The Elements of Rhetoric

How to Write and Speak Clearly & Persuasively

Ryan N.S. Topping

The Elements of Rhetoric offers a concise, comprehensive course in the rules for making your point stick. With copious examples from such masters of language as Cicero, Augustine, Shakespeare, Erasmus, Lincoln, Dickens, Newman, Chesterton, and Lewis, you will discover the 26 rules of persuasion and learn to apply them. Among the Elements you’ll find:

  • The three modes of persuasion
  • How to structure an academic essay
  • How to spot and avoid logical fallacies
  • How to compose with literary figures
  • Practical tips for improving speed in composition
  • A Study Guide with exercises

This is the essential guide to persuasive writing and speaking, in the tradition of Strunk and White’s The Elements of Style.

Praise for The Elements of Rhetoric

“Leading by example, Topping delivers a handy guide for all of us who rely on the art of persuasion. The Elements of Rhetoric is a gem.”

— Daniel B. Coupland​, Hillsdale College, co-author of Well-Ordered Language: The Curious Child’s Guide to Grammar

“This is the book I have sought for 35 years. For those like me, for whom public speaking and writing is their stock-in-trade, this book is a must-have daily companion.”

— Michael C. Gilleran​, Business & IP Trial Lawyer & Partner, Burns & Levinson, LLP, Boston, MA

“This versatile guide can supplement course material from any discipline in order to help students polish presentations and essays.”

— Ann Marie Klein​, Department of Catholic Studies, University of St. Thomas, MN

About the Author

Ryan N.S. Topping

Ryan N. S. Topping earned a doctorate in theology from the University of Oxford and is a Fellow of Thomas More College of Liberal Arts, Merrimack, NH. He is the author of Happiness and Wisdom (CUA Press, 2012), Rebuilding Catholic Culture (Sophia Institute Press, 2013), and Renewing the Mind: A Reader in the Philosophy of Catholic Education (CUA Press, 2015).