Rhetorical modes  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Rhetorical modes (also known as modes of discourse) describe the variety, conventions, and purposes of the major kinds of writing. Four of the most common rhetorical modes and their purpose are exposition, argumentation, description, and narration.

Contents

Exposition

The purpose of exposition (or expository writing) is to explain and analyze information by presenting an idea, relevant evidence, and appropriate discussion. Examples include:

Argumentation

The purpose of argumentation (also called persuasive writing) is to prove the validity of an idea, or point of view, by presenting sound reasoning, discussion, and argument that thoroughly convince the reader. Persuasive writing is a type of argumentation with the additional aim to urge the reader to take some form of action. Examples include:

Description

The purpose of description is to re-create, invent, or visually present a person, place, event, or action so that the reader can picture that which is being described. Descriptive writing can be found in the other rhetorical modes. Examples include:

Narration

The purpose of narration is to tell a story or narrate an event or series of events. This writing mode frequently uses the tools of descriptive writing. Narration is an especially useful tool for sequencing or putting details and information into some kind of logical order, usually chronological. Working with narration helps us see clear sequences separate from all other mental functions. Examples include:

Fiction-writing modes

Each fiction-writing mode has its own purposes and conventions. Agent and author Evan Marshall identifies five fiction-writing modes: action, summary, dialogue, feelings/thoughts, and background. Author and writing-instructor Jessica Page Morrell lists six delivery modes for fiction-writing: action, exposition, description, dialogue, summary, and transition. Author Peter Selgin refers to methods, including action, dialogue, thoughts, summary, scene, and description. Currently, there is no consensus within the writing community regarding the number and composition of fiction-writing modes and their uses.

See also





Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Rhetorical modes" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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