The Message in Cogency
This chapter is concerned with the dynamic of logos--the word or message. Chapter 15 pointed out how the source is, itself, a means of persuasion; that is, aside from what is being said it makes a difference who is saying it and how that person is presented. Nevertheless, the main burden of cogency rests with the message--what is said, how it is said, and how the elements of the message are arranged. This chapter is concerned with what to include in a message and how to arrange the elements.
It would be beyond the scope and purpose of this book to give instructions on effective writing. There are numerous handbooks available for this purpose. Although it would be instructive to analyze the persuasive effects of language factors such as writing style, humor, grammar, semantics, and the like, we shall limit our discussion to various ways of structuring a message and the effect of those structures on cogency. We shall assume that the message is reasonable well written and, at least on the surface, understood by the receiver. Even so, the writer has some choices in how to arrange and present the material for the greatest impact.
Let us assume that two authors write essentially the same article. In both cases, their facts and evidence are sound; they both are capable of writing clear, correct English; they write with similar styles. However, one author chooses to put his
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Publication information: Book title: Cogent Communication:Overcoming Reading Overload. Contributors: Charles L. Bernier - Author, A. Neil Yerkey - Author. Publisher: Greenwood Press. Place of publication: Westport, CT. Publication year: 1979. Page number: 180.
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