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Updated Feb 19, 2023

The Rhetorical Device of Comprobatio: Persuading Through Commendation

"To be persuasive we must be believable; to be believable we must be credible; to be credible we must be truthful." - Edward R. Murrow

In the art of persuasion, rhetoric plays a crucial role in capturing an audience's attention, engaging their emotions, and influencing their beliefs or actions. One powerful rhetorical device that has been used for centuries is comprobatio, which involves the strategic use of commendation to establish credibility and gain the trust of the audience. In this article, we will explore the concept of comprobatio, its historical significance, and provide some accurate examples of its application.

Understanding Comprobatio: The Art of Commendation

Comprobatio, derived from the Latin word "comprobare" meaning "to approve," is a rhetorical device that aims to persuade the audience by praising or commending the subject matter or the speaker themselves. By using this technique, the speaker seeks to establish credibility, gain the audience's trust, and create a favorable disposition towards their argument or cause.

Historical Significance of Comprobatio

Comprobatio has been widely used throughout history, particularly in influential speeches, political debates, and advertising campaigns. Ancient Greek and Roman orators, such as Cicero and Demosthenes, recognized the power of commendation in winning over their audiences. They understood that by praising the virtues or achievements of an individual or idea, they could create a positive perception and strengthen their argument.

Examples of Comprobatio in Action

Example 1: Political Speech

"My fellow citizens, my opponent has dedicated his entire life to public service, tirelessly fighting for the rights of the marginalized. His unwavering commitment to social justice is truly commendable. However, I believe that my proposed policies will better serve the needs of our community."

In this example, the speaker begins by commending their opponent's dedication to public service, establishing credibility and acknowledging their positive qualities. By doing so, they create a sense of fairness and respect, making their argument more persuasive.

Example 2: Product Advertisement

"Introducing our revolutionary new skincare product - the result of years of meticulous research and development! Our team of expert dermatologists and scientists has crafted a formula that combines cutting-edge technology with the finest natural ingredients. Countless satisfied customers have experienced remarkable transformations, leaving their skin radiant and youthful."

In this advertisement, the company uses comprobatio to establish credibility for their skincare product. By praising the extensive research and development process, as well as the expertise of the team behind it, they aim to convince potential customers of the product's effectiveness. The mention of countless satisfied customers further reinforces the credibility and persuasiveness of their claims.

The Power of Comprobatio in Persuasion

Comprobatio serves as a powerful tool in persuasive communication. By employing commendation, speakers and writers can build trust, establish credibility, and create a positive emotional connection with their audience. However, it is important to use this rhetorical device sparingly and authentically, as excessive or insincere commendation can backfire and undermine the overall persuasive intent.

In conclusion, comprobatio is a rhetorical device that harnesses the persuasive power of commendation. By acknowledging the positive qualities or achievements of an individual, idea, or product, speakers and writers can enhance their credibility and win over their audience. Whether used in political speeches, advertisements, or everyday conversations, comprobatio remains a valuable tool in the art of persuasion.


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