganda," "publicity," "advertising," "journalism," and the "apostolate." We persuade a friend; we command a subordinate; we beg a superior; we plead with a judge or a jury; we advertise to prospective customers, and we sell an actual customer; we encourage the weak; we threaten the enemy; we preach the truth; we pray to God. All these varied processes of persuasion are only parts of the one great art of rhetoric.

Today, because of the growth of "high-pressure" advertising and the "big lie" of political propaganda, many people think that all persuasion is dishonest, and that rhetoric is the devil's art of lying and deceiving, They forget that the greatest master of persuasion was our divine Lord who is Truth itself, and that the Gospels are largely a record of his persuasive words that bad such power to move the hearts of all kinds of men and women.

We do lot say that medicine is all evil art because there have been wicked doctors who misused their art of healing to poison and to kill. just as the purpose of medicine itself is to heal, although it may be misused, so the purpose of rhetoric is to persuade men to act prudently, although it may he misused to drive them to foolish and wicked acts.


Dialectics is easily distinguished from rhetoric and poetics, because it carefully avoids all appeal to the emotions. In good discussion or debate we should try to keep clear of emotional appeals, because once a discussion becomes emotional it becomes inflexible. Each side begins to defend its position at all costs without any real effort at coming to an agreement. But rhetoric and poetics both appeal to the emotions. How then are we to distinguish rhetoric from poetics, or are they really one and the same art?

A poetic writer (as we have seen in Chapter 1) is not immediately concerned to persuade us to do or avoid anything, but simply to present to us a story which excites our emotions and then brings them to rest in the enjoyment of the beautiful way in which his story of human life has been told. To be sure, the habit of reading good literature of this sort does help us develop an appreciation and admiration of what is noble in human life, and a disgust with whatever is base and mean, but our immediate aim in such reading is refreshment and delight, not a moral lesson.

The rhetorician, on the other hand, is immediately concerned with persuading his audience to act, to do or to avoid something. He hopes that at the end of his speech they will hurry away with a look of determination to put into practice what he has urged them to do. When the coach of a football team sees his Men run to the field of battle with grim courage, he knows that his talk to them was a rhetorical success.


If the rhetorician is to get his audience to act lie must help the," to see that the, goal he proposes is (1) good, (2) important, and (3) possible. No one will act unless by doing so he has real hope of attaining something really important to him. On the other hand if the rhetorician wishes to persuade the audience to avoid something or refrain from acting, he must show them that it is (1) evil, (2) trivial, or (3) impossible.

To achieve this effect the rhetorician has five weapons, two of them of lesser importance, and three of major importance:

1. His delivery of the speech -- that is, the volume and quality of his voice, his pronunciation, and his gestures and facial expressions. It is obvious that no matter how good the contents of a speech it will fail of its effect if the audience cannot hear what the speaker says, or if they are irritated or bored by his mannerisms.

2. His style of composition -- that is, the organization of his material, the structure of his sentences, and his choice of words and figures of speech. A speaker who expresses himself awkwardly, vaguely, obscurely cannot win his audience without difficulty.

3. His personal character as it appears to the audience. He will be most effective in persuading others to follow him if they are convinced that he is himself honest, well-intentioned, and intelligent. We quickly accept the advice of a man whom we trust, like, and admire, while we may reject the same advice if it is offered by one whom we distrust, dislike, or despise.

4. His appeal to the emotions of his audience. A speaker will never get people to act if they remain cold and indifferent, or if they consider his proposals in a purely theoretical and objective way. He must move them to be concerned personally with the problem, and to view it as involving their own pain and pleasure, their own profit or loss.

5. His appeal to the reason of his audience. A speaker does not want to stir up a mob of people who blindly follow their emotions. He wants them to have a reasoned and sane conviction that what lie asks them to do is the practical and moral thing to do.

Of these five instruments the first two are often the most stressed in classes in public-speaking or books written about this art, but they are less important than the remaining three, which are often neglected. Although a good speech is much improved by excellent style and delivery, its effect will not be totally destroyed by a lack of good style or faulty delivery unless these are extremely bad. On the other hand, no matter how excellent a speaker's style or delivery may be, he will not get us to follow him if we dislike him or doubt his reasoning. Ultimately we are persuaded to take a speaker's advice only because we trust him personally, or because his reasons really move us and convince us that what he proposes will be profitable for us. Indeed, we might include both delivery and style as parts of the impression made by the character of the speaker, since it is to this that they chiefly contribute, although they also serve to enhance the appeal to the emotions and reason of the audience.

Delivery is better learned by direct guidance than from a book, so that it will not be treated here. Style is required both in poetic and rhetorical writing and is discussed in Chapter I, and partly in a later section of this present chapter.


Since the most important instruments of the rhetorician are his character, his appeal to emotion, and his appeal to reason, he must give much thought and study to using these well. Above all he must remember that he is assuming the position of a leader, and hence be must show himself to his audience in the best possible light as likeable and admirable. He cannot do this unless he well understands what his audience likes and dislikes, and what true arguments appear to them, and what would be very hard for them to understand or accept. Hence he must understand both the obvious and the hidden motives of human behaviour. The poetic writer studies the characters about whom he writes; the rhetorician studies the characters to whom he writes or speaks.

Before writing a speech the rhetorician must ask himself: "What is my audience like? What kind of people do they trust and admire? What are the things in life which they value or fear? What rules of conduct do they really respect and follow? What kind of experience guides them in deciding practical questions?" He must ask himself what the members of a given audience have in common. Are they united by their virtue and ideals (for example, an audience of priests, of sisters, doctors, lawyers, or experts of some sort), or by their riches (an audience of businessmen), or their poverty (a crowd in the street)? He must also consider their nationality, religion, and education, and whether they are young, middle-aged, or old.

In order to sway all these classes of people the rhetorician concerns himself with arousing love and hate, anger and benevolence, fear, shame, kindness, pity, or envy. He does not do this, however, in order to make men act from blind emotion like animals. The propagandist or the leader of a lynch-mob who whips his audience into a blind frenzy of hate and fear is misusing rhetoric in a diabolic way. The genuine rhetorician appeals to men's emotions to lead them to truth and to a more reasonable way of acting. He appeals to what is best in his audience, and he studies selfish and evil emotions, not in order to produce them, but in order to prevent them from interfering with right action.

If the rhetorician is to move men to do what is right, he must not merely advertise any product he is hired to sell, promote any program adopted by his political party, or defend any criminal who hires him as a lawyer, He must know ethics, or the art of good human living, so that be knows what is truly virtuous and honorable, and he must have a thoughtful acquaintance with politics and practical affairs.


If we examine the Gettysburg Address , we notice first of all that Lincoln was acutely sensitive to the attitudes of his audience, and took care to establish his true character with them, because be realized that the character of the speaker is the first great instrument of rhetoric. Lincoln knew that his audience at Gettysburg battlefield was doubtful whether be was anything more than a cheap politician. They rather expected him to make an awkward and tasteless speech defending himself and his much-criticized administration of the war. They were contrasting him unfavorably to the polished orator Edward Everett who had just spoken so well and at great length.*

* See the account of the delivery of the Gettysburg Address in Carl Sandburg's Lincoln.

Consequently Lincoln first of all aimed at giving the impression of great dignity and sincerity. He showed himself not as a cheap politician but as a great statesman, far above all mere partisanship, a man who had no desire whatsoever merely to make an impression. He was simple, solemn, deeply moved. He appeared to them as a man who had eyes only for the future of his country. This impression (which was a true one) was conveyed by the whole tone of the speech, It was simple, brief, but sublime in its concentration on the single theme of dedication.

Next we notice the reasons which lie used to persuade his audience. He wished them to agree with his own view that they should continue the war for democracy. This was the central thought and purpose of his speech. Why should they continue the war? Because this was the best way to honor the dead.



At one time the most typical work of the art of rhetoric was a formal speech or oration to be delivered to a limited audience. Today formal oratory seems to play only a small role in public life. Its place has been taken by what are called "the mass media of communication," which reach audiences of millions. Every citizen is strongly influenced by these "mass media," and if a man as a public leader is to influence others he must understand the power and the use of these new instruments of persuasion.

A detailed study of the mass media of communication pertains to the social sciences, because these media have originated in the special circumstances of modern society, and their effects cannot be evaluated without a study of social facts. New as some of these media may be, however, the principles that underlie their power are the same principles of the liberal arts which we are studying. indeed, these novel instruments of persuasion are only an extension and development of time-honored methods. Consequently we will very briefly point out some of the ways in which our study of the liberal arts can assist us in judging and using the mass media.

The Newspaper

The oldest of these mass media is the newspaper, Nothing is more widely read (except perhaps the billboards), and yet it is a fact that many people do not read the newspaper at all, or confine their attention to the comics and the sport-page. When we open a newspaper, the first question that ought to occur to us is this: What is the newspaper's purpose? Is it a source of information? Is it intended to persuade us to do something? Is it entertainment? Or is it all these things?

If we begin to compare newspapers we will see at once that there are a few which obviously aim at giving their readers a great deal of information. If the student compares the New York Times with most newspapers, he will immediately see that the Times gives much fuller reports of almost every item of news than do most newspapers. It prints many speeches and documents in full, and it emphasizes foreign news, political news, economic news, and other areas which are important but not always very "interesting." The average reader would find the Times rather dull, and he would find it hard to wade through so much factual material.

At the other extreme a student should examine the sort of newspaper that aims at "reader interest." He will find the stories short, the headlines startling, the emphasis centered on personalities and striking events. It is typical of such a paper to try to develop a day-to-day interest in some currently sensational story. This it works to the limit, and then discards in favor of some new theme. Clearly, such papers aim more at entertainment than at information. The art of storytelling dominates them, although it is an art usually badly abused and cheapened.

The strictly persuasive or rhetorical aim is not very evident in our papers. It is supposed to be confined to the editorial page (not read by most people) and to signed articles by "news analysts." Yet if we begin to compare papers we will see that actually a rhetorical note pervades a great deal of the material. Certain policies or groups favored by, the newspaper owners color the book reviews, the theater news, some comic-strips, and the news reporting itself. By its selection of topics to emphasize, its manner of reporting the facts, and the sort of reporters and feature writers that it hires and develops, a newspaper presents an organized view of the world which can be powerfully persuasive.

We must learn how to read a newspaper well. We should take two papers of widely different types and read each through. Few people have tried even skimming a paper all the way through, but we should have this experience at least once, in order to become really aware of what a paper contains. We should compare the different uses of the same news services, and how the make-up and style are typical of each paper.

The most important thing is to try to figure out the intention of the editor and his estimate of his audience. What sort of person does be think you are? What is he trying to make you into? Ask yourself if you want to be the kind of person the editor thinks you are or wishes to make you.

When we face that question it becomes rather obvious that a truly free man or woman who wishes to live a genuinely liberal life cannot depend on the newspapers as his chief source of information. The man whose mind is formed by the newspapers is a slave. Yet a good newspaper contains many features and many bits of information that can be highly useful to the man who reads critically.


Today advertising appears in all the mass media. Not only is it the common element in them all, but it is the source of financing for all, or almost all. Advertising is produced by companies who spend great sums for research on human psychology, and who are always experimenting with new techniques of persuasion.

The fundamental fact about advertising which makes it different from other kinds of rhetoric is that its purpose can hardly be concealed. For this reason people are generally skeptical of advertising claims, and in consequence advertising cannot depend on actually convincing the public. Rather it works on the fact that the purchasing public today is faced with a large number of choices and must choose between products which seem very similar and concerning which it knows very little. In such a dilemma the purchaser is likely to be swayed by the most vague and tenuous motives. The fact that be happens to remember the name of the brand, or he half-consciously associates it with some pleasant or attractive idea, or that its package strikes his eye -- these factors, or one of them, may be decisive in his confused deliberations. If there are 25 brands of breakfast cereal to choose from, all very much alike, the purchaser can hardly help but be influenced by some such motive that advertising can control.

This means that in reading advertisements we ought to develop two habits: (1) The habit of discounting this barrage of impressions which the advertiser seeks to implant in our mind; (2) the habit of trying to glean from the advertisement such definite factual information as it may contain about the nature of the product, its special features, and its price. Only this information has any real utility for the purchaser. In this way the advertising section of a newspaper or magazine can be very useful to a reader who studies it to find out what products are being offered and by what companies. Beyond this we have to learn to free yourself from the psychological enslavement of advertising impressions.

The vast importance of advertising in modern life is undoubtedly an evil, since it constitutes a very big expenditure which brings only a small profit to the purchaser. Hence the purchaser should resist advertising as much as he can, and let companies see that there are many purchasers who demand reliable information. The person engaged in the advertising business should work to develop advertising that is more informative and educational. In present circumstances, nonetheless, he is permitted to compete with other advertisers in using methods of mass-appeal as long as his advertising is not dishonest and does not appeal to immoral emotions of impurity, irrational fear, hate, greed, etc., and provided that the product is a legitimate one. This does not absolve him from his social duty to strive for better practices in his business. Social authorities have even a greater responsibility gradually to reduce the social waste of excessive advertising and to forbid or control the advertising, of socially dangerous products.

Radio, Television and the Movies

For many people, radio, television, and the movies take the place of the newspaper as the source both of information and of entertainment. Most of the time spent on these media is devoted to entertainment, and should be analyzed in terms of the principles of poetics and the fine arts.

Such an analysis reveals that radio and television provide us with three main classes of entertainment:

1. Quality programs in which the producer aims at producing a real work of art: well-played music whether classical or jazz, an effective drama, or a sports exhibition. These programs are usually a rather small part of the total offering and the listener must study the program offerings in order to select them. If he selects only such programs he will probably not give a great deal of time to the medium, but he will be able to find some excellent entertainment which was once available only to a few.

2. Mass-appeal programs in which the producer aims principally at getting as large an audience as possible in order to please an advertising sponsor. These programs may be of high quality, or they may be exceedingly poor entertainment, but these considerations are really irrelevant. People watch a program in vast numbers for all sorts of strange reasons, some of them quite irrational. Defenders of such programs usually say that they are "giving the people what they want." We know that such a policy with children is very injurious to the child. The public is an amorphous group which can be influenced to act like a child or to act like an adult. If the mass media treats the public as a child it will make it childish.

Nor is it true to say that people are always entertained by the things they watch or listen to. Curiosity, laziness, boredom, lust, and all sorts of hidden motives drive people to listen and watch programs which do not truly recreate them, if by recreation we mean a resting and strengthening for daily tasks and for a higher human life. People have been known to flock to a movie which left them frightened and depressed after the momentary satisfaction of a morbid curiosity.

3. Time-killing programs which are produced to hold an audience which wants to be able to have something to watch or listen to whenever it turns on the set, or drops into a movie. A very large part of radio, television, and movie fare is of this sort. This has a good and a bad aspect. The good aspect is that in modern life people have to live by strange schedules, and they need relaxation at odd moments of the day. The unfortunate aspect is that it is the path of least resistance for many. They fill up their day with utter foolishness which is not really entertaining, but which saves them from thinking or praying, or from conversation with friends or family. They waste their lives with shadows and day-dreams which are not even their own.

As rhetorical media, radio, television. and the movies at present do not have a very great function in our society. The codes of these industries and the federal control over the first two operate at present to keep "controversial" material at a minimum, and this is powerfully reinforced by the desire of the commercial sponsors not to offend any group. Political speeches and interview programs on which the principal parties are permitted to buy time, or in some cases are given equal time, are the obvious places for rhetoric. Speakers have learned to develop a special style which is more direct and intimate than platform speaking. Of maximum importance is the speaker's ability to create an impression of sincerity, simplicity, plus the ability to answer any question on the spur of the moment without betraying anger or lack of information. Speakers are sometimes expected to have all the charm of a professional entertainer, and must aim more at being pleasant than at being forceful.

It is obvious that in the future these media may be used more for direct propaganda for a particular point of view. We have already seen this in war time, and it is current practice in anti-democratic countries. There is some reason to believe, however, (since it has never proved possible for a country completely to exclude the reception of foreign broadcasts) that these mass media are most effective when they give the appearance of the objective presentation of both sides of a question. When they fail to seem objective, listeners will grow suspicious and listen to competing broadcasts.

The informational aspect of these media, and particularly of television, can be very great, but at present it is confined to short news broadcasts which are no real substitute for a good newspaper article, to views of public ceremonies, etc., and to "educational programs." The educational programs may grow in number and popularity, although at present they are still of minor importance. It is not to be expected, however, that the mass viewing of public spectacles will greatly contribute to people's real understanding of social events, The great events of history are not ordinarily public events and what the cameras show us is only the outward display.

In making use of these three media for our own consumption we should try to be selective and to leave ample time in our life for more rewarding activities, rather than to become a slave to the mass-mind. In using them to influence others we must realize the serious responsibilities of which the Popes have frequently spoken, and should learn what these responsibilities are by a study of the papal encyclicals and the ethical codes of each industry. All of the mass media are extremely expensive to provide; one consequence of this is that their control is not in the hands of individuals, but of immense corporate bodies. It is necessary for the individual to work within such a corporation for the gradual improvement of standards.

The Many Kinds of Printed Material

Besides the newspaper, we are provided with a vast amount of printing, ranging from pamphlets to magazines, and through a vast variety of magazines to many types of books. Here the important thing is to become acquainted with the whole spectrum of available reading material. There are "pulp-magazines" devoted to time killing popular fiction. There are "slick-magazines" devoted to a varied fare. There are digests, some devoted to general collections and some to special fields. There are news summaries and economic summaries, There are magazines like the Saturday Evening, Post with a mixture of fiction and feature articles that appeal to a business-class audience. There are magazines like The Atlantic Monthly which aim at somewhat more "highbrow" audiences, and the "little magazines" of a literary or political character that aim at very "highbrow" audiences. There are scholarly, professional, and trade journals.

A student ought to spend some time in a library which has a full range of periodicals and become acquainted with what is available to him both in the way of entertainment and of information. Especially should the courses lie may be studying in school encourage him to enquire from the teacher what periodicals or works of bibliography pertain to these particular subjects and to examine and use them. He will quickly discover that the mass media magazines are only inferior versions of much better publications from which they copy a good deal of their information.

American publications, however, are generally weak in effective discussion or genuine rhetoric. The best examples of rhetoric are to be found in the works of a few commentators or public-spirited men who wish to advocate a definite policy and who write with the plain purpose of persuading others to accept this view. Such work, if it is not dishonest or based on gross fallacies, is always profitable; for, even if we are not convinced, at least we obtain a clearer and broader vision of the problem.

Discussion is often very neglected today. In most American papers and magazines the "letters to the editor" department does little more than provide us with a gauge of a favorable or unfavorable public reaction. The letters are too brief, or they are written by extremists. The serious thinker is not often attracted to write in such columns, so that controversy, once very popular, does not play a very big part in our press. Americans seem afraid of the direct refutation of an opponent, and people seem more interested in proving that they are acquainted with both sides of a problem than in trying to make a judgement.


In spite of the enormous propaganda machines which operated in World War II, and the vast variety of the devices which they attempted to use, it is admitted by many that one of the most effective works of persuasion was the series of radio speeches given by the British Prime Minister, Winston Churchill, during the Battle of Britain. These speeches were rhetoric of the classical type, which Cicero would have admired. They were effectively timed to anticipate each crisis, but their chief power came from the way in which Churchill made every Englishman feel that he and his leaders were all joined together in the same risks and the same heroic defense of a great tradition.

These speeches were proof that the genuine classical forms of rhetoric still remain great. Only such rhetoric has the real power to convince, because only in such direct speech are we made to feel the personal conviction of a leader who appeals to us as free human beings capable of deliberate choice. The mass media, when they descend from this true rhetoric to the devices of mere advertising, debase the public and turn it into an irrational animal impulses.

The Christian must use the grace given in confirmation to bear witness to truth, and to resist the constant pressure of mass thinking. He must critically weigh the sources of his information and rely only on what is best. He must have the freedom of mind to engage in honest discussion, and he must have the generosity to listen to men who will accept the responsibility of leadership, and if treated by them as a free man, lie must be willing to follow them loyally.


In planning to persuade an audience to act as we think right the most important problems are the ones we have already discussed in the first part of this chapter, namely, how

to analyze an audience and decide which arguments will most appeal to them. Even after these problems have been solved, however, a further very serious one remains: How to express these arguments in winning words.

In Chapter I we studied something of the magic power of words to arouse the imagination and move the emotions. The poetic writer uses this magic to recreate for us some story of human life. The rhetorician also must use this magic to arouse the attention and sympathy of his audience and then to move them to accept his arguments. This magic of words consists, not only in the selection of appropriate words, but also in their organization into sentences. The manner in which this is done effectively is called style. We say that a person who makes a pleasing appearance by his manner of dress is "in style." Similarly the clothing of our ideas in neat and attractive language is called "good style."

To be effective in persuasion we must have a good style of speaking and writing, and good style has two qualities: (1) It should be appropriate to our audience and our subject matter; (2) it should express our own individuality, since the character of a speaker is one of the most powerful means of persuasion. It is often said that "the style is the man," meaning that our use of words in writing or speaking shows our character to others.

To have these two qualities of appropriateness and individuality style must first of all be clear and orderly. A confused presentation of a subject is always displeasing to an audience and creates a bad impression. A poetic writer will tell a good story, as we have seen, only if he keeps before him the outline of his plot and makes every word and every detail contribute to that single effect. So also the rhetorician must keep before him what he is trying to achieve and make every step of his speech contribute to it. If we examine a well-written advertisement we will soon see how careful the writer was to choose every single word and sentence to make the strongest possible impression on the reader in the shortest possible space.

Therefore, the first rule in acquiring a good style is this: begin by making an outline of what we wish to say.


Any piece of speaking or writing is made up of many sentences or statements, but only a few are of chief importance, for only a few ideas in any such piece are the chief ideas. just as we try to find the two main ideas in a composition, so we must look for the chief statement. This chief statement will be a combination of these two main ideas; we call it the author's thesis or conclusion. Everything else in the composition is there only to explain this chief statement. Once we have discovered the two chief ideas, it is obvious that the conclusion will either combine these, or deny that they can be truly combined. We must either say "Patriotism is honorable," or "Patriotism is not honorable." The former statement is affirmative, the latter negative.

In making an outline, therefore, our first step is to write down the main conclusion or thesis, combining or denying the combination of the two main ideas. The second step is to discover the parts of the composition, and then to find the main statement in each of these parts. Thirdly, these parts can also be divided into parts, each of which has a main statement. This process of breaking down the whole into parts, and these parts into smaller parts can be continued until we arrive at the single sentences of the composition.

In a poetic work the thesis or conclusion will state the plot or story of the poem. The outline will show the different stages of this plot. In a play these different stages are usually called "acts" and "scenes"; in a novel they are commonly chapters, and sections of chapters; in a lyric poem they will often be stanzas.

In a rhetorical work the thesis will be what the speaker is trying to persuade us to do; the outline will show the steps by which he persuades us. In a dialectical work the thesis is not a definite affirmation or negation, but the statement of the case on both sides; the parts of the outline show the stages by which each side makes out its own case. In a scientific work the thesis is the conclusion to be proved as certainly true or false; the outline will show the steps by which this proof is made firm and solid.

    1. Outline of the "Concord Hymn."

If we try to make a first draft of an outline of the "Concord Hymn" we might get the following diagram:

Concord Hymn Outline

2. Outline of the "Gettysburg Address."

The "Gettysburg Address" might be outlined as follows:

3. Analysis of the outlines : You will notice that a perfect outline is simply a classification of the different statements contained in a composition. It is like a branching tree: the trunk is the thesis of the whole composition, which divides into two great branches ' and these into smaller and smaller twigs. Each branch and twig represents a subdivision of the main thesis. Many students make the serious mistake in outlining of merely listing a series of statements. A heap of lumber is not a tree, and a list of statements is not an outline. An outline is an orderly classification of statements in which each general statement is divided into lesser general statements until finally the ultimate unit of statements of the composition is reached. Outlines for other examples will be found on page 470.


If the process of outlining is carried out completely, it will classify every single sentence in the entire composition, It might seem that this would be a complete analysis. But the sentences themselves can also be broken up into the parts of which they are composed. We call this process of analyzing a sentence grammatical analysis or diagraming.

The fundamental point in diagraming is to realize that in a complete statement or sentence there. are only the three principal parts we have already studied (see page 69), the subject, the predicate, and the copula which joins or separates them.

    1. Sentences and modifiers. When we examine sentences, however, we find that some have several subjects and predicates. When these are linked together by the word "and," the sentence is compound, and we can easily divide it into several distinct sentences or statements. When, however, the several subjects and predicates are linked by subordinating conjunctions, then the sentence has only one principal subject and predicate, and the other sentences (subordinate clauses) are really modifiers. The chief subordinating conjunctions are the following:

 after             because          than        where
 although          before           though      wherever
 as                if               unless      while
 as if             in order that    until
 as long           since            when
 as long as        so that          whenever
 as though
In diagraming, our whole purpose is to discover the principal subject and predicate, and then to list the other parts of the sentence as modifiers of these. Since the predicate itself is a modifier, we can actually turn the sentence into a subject with a whole series of predicates. Thus the simplest way of conceiving the building of any sentence is to think of it as a subject with a series of modifiers, each,one of which could serve as the predicate of a separate sentence.

    2. The moods of verbs. Our notion of a sentence can be still further simplified by noticing that the verb is either is (or is not), plus a predicate word or series of words.

This is very plain in declarative sentences, which simply state something true or false. Sentences in which the verb expresses some other manner of speaking (a request, for example, or a command), rather than a simple declaration of truth or falsity, are said to be in a different mood (manner of speaking) than these simply declarative sentences, which are in the indicative mood. But we can make them into declarations in the indicative mood by saying "I am asking or commanding you...." Thus:

1. The question ( interrogative mood ): "Are you coming?" is equivalent to a declarative sentence: "I am asking you whether you are coming."

2. The request or supposition (subjunctive mood): "May God bless you," is equivalent to the declarative sentence: I am praying that God will bless you."

3. The command ( imperative mood ): "Come here!" is equivalent to the declarative sentence: "I am commanding you to come here."

    3. Actions expressed by verbs. We should also notice that some verbs name an action which is clear and definite. These verbs are said to be intransitive; they need no other noun to explain them. But frequently it is necessary to make a verb clearer by adding to it a noun called its object : "I made a house." Sometimes it is even necessary to add a second object noun or an adjective, which is called the objective complement : I made the house a home," or "I made the house comfortable." Verbs of this kind demanding an object or objective complement are called transitive.

When a verb names an action which is clear and definite it is said to be intransitive. Frequently, however, it is necessary to make the nature of this action more definite by indicating its effect, since action is completed by bringing about some result. This can be done by adding, in one of several ways, a noun or an adjective which indicates the result or effect of the action:

1. The direct object is a noun which indicates the thing acted upon: "I made a house."

2. The objective complement is a noun or adjective indicating the effect produced in the object: "I made the house a home," or "I made the house comfortable."

3. The indirect object is a noun which indicates the person to or for whom the action is performed: "I made him a house."

4. The infinitive which is a noun naming an action, can also be used just like a direct object in order to indicate that one action results in another: "I am trying to build a house."

All these words which help to make a verb clearer are really its modifiers. The standard method of diagraming sentences, however, places the object on a straight line with subject and verb, and thus it incorrectly makes it appear as if an object were a principal part of a sentence.

In the manner just explained, any piece of speaking or writing can ultimately be analyzed into a series of simple sentences, each having only a subject, predicate, and copula.

An Example of Diagraming

The "Concord Hymn" is made up of four stanzas, each of which is a single sentence. The simplicity and beauty of the poem comes largely from the way in which Emerson makes his ideas clear, and yet expresses them in a varied manner by a careful construction of each of these sentences. All of them are declarative sentences, except the last which is imperative. We can rewrite this last sentence in declarative form as follows: "We beg thee, Spirit that made these heroes dare to die and leave their children free, to bid time and nature gently spare the shaft we raise to them and thee."

If we diagram the first three declarative sentences according to the usual method, we get the following:

Relations of the Parts of the Sentence

These diagrams show the relations within each sentence. We see that each compound sentence (1st and 2nd stanzas) can be broken into separate sentences simply by removing the conjunction. Similarly the complex sentences (all four are complex) can be made into several separate sentences by rewriting each subordinate clause in the form of an independent statement. If we do this we get the following sentences:

    1. The embattled farmers, with their flag unfurled to April's breeze, once stood here by the rude bridge.
    2. The rude bridge arched the flood.
    3. The farmers fired the shot heard round the world.
    4. The foe long since in silence slept.
    5. The conqueror also sleeps in silence.
    6. Time has swept the ruined bridge down the dark stream.
    7. The stream creeps seaward.
    8. We today set a votive stone on this green bank by this soft stream.
    9. Our purpose is to commemorate their deed.
  10. This commemoration will last.
  11. Our sons will then be gone.
  12. Similarly our sires have gone.
  13. We beg thee, Spirit, to bid Time and Nature spare the shaft.
  14. The spirit made those heroes dare to die and leave their children free.
  15. We raise the shaft to them and thee.

Thus fifteen sentences are compressed into four by Emerson without any loss of clarity. Indeed the four sentences are actually clearer, because by the use of conjunctions the author shows us which ideas are more important and which are of equal importance. An analysis of the "Gettysburg Address" will show the same skill in putting many ideas clearly in a few sentences. Study, for example, its last sentence which has become so famous.

The Ultimate Units of a Sentence

In order to see that the ultimate units of all our thinking and writing are subjects and predicates (that is, a noun and its modifiers) let us take the first sentence of the "Concord Hymn" (see diagram on page (10-1) and break it down to its ultimate ideas: We can write out these ideas as follows:
   Farmers are these. (particular substances, not universal ones)
   Farmers are many. (quantity)
   Farmers are fought. (reception)
   Farmers are standing. (action)
   Farmers are holding. (action)
   Farmers are firing. (action)
     Standing is here. (place)
     Standing (was) then. (timing)
     Standing is near. (place as a relation)
     Bridge is this. (particular)
     Bridge is near. (place as a relation)
     Bridge is rude. (quality)
     Bridge is arched. (quality)
     Bridge is over. (position as a relation)
     Flood is under. (position as a relation)
     Flood is this. (particular)
     Flag is theirs. (relation)
     Flag is held. (reception)
     Flag is unfurled. (position)
     Unfurling is in. (position as a relation)
     Breeze is around. (position as a relation)
     Breeze is blowing. (action)
     Air is blowing. (action)
     Blowing (was) then. (timing)
     Then (was) April. (timing)
     Firing is shooting. (an action defined by a resulting action)
     Firing (was) then. (place)
     Shooting is heard. (reception)
     Hearing is world-wide. (timing)

These sentences are too awkward to be good English sentences, but they state the ultimate truths which are all bundled together in this one single sentence. So rapid is the human mind that it takes in many such thought-units in one swift movement.


Each part of the composition should be a development of one part of the outline. The main statement of each part of the outline can frequently be used as the first sentence of a paragraph, and is then called a topic sentence. The sentences of each paragraph should be arranged so that the subject of the paragraph is emphasized, and the principal predicate or predicates applied to it stand out clearly. The other modifiers should be the less important ideas and should not be too many, so that the sentences are short and uncluttered.

This kind of writing is sure to be clear and ought to be the basic pattern for all writing. Writing that adheres closely to such a pattern is said to be in the simple style.

The simple style might use words and grammatical construction of three different levels of usage. The formal style is used for most expository writing and in speeches and lectures given on formal occasions. The informal style is that of the conversational speech of educated persons and makes use of colloquial words, contracted forms of speech like "don't" and "won't," and a simpler and looser grammatical construction. The vulgate level is used by uneducated persons habitually, and by educated persons occasionally for humorous effects. It makes use of slang (that is, of short-lived language of popular origin) and of barbarism (that is, of distorted forms due to ignorance). We may also notice that in speaking or writing to special groups we may employ -- and, indeed, must often employ -- a restricted usage to which they are accustomed, but we should beware of attempting this unless we can do it well.

The simple style is not adequate to fulfill all the requirements of rhetoric and poetry. It lacks "color," that is, it does not arouse our imagination and emotions. Soon it becomes extremely monotonous and the attention of the reader or listener wanders. The simple style is best in scientific writing, but in rhetoric and poetry it is necessary to develop it in such a way that, without losing its clarity, it takes on variety, emphasis, and continuity. Variety holds the attention of the audience. Emphasis makes the important ideas stand out vividly and in a way that is easy to remember. Continuity, or the smooth flow of one idea into another, helps the audience to follow the thought easily and without tiring or getting lost. We will discuss continuity in the next chapter.

Variety is obtained by the use of the sound of the words, by sentence structure, and figures of speech.

Rhythm in Poetry and Prose

We have seen that the sound of a word gives it an emotional quality (see pages 41-42). When words are combined into longer units they take on melody and rhythm as in music. The melody is the combination of series of sounds differing in pitch according to some pattern or proportion. In speech, melody is very restricted, and yet beautiful effects can be obtained by the choice and arrangement of high-pitched vowels like i and e and low-pitched vowels like o and u, and by similar sound in alliteration (similar consonants at the beginning of words), rhyme (similar sounds at the end of words), and assonance (similar vowels within words) (see page 42). The basic principle in giving either prose or verse a beautiful sound is to avoid monotony by contrasting unlike sounds and to achieve emphasis by comparing similar sounds.

Rhythm is the regular arrangement of sounds according to time. The rhythm of speech or song is marked off either by long and short sounds, or by the arrangements of accents, and it is reinforced by the melody. When rhythm is regular it is called meter or verse. When it has only a loose regularity it is called free verse, and if very irregular it is prose. Latin and Greek used a rhythm based principally on long and short sounds, reinforced by accents. English, however, uses just the reverse system; its rhythm is based on accents, reinforced somewhat by the length of the syllables.

There are basically two units of rhythm (called "feet"): One has two beats, and one three. Any longer unit could be broken up into smaller units. The pattern would be monotonous or ambiguous if all these beats were exactly alike. Hence the two beat unit is treated as made up of a full beat, and two half-beats. If the full beat comes first the foot is called a dactyl (- ' ' ); if it is placed last it is called an anapest (' ' -). In music this rhythm is called 4/4 or common time. The three beat rhythm is either a trochee (' -) or an iamb (- '). These units can be arranged into longer units or lines (verses) and into groups of verses or stanzas. Meters are named by stating the foot and the number of feet to a line. Thus "iambic pentameter" is verse having five iambic feet in a line ( penta is Greek for 5).

Rhythm itself requires variety and emphasis. Hence in meter it is necessary to substitute some different feet in the regular pattern. fit prose it is important not to allow the rhythm to become too regular, since then it begins to sound like imperfect verse. A beautiful sound pattern, however, is not very useful in either verse or prose unless it lends emphasis to the ideas. Hence the pattern of rhythm and melody should serve to bring out the sentence structure.

Sentence Structure

Skillful sentence construction is the most important means of creating the emphasis and variety that are the mark of a good style. The unskillful writer is usually guilty of two errors: (1) He makes sentences which are confused, and thus emphasis is lost. (2) He makes every sentence alike, hence variety disappears.

In order to correct these faults, it is important to master the principles laid down in the previous section. We must understand how to begin with a subject and predicate, and never to let go of them in constructing the sentence. They are its basic skeleton and must stand out clearly. This removes the first fault. The second is corrected by the use of different types of modifiers: subordinate clauses, phrases, and different parts of speech. It is necessary to practice expressing the same idea in a great variety of ways, so that in writing a composition we can vary our expression as required.

More Figures of Speech

The final means of achieving this more colorful style is by the use of figures of speech. In Chapter I (pages 53-54) we treated of figures of speech that depend on the transference of words from one meaning to another. There are also figures which depend rather on the arrangement of ideas in a sentence. The most important of these are parallelism and antithesis.

The first of these is the arrangement of sentences, clauses, or phrases so that they are alike either in grammatical construction or at least in thought. Antithesis is the opposite, a contrast in structure or ideas. Parallelism and antithesis are often combined so that the grammatical construction is parallel, while the thought is antithetical.

Related to these is climax, or the arrangement of sentences or parts of sentences (often three) in the order of ascending importance. Anticlimax is the reverse arrangement. The use of a mixture of declarative, interrogative, and imperative sentences (see page 102 f.) has the effect of a figure of speech. To achieve this, inanimate things or abstractions are often treated as persons ( personification ); moreover, both real persons and personifications may be addressed dramatically as if they were present and listening to us. This is called apostrophe.

A style which makes use of all these devices is called colorful or ornamented. It should still retain clarity but it cannot possibly be as clear as the simple style. Hence poetry often seems rather obscure to the reader, but it would never be able to attain its richness and intense emotional quality in any other way.

Rhetoric also strives for great variety in order to keep the audience awake, but it is not as intense as poetry. The style of poetry can be delightful for its own sake, since it is intended to entertain, but the style of rhetoric must avoid attracting too much attention to itself, lest the audience enjoy the speech and yet go away unpersuaded. Hence rhetoric seeks the medium style, not so plain as to be uninteresting, nor so elaborate as to be distracting.

Both rhetoric and poetry must take care to maintain a definite mood or tone. They seek to build up a definite emotion in the audience, and such an emotion can easily be destroyed by a jarring note. Important in setting the tone of a composition are two figures of speech not yet mentioned. One is hyperbole, or the use of exaggerated statements to emphasize an idea. The other is litotes or understatement, the use of statements that are too weak and which also emphasize an opposite meaning, just as does irony with respect to words (page 53).

The basic rule with regard to style, therefore, should be as follows: Begin with a clear expression of your basic ideas in a simple style; then if your purpose is poetic or rhetorical choose the appropriate devices of sound, of sentence-structure, and of figures of speech to achieve variety and emphasis and to sustain the desired emotional mood. Nothing is gained and much is lost if these devices of style are merely tacked on to make your writing or speaking "fancy" or decorated with high-flown language and "purple patches." Unless you are sure that a device has a definite contribution to make, it is better to stick to the simple style. Indeed good writers generally revise their work with the purpose of cutting out all devices of style that are not really effective.


     1. The style of St. Thomas Aquinas. Of our standard examples, that by St. Thomas Aquinas (page 417) is in the simple style. The original Latin is even simpler and more precise. St. Thomas is a master of the simple style in which every word and sentence aims at perfect clarity. He avoids almost all of the devices which we have been mentioning, except for some use of parallelism and antithesis.

     2. The style of Chesterton. The work of Chesterton (page 413) is in the medium style, because although it is dialectical in its purpose it makes use of a rather rhetorical approach common in essays. Chesterton is fond of certain sound effects, especially of alliteration ("purifying passion," "there would be no one left to say that lust bore none of the marks of love." "only in consequence of such a decay could the current love of territory be confounded with the ancient love of country"). A careful reading will show that he avoids making this too obvious and that it has a definite purpose, namely, to emphasize his use of antithesis.

It is this use of antithesis that is very characteristic of dialectic and which Chesterton constantly employs: "If no type of chivalrous and purifying passion remained, there would be no one left to say that lust bore none of the marks of love, that lust was rapacious and love pitiful, that lust was blind and love vigilant, that lust sated itself and love was insatiable."

Chesterton's tone throughout is humorous, and hence he makes effective use of hyperbole and anticlimax : "The conviction must come to him at last that these men do not realize what the word 'love' means, that they mean by the love of country, not what a mystic might mean by the love of God, but something of what a child might mean by the love of jam." Obviously "jam" is here an anticlimax, and it is made all the more effective by comparing it to "the love of God," which is a hyperbole, since Chesterton has been using love merely to mean patriotism or romantic love, not for something so lofty. Note also the anticlimax in "trade, physical force, a skirmish at a remote frontier, a squabble in a remote continent"; each phrase is less and less dignified. Notice finally the use of antithesis in the rather solemn close of the last two sentences of the composition.

     3. The "Gettysburg Address." Lincoln's speech is one of the great masterpieces of the medium style, but its tone is solemn and grand, rather than playful, like that of Chesterton. Lincoln uses a style which at first sight seems to be simple, and yet on examination turns out to make use of very many rhetorical devices. Its simplicity is deliberate in order to remove the impression that the President on this occasion was striving to make a political display. Thus throughout there is a certain effect of litotes or understatement, especially in such a sentence as: "it is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this."

Its chief devices, however, are the beautiful use of antithesis and climax, and its solemn and flowing sound. Notice the rhythm of: "Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure." If we diagram the sound pattern in this sentence we get something like the following:

It will be noticed that there is a basic iambic rhythm (' -) running through this whole sentence. In the first line, however, the rhythm is shifted to emphasize the words "now," "engaged," "great," and "war." Then the succeeding four lines are rather rapid because their rhythm is quite regular. Finally, the succession of short sounds ("dedicated can") prepares for a solemn and slow close on the two very long, heavy sounds, "long endure." Thus the beginning of the sentence Sounds solemn and weighty, the middle part is more vigorous, and the conclusion is very solemn. This effect is enhanced by the parallelism of "that nation/ or any nation" and "so conceived/ and so dedicated."

Each of nine sentences of the "Address" has an interesting construction:

1. The first sentence has a solemn, even pace. The subject "our fathers" has no other modifiers, but several modifiers are attached to the predicate "brought forth." They tell us when ("four-score and seven years ago") where ("on this continent") and the result ("a new nation"). This result, "the nation," is defined by two parallel phrases: "conceived in liberty," and "dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal." Thus the mind is fixed at once on the notion of our "nation and what it stands for.

2. The second sentence is parallel to the first, except that the position of "nation" is now taken by the term "war," which again is defined by balanced phrases, "testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure." If you compare these first two sentences you will see that they have the effect of balancing each other, and have a rather similar sound.

3. The third sentence is very short and matter of fact. It thus changes the pattern set by the first two sentences. It is connected with them, however, by a parallelism: "We are engaged in a great civil war...", "We are met on a great battlefield of that war."

4. The fourth sentence is parallel to the two preceding, since all three begin alike: "We are engaged," "We are met," "We have come." Notice the parallelism between "gave their lives" and "that that nation might live."

5. The fifth sentence again is very brief and matter of fact, with something of the effect of understatement. You will notice that each time Lincoln refers to himself and the crowd he speaks in a deprecating, brief manner. When he refers to the dead and their example, the sentences become rich and solemn.

6. The sixth sentence consists in a beautiful three-membered climax, "We cannot dedicate, we cannot consecrate, we cannot hallow this ground."

7. The seventh is filled with emotion. Lincoln now directly refers to the heroes and defines them in simple terms, "The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here. .." Notice how the series of very short words, "far above our poor power to add or detract," make the last part of the line swift in movement and suggestive of the weakness and inadequacy which the speaker feels in the presence of the great.

8. The eighth sentence contains a parallelism: "The world will little note, nor long remember," and an antithesis: "what we say here"... "what they did here."

9. The last sentence is the longest of all and provides a wonderful climax. You will notice that the first part of the sentence, "It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us," is parallel to the preceding sentence. Then Lincoln makes a grammatical break, represented by the dash -. We would expect him to say, "It is rather for us to be dedicated to the great task, and that we should take increased devotion from these honored dead," This, however, would have been weak and complicated. So Lincoln boldly drops the sentence construction with which he began and forms the rest of the sentence on a new pattern. The rest of the sentence has two parallel members: "that from these honored dead we take increased devotion," and "that we here highly resolve." This last member then has three parallel members within itself: that these dead shall not have died in vain..... that this nation... shall have a new birth," and "that government... shall not perish." Finally the last of these itself contains three climatic phrases: "of the people," "by the people," "for the people."

     4. The "Concord Hymn." The style of the "Concord Hymn" is the elaborate and intense style of poetry, although in this case Emerson keeps it relatively simple. He wishes to give it something of the simpler tone of rhetorical prose, since the poem suggests a memorial speech. We have already seen how carefully varied are the four sentences that make up the poem. Notice also that parallelism and antithesis run through the entire poem and are supported by the arrangement of lines in the stanzas and by the rhymes. Thus in the first stanza the first two lines are similar in structure, neither one containing the subject or the predicate of the sentence, while the last two lines each contain a complete sentence joined by "and." In the second stanza this parallelism is even plainer. This balanced rhythm, the rhyme, and the figures of speech (see page 110) give an emotional tone which is smoother and freer than that of the "Gettysburg Address." This poem sings, while the music in Lincoln's words is muffled and broken.

The expression "shot heard round the world" is an excellent example of a hyperbole. The last stanza is an apostrophe, and in it "Time" and "Nature" are personified. We notice that the descriptive imagery of the poem, "dark stream which seaward creeps," "this green bank," "this soft stream," would not be very appropriate in the medium style of rhetorical prose, except perhaps at a moment of great emotion.


(to be memorized)

1. A statement is the verbal expression of a judgment, signifying truth or falsehood, and is made up of a subject, predicate, and copula.

1) A subject is something concerning which a judgment is made.
2) A predicate is that which is attributed to a subject or denied of it by an act of judgment.
3) A copula is the expression of the act of judgment.

2. A statement is universal or particular in quantity according to whether the subject is a universal distributive or a particular term; it is affirmative or negative in quality according to whether the copula identifies the predicate with the subject or separates them.

3. Statements are opposed when they have the same predicates and subjects but different quantities and qualities and hence differ in some way in truth value.

1) Contradictory statements are two statements which are opposed in both quantity and quality. They cannot both be true nor both false at the same time.
2) Contrary statements are two universal statements which are opposed in quality, cannot both be true at the same time, but can both be false.
3) Subcontrary statements are two particular statements which are opposed in quality. They may both be true at the same time, but cannot both be false.
4) Subaltern statements are a universal and a particular of the same quality. The truth of the universal implies the truth of the particular, and the falsehood of the particular implies the falsehood of the universal, but they are otherwise independent of each other in truth value.

4. A sentence is a group of words signifying a judgment, or its equivalent.

1) A declarative sentence is one which signifies a true judgment.
2) An imperative sentence is one which signifies a command (equivalent to a judgment).
3) An interrogatory sentence is one which signifies a request for an answering judgment (equivalent to a judgment).
4) A deprecative sentence is one which signifies a request (equivalent to a judgment).
5) A hortatory sentence is one which signifies advice or counsel (equivalent to a judgment).
6) An exclamatory sentence is one which expresses strong emotion (equivalent to a judgment).

5. Certitude is a state of mind which excludes doubt; opinion is a state of mind in which one of two contradictory statements is preferred but without the total exclusion of the other.

1) Merely subjective certitude is a state of the mind excluding doubt, but not based on objective evidence.
2) Objective certitude is a state of mind excluding reasonable doubt, by means of objective evidence.

6. An immediately evident statement is one known to be certainly true from the meaning of its terms and immediate objective evidence.

7. Faith is a knowing assent to a statement as true, not because it is evident, but on the authority of another.

1) Reasonable faith is that given to an authority whose reliability is known to us by objective evidence. If this authority is God, then faith is divine (namely, the Catholic Faith); if human, then the faith is human.
2) Foolish faith is that given to an authority not known to be trustworthy.


The major objective of this year should be the detailed analysis of one standard example of an excellent rhetorical speech, and the imitation of this speech in a brief talk, carefully written and delivered, to be presented in class toward the end of the school year. The grammatical exercises should be directed toward this objective.

Unit I: Dialectic: The Art of Discussion (pp. 67-84)

A. Make a tape-recording of informal classroom discussion on some topic of current student interest:
Play back to class and criticize. Was the issue clear? Did the different participants show that they were listening carefully to the others? Were good manners observed and tempers controlled? Did the discussion arrive at any conclusion? Was there any effort to sum up?

B. Analyze dialogue in stories and plays:
Why is this conversation interesting? Write brief conversations with imaginary persons. Point out the difficulties which teenagers experience in conversing with adults, or with strangers, and how this can be overcome by reading. A person who reads well always has something he can talk about with others.

C. Composition and speech:
After reading a selection in the anthology or current literature on a controversial topic, plan a debate. This debate should have an exposition of each side of the case, a rebuttal of the opponent, and a limited time for questioning the opponent. It should conclude with both sides attempting a summary of the agreement and disagreement. In writing this debate make use of the two points of theory developed in the chapter:
(1) Use of the four types of statements and of contradictory disagreement (pp. 70-72). For helpful exercises see John Oesterle, Logic. (New York: Prentice-Hall, 1952), pp. 69, and 85-88.
(2) Clear statement of reasons (pp. 73-84). In questioning his opponent the debater should take care to demand reasons for each important statement.

D. Correlation:
The use of reasons and basic statements (axioms, postulates, etc.; see page 330) in geometry and other courses should be discussed, and examples found in textbooks used in these courses.

Unit II: Rhetoric: The Instruments of Rhetoric (pp. 85-98)

A. Studying advertisements.
Collect current advertisements. To what audience are they intended to appeal? How does the advertiser establish his reliability with his audience? Report on television commercials and their technique.

B. Reading the newspaper and collecting examples of the various types of magazines:
What are the features contained in several newspapers? What kind of audience does the newspaper or magazine seek to reach? How much of the material is of high quality? intended for mass appeal? intended to kill time?

C. Analysis of speeches and essays:
In the anthology or other literary material analyze speeches and essays which are rhetorical in character. What audience did the writer address? What was his technique? Why did such works have to be more subtle in their rhetorical appeal than in advertising?

D. Correlation:
From the history course bring in examples of great men who achieved power through. their rhetorical ability. Read some of their speeches. Give examples also from current history. It would be well to read an oration of Cicero in translation and discuss reasons for taking third and fourth year Latin.

E. Speech:
Give brief informal talks aimed at the following purposes:
(1) A sales-talk for some product.
(2) A talk to beg funds for a school project.
(3) A talk to elect a classmate for a school office.
(4) A talk or letter intended to give a good impression of personal character and ability to a prospective employer.
(5) A talk about the truth of the Catholic Faith, or the reasonableness of some Catholic practice, to a Protestant, a Jew, and an atheist.

Unit III: Outlining and Diagramming (pp. 99-107)

This material should not be treated as an isolated topic, but should be directed toward a detailed analysis of essays and speeches, and toward planning the speech to be written in Unit IV.

A. Finding the thesis or conclusion of a piece of literature:
Several selections of each type of discourse should be read and the student should formulate the author's thesis in a single clear sentence.

B. Outlining the piece of literature:
The student should now break the composition up into its main parts, and formulate the thesis of each part in a single sentence. Then each major part should be broken up into minor parts, and each of these formulated as a sentence. The outline should then be criticized (a) for parallelism of division and formulation, (b) for clear relation between parts and whole, between the theme of each part and the main conclusion.

C. Grammar review:
Review formation of paragraphs, use of capital letters in titles, etc. The general appearance of a composition should make its outline clear. (See E. W., Grade Ten, pp. 179-190, for exercises in paragraph writing.)

D. Diagramming sentences:
(1) The ordinary method of diagramming should be explained (see pages 104-105). For a good treatment of diagramming see H. C. House and S. E. Harman, Descriptive English Grammar (2nd ed., Prentice-Hall, 1950). Then drill on diagramming and correction of sentence faults should be made. (See E. W., pp. 23-24 and pp. 45-66.)
(2) Theoretical grammar: Review the use of the categories, pp. 45-49.

E. Composition:
Select passages from literature written in rather long and complex sentences and rewrite in short sentences. Then reverse this procedure, turning a composition written in short sentences into a few well-structured compound and complex sentences. Discuss the rhetorical value of each style. Which is clearer? smoother? Which holds our attention best? Which style would be appropriate for different types of audience?

Unit IV: Style:

A. Study of theory of style (pages 107-116):
Take short selections from the anthology to illustrate various types of style, and the use of devices of sound, sentence structure, figures of speech. The teacher may expand this section on melody and rhythm. A good treatment will be found in Enid Hamer, The Meters of English Poetry (New York: Macmillan, 1930).

B. Reading and analysis:
Study of a long work (novel, Shakespearean play, or other plays) with special attention to the use of these stylistic devices.

C. Composition:
An essay on the theme of the work just read. Student should make an outline, decide on the type of discourse, and then should write with attention to style. After this essay is corrected, it should be rewritten by student in another style (simpler or more elaborate, etc.).

D. Grammar review:
The writing of the essay should be followed by a review of common errors (see E. W., Chapters 6-12).

E. Speech:
Students may be asked to give oral book reports on some assigned reading. Attention should be given to oral style: speaking in complete sentences; beginning with an outline of what is about to be said, concluding with a summary, and making clear each step of the talk. What choice of words and sentence structure sound well?