Myths and Realties

When Not to Respond

Designing Writing Assignments

Commenting: Margins and End

Commenting on Drafts


Helping Students Learn Editing

Helping Students Learn to Fix Errors

Overview of Rhetorical Context

Discipline Specific Resources

Print-Friendly Page Print Page
Authors & Contributors

Refresher: An Overview of the Rhetorical Context

Although "rhetoric" gets a bad rap in the popular media, the term actually refers to the means of persuasion one speaker or writer uses in communicating with others. Based on a tradition of over 3000 years of thinking and study, rhetoric includes more than just persuasive speaking or writing. Some teachers argue that all speaking and writing is persuasive because we always try to get listeners or readers to adopt our point of view to understand our message. But even if we don't take such an extreme view of communication, we can imagine that all speaking and writing takes place in a communicative situation that we can call the rhetorical context.