In his acceptance speech for the German Booksellers‘ Peace Prize, awarded a few weeks before he was elected President of Czechoslovakia, Vaclav Havel talked about the power of language, warning that ―the power of words is neither unambiguous nor clear cut…Words that electrify society with their freedom and truthfulness are matched by words that mesmerize, deceive, inflame, madden, beguile….‖ He asked, ―What is the true vocation of the intellectual? …to listen careful to words—to the words of the powerful—to be
watchful of them…to proclaim their implications.‖ Although primarily addressing the need to be alert to the rhetoric of those in positions of power, Havel‘s word also point to the task before teachers and students of English. What the AP English Language and Composition Examination asks for students to evaluate words—words they are to read carefully, interpret, and then ―proclaim their implications.‖ Preparing for this examination is preparing to be continually attuned to what words say and how they say it, and to be able to respond to them with an informed, critical intelligence.
AP English Language and Composition Free Response
Scoring Guide with Multiple-Choice Section, 1996
Whatever you say. Or whatever you write. Or whatever you do to get your point across. That is rhetoric. And, as the 15-or-so freshmen in English Professor Richard Enos‘ Freshmen Seminar discover, that‘s the art between thought and
Was Bill Clinton‘s A Man From Hope a folksy documentary or propaganda
pushing small-town values just in time for the 1990 election? And how on earth did Orson Welles‘ 1939 radio adaptation of War of the Worlds cause people to
jump from buildings and the government to prohibit similar broadcasts?
By semester‘s end, Enos‘ students will be disarming such arguments like a S.W.A.T. team led by Socrates himself.
―Directly, we learn about persuasion and propaganda, but indirectly we become better writers and better thinkers,‖ said the soft-spoken, passionate Enos,
holder of TCU‘s Lillian B. Radford Chair of Rhetoric and Composition. ―Rhetoric equips people to become good citizens. Can I turn a student into someone as eloquent and wise as, say, Martin Luther King Jr.? I don‘t know.‖
―But can I help them become more effective in their own expression? Yes, and that‘s enough.‖
Texas Christian University
AP Language Arts Student Guide-Broken Arrow Public Schools 1
Let‘s Hear It for Rhetoric
Politicians often attack opponents‘ ideas as ―mere rhetoric.‖ The habit has given rhetoric a bad rap. In truth, rhetoric makes the most of a thought, dressing it for effectiveness. Who would quote the most famous lines of history and literature if it weren‘t for the artful way they were put?
Can you recognize these famous lines with the rhetoric shaken out?
1. ―Should I really live or what? That‘s the bottom line.‖
2. ―What I‘m sorry about is that I can‘t die for my country two or three
times, over and over.‖
3. ―I‘ll be back someday.‖
4. ―Ask what you can do for your country, not the other way around.‖
5. ―The earth wasn‘t much of anything until god said, ‗Lights!‘ and the
lights came on. ‗That‘s good!‘ He said‖
6. ―It was the best time in history, but it was sort of bad, too.‖
Let‘s face it, rhetoric‘s not as ―mere‖ as the politicians seems to think. The
1. ―To be or not to be, that is the question.‖ –William Shakespeare
2. ―I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country.‖ Nathan
3. ―I shall return.‖ –General Douglas MacArthur
4. ―Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for
your country.‖ – John F. Kennedy
5. ―And the earth was without form and void…And God said, Let there be
light: and there was light. And God saw the light, that it was good.‖ –
6. ―It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.‖ – Charles Dickens
(A Tale of Two Cities)
Copied from Reader’s Digest
AP Language Arts Student Guide-Broken Arrow Public Schools 2
The Art of Rhetoric:
Learning How to Use the Three Main Rhetorical Styles
Rhetoric (n) – the art of speaking or writing effectively. (Webster‘s Definition)
According to Aristotle, rhetoric is ―the ability, in each particular case, to see the available means of persuasion.‖ He describe three main forms of rhetoric: Ethos, Logos, and
In order to be a more effective writer, you must understand these three terms. This site will help you to better understand their meanings and show you how to make your writing more persuasive.
Ethos is appeal based on the character of the speaker. An ethos-driven document relies on the reputation of the author.
Logos is appeal based on logic or reason. Documents distributed by companies or corporations are logos-driven. Scholarly documents are also often logos-driven.
Pathos is appeal based on emotion. Advertisements tend to be pathos-driven.
Rhetorical appeals can be achieved through:
Visual Information Structure; this includes how the text looks o the screen. This is achieved through the appearance of such things as the titles and the headings.
Color; this includes the color of the text, the background, and the graphics. The contrast of the colors of each of these items is also important.
Graphic Images; this includes the other information in the document aside from the text. This is achieved through such things as icons, buttons, and photos.
AP Language Arts Student Guide-Broken Arrow Public Schools 3
Three Modes of Persuasion
Mapped to the Communication Triangle
Character (ethos): The text shows the speaker to be sensible, well informed, moral, and concerned about the welfare of the audience.
Emotion (pathos): The text uses language that appeals to anger, friendliness, fear shame kindliness, pity, envy, and other emotions that may persuade the audience.
Reason (logos): The text employs rational methods of argument including definition, formal and informal logic, and examples.
AP Language Arts Student Guide-Broken Arrow Public Schools 4
Acme Gizmotronics, the company that you‘ve trusted for over 100 years, has recently entered the World Wide Web! Now you can purchase our fine products through the internet. Our quality gizmos, widgets, and thingamabobs can be shipped to you within minutes. All come with the famous lifetime guarantee that makes Acme the company that the world depends on for it‘s gizmo needs
Our spokesperson, Mr. Coyote says ―I’m not really a
coyote, but I play one on TV. I’ve used Acme products for years. Their slingshots, rocket launchers, crowbars, pogo sticks, and power pills are the best around. And don’t forget
their high-powered dynamite! I buy everything from Acme. They are the company that I trust the most.‖
ACME is currently supporting research into a form of clean, ultra-efficient, cesium-based power that promises to usher in a new period of cheap, globally available power. Based on a small island off the coast of Costa Rica, ACME Technology Research is one
of our most significant divisions.
Back to reality – ACME is not a real company, contrary to popular belief. It‘s something we made up to use as an example of Ethos. The ACME homepage is an example of ethos because of the way it keeps referring back to the character of ACME. ACME is a company that ―you have trusted for over 100 years.‖ They even have a spokesperson vouching for their integrity.
AP Language Arts Student Guide-Broken Arrow Public Schools 5
ACME’s new dihydro-cesium process
By combining cesium and dihydro-oxide in laboratory conditions, and capturing the released energy, ACME has promised to lead the way into the future. Our energy source is clean, safe, and powerful. No pollutants are released into the atmosphere. The world will soon have an excellent source of clean energy.
A typical example of energy released from the dihydro-cesium process.
ACME is currently working towards a patent on our process. Our scientists are exploring ways to use the process in cars, houses, airplanes, and almost anything else that needs power. ACME batteries will be refitted with small dihydro-cesium reactors. Once the entire world is powered by ACME‘s generators, we can all relax and enjoy a much easier
Logos is an argument based on logic or reason. The ACME Research page is primarily logo-based because it appeals to the reason of people reading it. It suggests that Cesium will provide the world‘s energy for a very long time. It is clean, safe, and efficient, all of
which are appeals to the logic of the audience. By using such convincing reasons in it‘s argument, ACME hopes to provide the world‘s energy.
AP Language Arts Student Guide-Broken Arrow Public Schools 6
Cesium-Based Reactor Kills!
A baby turtle breaks free from the leathery shell of its egg, catching its first glimpse of its first sunrise. It pauses a moment to rest, unaware of the danger that lies so close to it. As the tide comes in, approaching the nest, it also approaches a small pile of metal – cesium.
The water draws closer and closer, the turtle unsuspecting of the danger. Finally, the water touches the cesium.
The nest is torn to bits in the resulting explosion, destroying even more of an endangered species.
Why does this happen? One name: Acme.
Acme Gizmotronics is supporting a dihydro-cesium reactor, trying, in their anthrocentrism, to squeeze energy out of such destructive explosions. And, they are dumping waste cesium onto the shores of their island, threatening the environment. Studies have shown that the dihydro-cesium reactor will destroy the island‘s ecosphere in
less than four months!
How can they get away with this?
Costa Rica (where the island is near) has lax environmental laws, allowing Acme to do whatever they want – including destroy endangered species.
What can you do about this?
Don’t let them get away with it? Boycott Acme products! And call your representatives, and tell them you support stricter legislation to prevent things like this!
Pathos is an argument based on emotion, playing on sympathy, fears, and desires. The Say ―NO!‖ To Acme! Page is pathos-based because it relies on an emotional response from the people reading it. By stressing the helplessness of the (endangered) turtle, it attempts to sway people to its side, against the ―commercial hordes‖ of Acme
AP Language Arts Student Guide-Broken Arrow Public Schools 7
Levels of Language
Nonstandard English – does NOT conform to accepted grammar and usage rules. Words, expressions, and grammar should not be used in writing except for dialogue in creative writing. This MAY include ethnic and regional dialects.
Dialects – may differ in pronunciation, vocabulary, and grammar.
For example: pronouncing cah for car, describing the meal eaten at noon as either
your stomach. lunch or dinner, or saying you are sick at, of, to, or in
Ethnic dialects are spoken by people with the same cultural heritage; regional
dialects are varieties of language spoken in different parts of the country.
Example: Jess ‗n‘ me, we wuz a huntin‘ possum up on Chicken Ridge long about
lass Thusdie evenin‘ when sumpin‘ fell out you wouldn‘t likely believe lessen you
Standard English- conforms to accepted grammar and usage rules. Words, expressions, and structure are generally known, understood, and considered appropriate by all literate English speaking people. Standard English ranges from formal to informal language.
Formal Language – contains more complex vocabulary and sentence structure,
uses standard punctuation, and does NOT use contractions, slang, jargon, or
idioms. Is solemn and adds dignity to legal documents and ceremonies.
Informal language –uses contractions, simpler sentence structure, and everyday
words and expressions including idioms, slang, and jargon.
Colloquial English – words and expressions generally known and
understood (though not considered appropriate for serious writing) by all
literate persons in the United States. Colloquial English is the spoken
language of educated persons; it is usually informal and casual.
Idiom – a phrase whose real meaning is different from its literal meaning.
Example: it‘s raining cats and dogs.
Slang - includes words or phrases made up by members of a special
group, such as teenagers, musicians, or technicians. Slang has shock
value, marks speaker as part of a group, adds color, is shorter and easier,
and is trendy, but it is usually short-lived, going out of style quickly.
Slang is not appropriate for serious writing. Example: That‘s the bomb.
Jargon – is specialized language used by specialists in a particular
business or profession. (Jargon can also mean obscure language because
of long-winded expressions and unnecessary big words). If a jargon word
appears in an expository essay written for general audience, the word
should be defined immediately. Example: Mary said that she studied
AP Language Arts Student Guide-Broken Arrow Public Schools 8
alliteration (the repetition of initial consonant sounds) to improve the
sound of her poetry.
Errors in the use of Standard English are varied, but they usually consist of the following:
Inflated diction: the words mean more than is needed for the meaning of the sentence.
1. Current estimates concerning the major disadvantage of the large automobile
center upon its continuous consumption of excessive quantities of gasoline.
Improved: Most people believe that a large car use more gas than it should.
Inappropriate diction: the words violate the context established by subject, occasion, and audience.
1. Rachmaninoff‘s Second Piano Concerto, even when performed by Leonard
Pennario, does not get to me at all.
The tone of the sentence does not match the phrase get to me; it is colloquial or slang.
Ineffective diction: the words are clichés, worn out because for common use.
1. She was the apple of his eye, so he put on his best bib and tucker and swept her
off her feet.
The three clichés have been used and heard so often they convey no significant
Improved: She was the most attractive girl he had ever seen, so he dressed elegantly,
took her on a date, and shortly after, married her.
Unidiomatic expression: the words break the patterns set for their use by the conventions of speech. Because grammar does not govern what is idiomatic and what is not, students must become familiar with idioms through listening and reading.
1. John has several complaints on the cafeteria. (about)
2. In accordance to the professor‘s wishes, the class completed the exercise in class.
(in accordance with)
3. Sharon delights to help people. (in helping)
4. In writing, John is superior than his classmates. (superior to)
5. Fred intends on polishing his car. (to polish)
Wrong word (malapropism): the word has a meaning other than the one intended by the writer.
1. American households take adequate water supplies for granite. (granted)
2. If her grades do not improve, she may have to result to studying (resort to)
3. The lecture was praised as exceptionalble. (exceptional)
4. The couple overlooked the property with the realtor. (looked over)
AP Language Arts Student Guide-Broken Arrow Public Schools 9
PUNCTUATING QUOTATIONS CORRECTLY
QUOTATIONS – In general, quotations should correspond exactly with the originals in
wording, spelling, and punctuation. Exceptions to this rule are discussed below.
A. PROSE – Short direct prose quotations should be incorporated into the
text of the paper and enclosed in double quotation marks. But in general,
a prose quotation of two or more sentences which AT THE SAME TIME
runs to four or more typewritten lines should be set off from the text in
single spacing and indented in its entirety four spaces from the left
marginal line, with no quotation marks at the beginning and end.
Exceptions to this rule are when for purposes of emphasis or of
comparison it is desirable to single-space and indent quotations less than
four typewritten lines in length. Paragraph indention in the original text
should be indicated by an eight-space indention form the left marginal line,
as for a paragraph in the text of the paper. Spacing between paragraphs
taken from the same work should be single. But when passages are quoted
from different authors or form different works of the same author, and
they are not separated by intervening original matter, the passages should
be separated by double spaces.
B. POETRY -- Citations of poetry two or more lines in length should be set
off from text in single spacing and centered upon the page. NO quotation
marks should be used at beginning and end except when quoting passage
from different authors or different works of the same author, uninterrupted
by intervening original matter
C. ELLIPSIS – For omissions within a sentence three spaced periods
(spaces before and after as well as between) should be used:
―What we require to be taught…is to be our own teachers.‖
If there is punctuation preceding the ellipsis, the mark is put immediately
next to the work:
―If few care to give the name of mystical to the thought of what is beyond
all experience,…it is not worth while objecting to the expression.‖
If a new sentence follows an ellipsis, a sentence period should precede the
ellipsis whether it was in the original or not:
―our only test…is what is actually desired…He has attempted to establish
the identity of the good with the desired.‖
The omission of a complete paragraph (or more) in a prose
quotation, or a line (or more) in a verse quotation, should be indicated by a
single line of spaced periods:
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