Rhetorical Functions in Academic Writing: Mastering the Art of Taking a Stance

Rhetorical Functions in Academic Writing: Mastering the Art of Taking a Stance

When it comes to academic writing, mastering the art of taking a stance is of utmost importance. Rhetorical functions play a crucial role in expressing the writer’s point of view and showing the reader what the essay is all about. In this chapter, we will explore the worth and significance of taking a stance, and how it can be effectively done in academic writing.

Academic writing is mostly about presenting arguments and supporting them with thorough research and evidence. By taking a stance, the writer explicitly states their position on a particular topic, indicating their confidence and suggesting the strength of their claim. This is done through the use of rhetorical functions, such as explicit and implicit statements, tone and overall structure of the essay.

One of the key functions of taking a stance is to guide the reader towards the writer’s point of view. By stating your position on a topic, you are allowing the reader to understand your perspective and follow the arguments you present. It also helps in creating a coherent flow of ideas, as each paragraph and section of the essay follows a logical progression of thoughts.

Writers can employ various rhetorical functions to effectively take a stance. For example, using explicit language and strong words can indicate the writer’s confidence in their argument. Supporting the stated position with examples and evidence further strengthens the overall argument and convinces the reader to accept the writer’s viewpoint. On the other hand, using implicit language and indicating the significance of the topic can engage the reader and create a sense of curiosity and interest.

Showing Confidence

  • Using strong and assertive language: Make sure to use words that indicate certainty and conviction in your claims, such as “prove,” “demonstrate,” “strongly believe,” “clearly,” “undoubtedly,” etc. This helps to convey your confidence in the stated arguments or claims.
  • Providing thorough evidence and examples: To demonstrate confidence, make sure to back up your claims with solid evidence and examples. Thoroughly research your topic and include relevant studies, statistics, or other credible sources to support your points.
  • Being explicit about your stance: State your position clearly and explicitly in your writing. Avoid using ambiguous language that may weaken your arguments or confuse the reader. Instead, clearly express your opinion and the reasons behind it.
  • Taking a strong tone: The tone of your writing should also reflect your confidence. Avoid using hesitant or tentative language. Instead, use a tone that conveys your authority and expertise on the topic.
  • Indicating your confidence towards the reader: Show that you believe your arguments and evidence should be convincing to the reader. Use words like “clearly,” “undoubtedly,” or “it is worth noting.” This helps to convey your confidence in the effectiveness of your writing.
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Overall, by expressing confidence in your writing, you can effectively communicate your ideas and persuade your readers to accept your perspective. The examples and suggestions mentioned above can serve as a guide in demonstrating confidence in your academic writing.

Indicating the strength of your claim

Explicitly indicating the strength

  • Use strong and assertive language: One way to explicitly indicate the strength of your claim is to use words that convey confidence and conviction. For example, instead of saying “I think,” you can use phrases like “I am confident” or “I strongly believe.” This conveys a greater sense of certainty and authority.
  • Provide thorough evidence: Another way to strengthen your claim is to provide thorough evidence and examples to support it. This can be done by referencing studies, statistics, or other scholarly sources that back up your argument. By doing so, you are showing that you have done your research and are able to provide a solid basis for your claim.

Implicitly indicating the strength

  • Show confidence through tone: Your tone as a writer can also indicate the strength of your claim. Be confident in your writing and avoid using uncertain or hesitant language. Express your ideas with conviction and authority.
  • Use rhetorical devices: Rhetorical devices such as repetition, parallelism, and vivid imagery can also help to implicitly indicate the strength of your claim. These devices can add emphasis and power to your arguments, making them more persuasive.
  • Consider the overall relationships and connections: When structuring your essay, think about the overall relationships and connections between your arguments. Presenting your claims in a logical and coherent manner can suggest that you have thoroughly considered the topic and have a strong stance.

By indicating the strength of your claim, you are not only guiding the reader towards accepting your viewpoint, but also demonstrating your proficiency in academic writing. Remember to check your writing for any weak or vague statements, and always strive to express your ideas with confidence and clarity.

Expressing Your Voice

One way to express your voice is by explicitly stating your position or claim. For example, in the paragraph below, the writer clearly indicates their stance:

“The past studies have shown that there is a strong correlation between smoking and lung cancer in the population. Therefore, it is essential for individuals to avoid smoking in order to reduce the risk of developing this deadly disease.”

In the example above, the writer clearly expresses their belief that smoking is strongly associated with lung cancer. By stating this claim explicitly, the writer asserts their position and shows confidence in their argument.

Another way to express your voice is through the use of rhetorical functions. Rhetorical functions are tools that writers use to influence and persuade their readers. For example, writers can use rhetorical questions, such as the one below, to provoke thought:

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“What if we consider the impact of climate change on future generations? Is it worth risking the well-being of our planet for short-term economic gain?”

By posing these questions, the writer encourages the reader to think critically about the issue at hand and consider alternative perspectives.

Furthermore, writers can express their voice by illustrating their points with thorough examples and evidence. For instance:

“Studies have shown that patients who receive regular check-ups and follow their prescribed treatment have better health outcomes compared to those who neglect their medical care. For example, a recent study conducted at Oasis Hospital found that patients who visited their doctors regularly had lower rates of hospitalization and higher overall life satisfaction.”

In the example above, the writer supports their claim by referencing a specific study and providing evidence from it. By using concrete examples, the writer enhances the credibility of their argument and further establishes their expertise on the topic.

Lastly, expressing your voice in academic writing can also involve the use of implicit language and tone. Implicit language refers to the use of words or phrases that subtly convey a particular meaning. For example, instead of stating a claim directly, the writer may use words that suggest their opinion:

“While some may argue that the research findings are inconclusive, it is evident that further investigation is warranted to fully understand the complex relationships between diet and obesity.”

In this example, the writer indicates their disagreement with the viewpoint that the research findings are inconclusive, without explicitly stating it. By doing so, the writer subtly communicates their position to the reader.

Overall, expressing your voice in academic writing is about being confident in your ideas, presenting your arguments effectively, and using rhetorical functions to engage and persuade your readers. By taking a clear stance, providing thorough examples, and using implicit language when appropriate, you can convey your thoughts and opinions in a compelling and convincing manner.

Being explicit about relationships

One way to be explicit about relationships is by indicating the strength of the relationship between two or more points or arguments. For example, the writer can use words such as “strongly,” “significantly,” or “directly” to show the level of confidence in the relationship. This can be done within the same paragraph or throughout the essay.

Another way to be explicit about relationships is by providing examples or evidence that supports a claim or stance. The writer can use examples from past studies, population studies, or even personal experiences to support their arguments. By doing so, the writer is not only expressing their point of view but also providing concrete evidence that the reader can check and accept.

Furthermore, being explicit about relationships means indicating the logical flow of the essay. The writer should make it clear to the reader how one point follows another, how they are connected, and how they contribute to the overall understanding of the topic. This can be done through the use of transitional words or phrases, such as “therefore,” “consequently,” or “as a result.”

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In addition, being explicit about relationships also involves being thorough and thorough in explaining the reasons behind each point or argument. The writer should not assume that the reader will automatically understand the connections between different points. Instead, the writer should provide a detailed explanation, supporting evidence, and logical reasoning to ensure a clear understanding of the relationships.

Explicitly stating relationships:Implied or implicit relationships:
Using transitional wordsAssuming the reader will infer the connections
Providing examples and evidenceLeaving it up to the reader to find evidence
Indicating the strength of relationshipsLeaving it open to interpretation
Explaining reasoning and logicLeaving the logic of the argument unclear

Taking a Stance

Taking a stance is about being confident in what you believe and expressing it in a clear and convincing manner. It is not enough to simply state your opinion; you need to back up your stance with evidence and logical reasoning.

When taking a stance, writers should check their rhetorical tone. It is important to strike a balance between expressing your point of view and maintaining a respectful and professional tone. Being overly aggressive or dismissive towards opposing viewpoints can weaken your argument and alienate readers.

There are two main ways in which writers can take a stance in their writing: explicitly and implicitly. Explicitly taking a stance involves stating your position clearly and directly. For example, you might say, “I argue that increasing the minimum wage will benefit the overall population.” This makes it clear to the reader where you stand on the issue.

When taking a stance in academic writing, it is worth noting that you should not only focus on the strengths of your argument but also consider the weaknesses. This shows that you have thoroughly considered the topic and are able to critically analyze different perspectives. Furthermore, acknowledging opposing viewpoints and countering them with logical arguments can strengthen your stance.


What is the writer’s stance in academic writing?

The writer’s stance in academic writing refers to their position or opinion on a particular topic. It is important for academic writers to make their stance clear and provide evidence to support it.

How can the writer indicate the strength of their claim in academic writing?

The writer can indicate the strength of their claim in academic writing by using strong and confident language. They can also provide supporting evidence, examples, and logical reasoning to back up their claim.

Why is it important to be explicit about relationships in academic writing?

Being explicit about relationships in academic writing helps to clarify the connections between ideas and arguments. It ensures that the reader can follow the writer’s thought process and understand how different concepts are related.

What is the significance of taking a stance on a topic in academic writing?

Taking a stance on a topic in academic writing allows the writer to contribute to the existing body of knowledge and engage in a scholarly conversation. It shows that the writer has thought critically about the topic and is willing to express their own viewpoint.

How does the use of language and tone affect the writer’s stance in academic writing?

The use of language and tone in academic writing can impact the reader’s perception of the writer’s stance. Using confident and assertive language can convey a strong stance, while tentative language may weaken the writer’s position. It is important for the writer to choose their words and tone carefully to effectively express their stance.

Alex Koliada, PhD

By Alex Koliada, PhD

Alex Koliada, PhD, is a well-known doctor. He is famous for studying aging, genetics, and other medical conditions. He works at the Institute of Food Biotechnology and Genomics. His scientific research has been published in the most reputable international magazines. Alex holds a BA in English and Comparative Literature from the University of Southern California, and a TEFL certification from The Boston Language Institute.