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English writing: Rhetorical Analysis

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Rhetorical Analysis

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Lunsford, A.A. “The Everyday Writer”

The golden rule of language use might be “Speak to others the way they want them to speak to you.” The word we select have power, they can praise, delight, inspire—and also hurt, offend, or even destory. Words that offend prevent others from identifying with you and thus damage youre credibility. Few absolute guideline exist for using words that respect differences and build common ground. Two rules, however can help: consider carefully the sensitivities and preferences of others, and watch for words that betry your assumptions, even when you have directly stated them.


The author expands the paragraph logically with the theme of explaining the significance of picking up proper words. To start with,  he uses a metaphor “golden rule of language use”, which represents a universal guideline of language use. And then, he puts emphsis on the importance of identifying potential audiences and suggests it is best to express in a audience favored way. There is a vivid personification: words have power.  Words are regarded as a person and some strong emotional description are used to elaborate the magic power, such as praise, delight, inspire, hurt, offend and destory. By that, we are immersed in the same mood as these words try to describe, becoming proud, happy, encouraged, sad and even rathy. Audiences are able to experience the art of language under the influence of  vital words. And then the author adduces a counter-example, stating the terrible effect of words misuse. Although the last sentence but one reaffirms the absency of “one size fits all” formula, the author ends the paragraph by giving two detailed suggestions. They are considering audiences’ preference and avoiding improper words .

Birnbaum and Witte

“Seeking to prevent a further crackup of their 28-nation bloc, nervous heads of government are trying to discourage other countries from following Britain’s example, telling London that it cannot preserve access to the world’s largest consumer market if it does not also accept the exact obligation that British voters seemed to reject: open borders. Some leading British exit campaigners already appeared to rein in ambitions for the split” ”  (Birnbaum and Witte, 2016)

In the previous paragraph, authors select a symbolic word “crackup” to illustrate the dramatic change British exit brings. And it delivers worldwide people’s mixed emotions and suggests there are more information about the complex situation in Europe under the surface. It is such a vivid and informative word that paints an image enables the audience to understand further severe consequence of the exit. Also, the use of the adjective “nervous” shows the heads of government’s inner anxiety and unsureness and their expectation of a united Europe. Coping with such a big event toutures them and weakens their confidenct of the future.  Clearly, They hold a negative attitude to the likely outcome of the British exit. The authors developed their argument logically by further expaining reasons specificly for politicians hold such opinion. They employ a conditional sentence, “London cannot preserve access to world largest consumers market if it does not accept to the specific obligation that British voters rejected,” to point out the massive loss the United Kingdom will suffer after their exit. It clarifies various benefits the European Union brings, such as world’s largest consumer market and also reinforced the confidence of other current European members. The last sentence is a result of the prvious statement that some leading British exit campaigners are persuaded.


The authors also in this case also have some good sentence structures, for instance, in this paragraph, there are only two sentences which are clear, straightforward and precise for readers. Also in this subsection they show excellent application in terms of selection of words, for instance in the following sentence,“Some leading British exit campaigners already appeared to rein in ambitions for the split” they have chosen the word “rein” to show the attitude of the chief campaigners. The leads are still holding on to their stands  but are not as radical and extreme as before.


The styles of both paragraphs are formal, while the first one tends to an objective statement or explanation and the second one provides more subjective and emotional opnions and commentaries. The audiences of these two articles are totally different, as the first attracts academic learners’ attention but the second is popular among political enthusiasts. Although distinctions exist, both ariticles demonstrates outstanding skills of language application involving word selection, sentence structure and logic order. Especilly some carefully picked adjectives and nouns are powerful, informative and suggestive, which not only describle things more accurately, vividly but also determine the author’s emotional tone.


Birnbaum, M., & Witte, G. (2016). E.U. leaders toughen line over British “divorce”. The Washington Post

Lunsford, A. (2008). The Everyday Writer.

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