Glossary

Abstract
Found at the beginning of academic articles and books, gives a brief summary of what's contained inside.
Assumptions
An assumption is a value or belief that connects the claim and the reasons given to support that claim. Sometimes these are unspoken and subtle, other times we need to be explicit about them and perhaps even persuade our audience to accept the assumptions that underlie our argument.
Audience
The audience is the group of people to whom you intend to address your message. The better you know them and their values, the more effectively you can make choices in your writing to persuade or inform them.
Character
The character of a speaker or writer describes how that author is perceived by an audience.
Claim
A claim is an assertion you make, something you propose to be true. We use reasons (or evidence) to support our claims and convince or persuade others to change their views or feelings to match what we assert in our claim.
Discourse Community
A group with shared knowledge, values, characteristics, genres, languages, and/or style.
General AudiencesWriting for General Audiences
People who are not members of your field and who have general knowledge about topics but not specific knowledge, also known as public audiences.
JargonWriting for General Audiences
Specialized language that is used by a specific group of people but is not understood by the general public.
Message
The message is, quite simply, what you have to say to other people through your writing or speaking. It's connected to our discussions about argument: The message often contains a claim support by reasons (and underpinned by important assumptions).
Public AudiencesWriting for General Audiences
People who are not members of your field and who have general knowledge about topics but not specific knowledge, also known as general audiences.
Purpose
Purpose is the driving reason why we're writing. It's what we hope to accomplish by writing to this audience.
Reasons
This is a broad term that we might use to suggest all kinds of support for a claim, from scientific evidence to personal experience to appeals to emotions and shared values.
Rhetoric
At its most basic level, rhetoric is the study of how we communicate effectively with people. It encompasses a study of the tools we might use as well as the way the context of our communication may impact the way we use those tools.
Rhetorical Situation
We use the term rhetorical situation to describe the context in which you engage an audience through writing or speaking. It can refer specifically to characteristics of the audience and your relationship to them as well as your purpose in communicating with them. We analyze a rhetorical situation in order to guide our decision-making as we compose a written or spoken message.
Style
Style in writing is the manner in which we communicate. It involves how we structure sentences, which words we choose, and other sentence-level choices that support the content of our message.
Writer
The writer is you--the person composing the message. But don't be complacent and think you don't need to think critically about who you are as a writer. We should consider our own emotions, our biases and preferences, and our relationship with the audience when we consider our role as writers.