The arranging of words to project an idea, be it truth, opinion or deceit.

Rhetoric as the Final Step


Although rhetoric is something more commonly used by public speakers or important figures such as politicians, motivational speakers, and entrepreneurs, it is something that we often use in our daily lives, consciously or otherwise. This art can prove to be of great service to us in pitching a sale to a new client, in applying for a job, in brainstorming with our business partners, or perhaps even in debating with our wife or mother about major decisions concerning the family.


Classical Rhetoric answers to the general question of how relative to the subject of the statement. In simple terms, it is the art of learning how to disclose or deliver veridical information. A writer, for instance, can dramatically improve his or her ability to convey a message and, more importantly, persuade the reader of a specific subject, all using rhetoric. The persuasive powers of this art have five cannons that can be traced back to classical Rome: invention, wherein arguments are discovered and the effective argument is formed; arrangement, wherein the arguments are set in a certain order to achieve a certain goal; style or eloquent speaking; memory, which is connected to invention and refers to memorizing the speech in a way that can create moments that are unforgettable; and the actual delivery of the content, which includes hard emphasis on certain words or ideas as well as dramatic pauses to drive a point home.


Following Grammar and Logic, Rhetoric is the last of the three interrelated disciplines studied in the Trivium, the lower division of the liberal arts in the medieval university. The Trivium serves as the stepping stone to the Quadrivium, the higher division of the liberal arts that focuses on Arithmetic, Geometry, Music, and Astronomy.


Prior to tackling Rhetoric, Grammar is taught primarily. It basically shows students how a language works. It teaches them about the various mechanisms of a language, through which students can learn to describe what their five physical senses have perceived. Once a group of veridical data has been collected, it is then organized into sentences that make sense to a reader.


After Grammar, Logic is the second step in the Trivium. With Logic, a student develops his or her ability to use reason in validating or rejecting pieces of information initially organized through the specific rules of Grammar. The person considers the veracity of the facts, first by making sense of or understanding a statement, and second by analyzing whether that statement reflects the truth or not. After fulfilling the previous two steps, a person can move on to explore the methods he or she might use to express the logically accepted conclusions to create a fully veridical statement or statement of protocols. This is when the student can apply his or her knowledge or understanding of the subject of rhetoric.


Whenever you want to pass on or share certain information, make sure to go through the three-fold process of the Trivium: grammar, logic, and rhetoric — for successful delivery and persuasion.