, Volume 13, Issue 1, pp 97-114

First online:

Argumentative Text as Rhetorical Structure: An Application of Rhetorical Structure Theory

  • M. AzarAffiliated withHebrew Language Department, University of Haifa

Rent the article at a discount

Rent now

* Final gross prices may vary according to local VAT.

Get Access


Rhetorical Structure Theory (RST), as a tool for analyzing written texts, is particularly appropriate for analyzing argumentative texts. The distinction that RST makes between the part of a text that realizes the primary goal of the writer, termed nucleus, and the part that provides supplementary material, termed satellite, is crucial for the analysis of argumentative texts.

The paper commences by determining the concept of argument relation (argument + conclusion) and by briefly presenting RST. It continues by identifying five of RST's rhetorical relations of the satellite/nucleus schema (Evidence, Motivation, Justify, Antithesis, Concession) as five argument relations, each being, logically or pragmatically, a special kind of argument: Evidence being a supportive argument, Motivation an incentive argument, Justify a justifier argument, and Antithesis and Concession persuader arguments. To illustrate, an analysis of three short texts concludes the paper.

Argument relation argumentative text persuasion rhetoical relation rhetorical structure text analysis writer's intention