What’s Within a Review: It’s More Than Just an Opinion

The Belmont Country Club is known for being one of the nicest Country Clubs in all of Northern Virginia. The club offers an extravagant golfing experience along with top-notch fitness centers and restaurants, tennis, and a Kid’s Corner. The Belmont Country Club also host various events such as weddings, meetings, private events, and testimonials. This is great and all, but it’s all just talk at the moment. I want to know wflashFinalhy exactly Belmont Country Club is such a desirable place to hold one’s wedding, one of the most important and greatest days of their lives. How are they able to convince so many people that this is where they should have their “Big Day”? In order to do so, I analyzed one of the many five star reviews left for Belmont Country Club upon WeddingWire.com  . The review is by Sue H and it describes her experience with her son’s wedding at Belmont Country Club.

After initially reading the first few sentences of Sue H.’s review I could immediately distinguish a strong appeal to the audience’s emotions and imagination. In rhetoric this is known as Pathos. Sue H appeals to the audience’s imagination by telling wedding-1a story and using descriptive adjectives. “The wedding ceremony was held outside in front of the historic Manor House, and the cocktail hour then moved inside the house. It was so charming being in all the different rooms. Afterwards we moved to the modern part of the venue, the newly renovated ballroom.” Sue writes. By recalling her own personal experience with the venue, readers are going to want the same result and are going to more inclined to book the Belmont Country Club. She also uses words like “historic” and “newly renovated” to help make the club more enticing. Another example of this can be seen when she talks about the cost of the Belmont. Cost is a huge part in someone’s decision of where and how to host their wedding, so by saying that cost is “very reasonable” appeals strongly to readers.

This review is also strongly persuasive due to the use of ethos. Ethos is the source’s credibility. Ethos is especially strong in reviews because they are firsthand accounts of what happened or what kind of experience the writer had with the subject matter. In Sue’s case, she was actually the mother of the groom and helped plan a lot of the wedding. It’s because of this that readers will tend to buy into what the writer is saying because they believe that that person is a reliable source of information and are willing to trust them. A good example of Ethos can be seen in one of our class readings. If you take a look at the article written by Susan C. Herring titled “Communication Styles Make a Difference” you can see right off the bat that she establishes herself as a credible source by stating that she has been researching gender dynamics in Internet communication for 20 years.

There isn’t very much Logos within this writing. The review lacks a lot of factual or logistical reasoning. A few examples of this include when she talks about how there is plenty of food selections to choose from, maybe she could have named a few of the dinner options. Another example is when talking about the price. She says that the price is very reasonable but what exactly does that mean? The term “very reasonable” varies from person to person. She could have listed an exact price. Although it’s understandable leaving the price out of a review, it’s worth pointing out. The proper way to include Logos within an article can be seen in The New Digital Divide. Here, the author includes many facts and statistics such as “4 out of every 10 households with annual household incomes below $25,000 in 2010 reported having wired Internet access at home, compared with the vast majority — 93 percent — of households with incomes exceeding $100,000.”

Another persuasive technique that could be pointed out is the audience. The reason that the audience is important is because if you know who you’re writing to, it’s easy to tailor your writing to the mindset of the reader. In this example, the only people that are going to be reading Sue’s review are people that are looking for places to book their weddings. All Sue has to do in this case is talk about all the positive things that Belmont Country Club has to offer in regards to weddings. In this scenario, there is a connection between the writer and the reader because the writer of the review was once probably a reader.

Another simple yet effective way that the writer persuades someone to use the Belmont Country Club for their wedding is with her style. She uses words that are very pleasant to the ear such as “perfect”, “charming”, and “professional”. This style of descriptive writing is apparent all throughout the review. A different way to view the style of writing can be seen from a word cloud generator. A word cloud generator takes the text from an article and rearrange it into a shape with big, bold text. The one for this review looks like this.

So what is the point of all this? What

word cloud does all this Ethos, Pathos, and Logos non-sense really mean? Well it means that whether or not you know it, when you read an article you are trying to be persuaded. Persuasion can come in a variety of including, Kairos, Feminism, Psychoanalysis, Topoi, and much more. The next time you read an article, I challenge you to look beyond the text on the paper. Think about why the text is written how it is and how it could be trying to persuade you.


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