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Emotional Appeals


Techniques used by writers to affect readers’ emotions:


1.  Word Choice:


“The language game requires players to insert a strong negative word for what [the] opponent wants (e.g., the death tax) and eliminate similar hot-button words used on your side” (Leo 213). 

·    Literal:  Denotative (Dictionary)

·    Emotional:  Connotative (Associative) (Awash, 211)

Ex:  Pro-life/choice; Friendly fire

Ex:  “Bush Reaffirms Resolve to War on Terror

2.  Figurative Language:  Striking metaphors/similes


Ex:  “Poland ignited a fire of freedom” (Bush).


3.  Sentence Patterns:  Repetition of key words/phrases


Ex:  We are representing 84 countries united against a common danger and joined in a common purpose. We are the nations that have recognized the threat of terrorism, and we are the nations that will defeat that threat. Each of us has pledged before the world:  We will never bow to the violence of a few.  We will face this mortal danger, and we will overcome it together” (Bush).


Find the Use of Sentence Patterns:

“There have been disagreements in this matter, among old and valued friends. Those differences belong to the past. All of us can now agree that the fall of the Iraqi dictator has removed a source of violence, aggression, and instability in the Middle East. It's a good thing that the demands of the United Nations were enforced, not ignored with impunity. It is a good thing that years of illicit weapons development by the dictator have come to the end. It is a good thing that the Iraqi people are now receiving aid, instead of suffering under sanctions. And it is a good thing that the men and women across the Middle East, looking to Iraq, are getting a glimpse of what life in a free country can be like” (Bush).

4.  Imitative Language Patterns: 

a.  Language patterns of respected sources

(Bible, Shakespeare)

Ex:  “I Have a Dream”:  Five score years ago… 

b.  Language patterns that readers relate to

Ex:  Jesus:  Don’t leave Earth without him.


5.  Manipulative Imagery:  Images that evoke emotion:


“As we meet, violence and death at the hands of terrorists are still fresh in our memory. The people of Spain are burying their innocent dead. These men and women and children began their day in a great and peaceful city, yet lost their lives on a battlefield, murdered at random and without remorse” (Bush).

Find the Use of Manipulative Imagery:

“The people of Afghanistan are a world away from the nightmare of the Taliban […]. Businesses are opening, health care centers are being established, and the children of Afghanistan are back in school, boys and girls” (Bush).