1 Daisho

Ethos Logos Pathos Essay Topics

Denotation refers to the dictionary definition of a word. Connotation on the other hand refers to words that carry secondary meanings, undertones, and implications. For example, if you were to ask a woman how she'd like to be described from the following list of words, what do you think her answer would be?

Slender................................Thin................................Scrawny

The answer to this is most likely the word slender. While all the words carry the same denotation (they all mean lean, and not fat), the word slender carries more positive undertones. A slender woman is graceful, elegant, and perhaps even sexy. Thin on the other hand is a fairly neutral word, and it leads women to prefer the word "slender" as it carries the more positive connotation. Finally, the word scrawny brings an unhealthy, overly thin, or bony person to mind, and women generally do not want to be described in this manner. Over time, words shift in their connotative meanings, and writers should be up-to-date on the current connotations of a word.

The BEST way to incorporate pathos (or emotional) appeals is by using words that carry appropriate connotations. Think back to the sample piece for the claims about fact/definition titled "A Case of Severe Bias"; the following is part of the first statement of that piece:

"I am not a crack addict. I am not a welfare mother. I am not illiterate..."

The words crack addict, welfare mother, and illiterate carry strong connotations. It makes the above statement (while already logical) more powerful. Imagine if the writer used words that carried weaker connotations:

"I am not a person who abuses substances. I am not a parent who needs government assistance. I can read."

Notice how the emotional appeal is weakened. Even though the logical appeal is present, the statement no longer carries the same strength.

  1. Should/ Shouldn’t talking on the cell phone without the use of a handsfree device be illegal?
  2. Should/ Shouldn’t sports betting or gambling be legal?
  3. Should/ Shouldn’t there be an internet censor imposed by the government.
  4. Should/ Shouldn’t teachers have a dress code or uniform?
  5. Should/ Shouldn’t companies have affirmative action?
  6. Is or isn’t it right to teach sex education in public schools?
  7. Should/ Shouldn’t abortion be legal?
  8. Should/ Shouldn’t politicians be able to accept money from lobbyists?
  9.  Legalization/ Prohibition of Marijuana.
  10. Should Puerto Rico be incorporated into the U.S as a state?
  11. Should euthanasia be legal?
  12. Why should we protect the environment?
  13. Should prostitution be legal/ why should prostitution stay illegal?
  14. Should more forms of renewable energy be used?
  15. Should genetically modified foods be labeled/illegal?
  16. Should there be a subsidy/program for free wi-fi, why would it benefit the cost?
  17. Do immigration laws need to be reformed?
  18. Is the penalty for downloading illegal content to excessive?
  19. Should teenage girls have to obtain parental consent for birth control?
  20. Should selling sugary snacks and drinks be banned at elementary/middle/high-schools?
  21. Should state colleges be tuition free/completely state funded?
  22. Are uniforms necessary for students?
  23. Should elderly people be forced to renew their drivers licenses?
  24. What should be done about Darfur?
  25. Is cloning an ethical practice, even for organs?
  26. Is giving an allowance an effective way to teach financial responsibility or should it be only given as a reward?
  27. Why should someone do community service (specific organization)?
  28. Is the amount of television watched by Americans too much, persuade why or why not?
  29. Should students be forced to do volunteer work?
  30. Are searching schools using drug dogs randomly an effective way to prevent drug use?
  31. Should we reform our food system (factory farms & harmful chemicals)?
  32. Why someone should quit smoking or why is a certain substance harmful.
  33. Prohibition/ Protection of the consumption of alchol.
  34. Are interactions over the computer and electronics making people less social?
  35. Should fathers have a “paternity” leave?
  36. Should there be some sort of measure of population control ie limiting number of children?
  37. How is television influencing peoples minds?
  38. Should more funding be given to public education?
  39. Should more funding be given to public transportation?
  40. Should funding be taken away from public transportation?
  41. Write an essay calling people to action to save the environment.
  42. Is the Euro a good idea?
  43. Write an essay persuading readers to diet better/exercise more.
  44. Is a speed limit for highways necessary?
  45. Is the internet a basic human right?
  46. Should foreign aid be reduced to decrease the budget deficit?
  47. Should private property owners be forced to limit smoking indoors?
  48. Should school cafeterias be healthier?
  49. Is the American dream still attainable?
  50. Do we need more/less social welfare?
  51. Are music lyrics promoting violence and selling drugs?
  52. Are online classes an effective method of teaching?
  53. Does the media control our elections?
  54. Try to convince someone to be a vegetarian?
  55. Should stricter fuel emission standards be imposed?
  56. Why or why not is learning history important?
  57. Write an essay defending/criticizing progressive tax rates?
  58. Should the rich be taxed more?
  59. Should  there be regulations on junk food?
  60. Write an essay about a cause you are passionate about.
  61. Is polygamy acceptable?
  62. Are we too focused on beauty?
  63. Does the media influence our idea of beauty?
  64. Why is it important to know foreign languages?
  65. Write an essay criticizing/defending the patriot act/
  66. Should the execute branch hold more power?
  67. Write an essay about a law that should be changed.
  68. How can something in your community be improved?
  69. Call people to action to vote for a particular political candidate.
  70. How could our legal system be improved?
  71. Should the government censor obscene content?
  72. At a certain age, should people be required to take a driving test every year or two years?
  73. More people should grow their own food.
  74. Is America’s fascination with celebrities unhealthy?
  75. Is conscription ethical for wars fought outside the country?

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