How to Write a Rhetorical Analysis in AP Lang

How to Write a Rhetorical Analysis in AP Lang

Interested in knowing how to write a rhetorical analysis in AP Lang? The first thing you need to understand is what a rhetorical analysis is. This is an essay in which the writer makes the attempt to change his/her audiences’ minds. Any effective rhetorical analysis is supposed to demonstrate full understanding of interplay of rhetorical triangle which includes:

  • Purpose-You must understand clearly what the speaker/author wants
  • Audience-You must understand who the target audience is
  • Strategy-Effective strategies would include knowing the purpose and the audience

What AP Lang rhetorical analysis entails

In the case of an AP Lang rhetorical analysis, you will be presented with complete argument from an author that is published. The author has an objective or purpose, a target audience and strategies they believe are effective and which they have used.

Your work will be to demonstrate how they understand the rhetorical process. In order to successfully write this kind of essay, there are two important things you need to bear in mind:

  1. The thesis of the analysis should be on the arguments made by the author and rhetorical strategies. For instance saying “this speaker uses irony” is not a complete thesis. Saying “This speaker has used irony to prove that society has different standards for men and women” is a complete thesis.
  2. While writing this analysis, you should not make the attempt of analyzing all rhetorical strategies employed in the work. Just one or two will be enough.

The sample analysis essay on Hamlet found at is an ideal example of how to write a rhetorical analysis in AP Lang. It is through reading samples such as these and more that it is possible for you to sharpen your writing skills.

Tips on how to write a rhetorical analysis in AP Lang

While the prompt of the analysis might appear to ask you name all rhetorical strategies used, do not do that. In any passage, the author employs different rhetorical strategies. There are those that work together while others work independently to showcase different aspects of an argument.

While writing a rhetorical analysis in AP Lang it is important for you not to attempt to account for all strategies used by the author as it makes it impossible write cohesively. Rather, you are supposed to focus on either one or two of these strategies that are prevalent and important to the author’s argument. The goal in this case is writing an essay that is strong.

Things you need to know

In order to write an impressive rhetorical analysis in AP Lang, there are a couple of things you must know and they include:

  • Rhetorical strategies
  1. Appeals which include logos, ethos and pathos
  2. Style which includes imagery, details, tone, diction and syntax etc.
  • Highlight the reasons that made the author choose the strategies they have used for a given occasion, audience and/or purpose.
  1. This is the part where you are supposed to make the analysis. If you do not do this, you will simply be summarizing the author’s text
  2. There are a couple of questions you need to think of and they include:
  1. How rhetorical strategies assist the author in achieving his/her purpose
  2. Why the author has chosen to employ those strategies for a given audience and for that specific occasion

After identifying the information stated above, you can begin the process of combining your ideas and thoughts in a format that will prove you analyzed the text accurately. You can as well review the sample essay “Digital Demands: The Challenges of Constant Connectivity” to get a clearer feel of how to go about the process of writing an analysis in AP Lang.

Begin writing the rhetorical analysis


For you to know how to write a rhetorical analysis in AP Lang, master the art of writing a great introduction by following the format below:

  1. State the name of the writer, the occasion and the subject
  2. Indicate the purpose of the essay and what the writer wants to achieve
  3. Indicate the target audience of the writer and the kind of tone they have used in capturing the attention of readers.

Body of the analysis

This part is where you are supposed to make the analysis. In this case, ensure you include detailed explanations of strategies the writer has used. While writing this part, make sure you work through the author’s text in a chronological manner.

Simply put, this means beginning where the text starts then working through the rest by discussing what the author is saying as well as effectiveness of strategies they have used at the start, the middle and end of their work.

There are instances when this means each paragraph must be discussed separately and other times, it might mean dividing the text in sections. Each analysis paragraph you work on must:

  • Identify the section of text been analyzed through use of strong verbs and transition words for purposes of explaining what the author is saying.
  • Identify rhetorical strategies that are strongest in any section. This will include the incorporation of definite text examples by use of your own words. Always remember not to attempt discussing every strategy employed by the author. What you need to do is choose the strongest strategies.
  • Specifically and clearly explain how rhetorical strategies used by the author have helped them in achieving their goal and reaching the target audience.

What are some of the rhetorical strategies?

In order to write a good rhetorical analysis in AP Lang, it is important to know some rhetorical strategies. Rhetorical strategy refers to anything that is done by a writer that has potential to change the feelings or thoughts of his target audience. Some of these include:

  • Figurative language (for instance, similes, metaphors). These are of great use since they assist the audience in visualizing the ideas of the author better.
  • Analogies or comparisons
  • Emotional appeals (refers to how the writer has targeted the emotions of the audience).
  • Logical appeals (refers to how the writer has targeted the intelligence of the audience)
  • Establish the credibility of the author (how they have managed to get their target audience to believe or trust what they are saying).
  • Use repetition ( when something is repeated often, people have the tendency to believe it. Repetition as well helps with memory recall
  • Diction-Use of words that are emotionally charged effectively. The author can also use word patterns to establish a message or a theme.
  • Standout sentences (refers to sentences with the ability of grabbing the attention of the reader)
  • Tone (take into consideration how effective sarcasm is)
  • Contrast (in some instances, the author showcases his position better through contrasting it to another view that is weaker)

Conclusion of the analysis

To conclude your paper, you should analyze the author’s last, rhetorical appeal. Keep in mind the ending is often the last persuasive thrust, where the argument finally comes together. You are therefore supposed to analyze the manner in which the argument has been concluded. What are some of the things or aspects that the author leaves the audience with? There are three important things that you must include in your conclusion and these include:

  • A restatement of your thesis
  • An explanation with broader strokes on why the paper is effective
  • Speculate or state any future response from the audience

You should always keep the conclusion short by simply reminding your readers of things you said in your introduction. If you need to review more rhetorical analysis essay in AP Lang, visit the site With these samples, it should be easy for you to get a clearer idea of what is required to deliver one that is of premium quality.

The most important thing to remember as you write your analysis is the fact it needs persuasiveness and coherence. As such, you should not simply jump into the writing process. Always begin by analyzing the text from one paragraph to the next and from line to line. It is by building a clear argument that has compelling evidence that you will be able to get a high score in your AP Lang rhetorical analysis essay.

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