When a speaker uses pathos, she speaks to the audience’s emotions, aiming to awaken either positive or negative feelings. In contrast to logos, which represents a rational way of reaching the audience, pathos has the power to create passion among the listeners. Pathos is a highly effective mode of persuasion because our emotions often have a stronger influence on our actions than our reason.

Pathos tends to be easy to spot in a speech, because it is often signaled by dramatic and emotional choice of words.

Donald Trump is an example of a politician who regularly employs pathos, and he often uses it to appeal to negative emotions in his audience:

When Mexico sends its people, they're not sending their best. […] They're bringing drugs. They're bringing crime. They're rapists.[1]

Here, Trump appeals to the audience’s fear a...

The text shown above is just an extract. Only members can read the full content.

Get access to the full Study Guide.

As a member of, you get access to all of the content.

Sign up now

Already a member? Log in