Difference Between Rhetoric and Dialectic

It is a very famous proverb that words are mightier than the sword. This saying simply denotes the idea that words can influence the entire mass of people and can make them do anything or everything that the speaker wishes them to do if the words are conveyed in the right manner.

Rhetoric and dialectic are two types of manner of speech that are used widely all across the world, and it can be very confusing to differentiate between these two as they happen to be very similar to one another. 

Rhetoric vs Dialectic 

The main difference between Rhetoric and Dialectic is that the former represents an art of expressing the thoughts of a person by way of one-way communication only. But on the other hand, the latter represents another form of expression in which two-way communication is used to express one’s thoughts more clearly. 

Rhetoric and Dialectic

Our communication is called to be rhetoric when it takes place between the speaker and the audience, and there is a negligible amount of interaction between these two fraternities.

The person who happens to convey his thoughts keeps on speaking and tries to persuade the people who are listening to him by way of his speaking skills only. 

Better communication is called to be dialectic when there is a dialogue between the speaker and the listener, and there is an active interaction between the two fraternities in which the speaker tries to convey his own thoughts or beliefs by way of communication from both sides. 

Comparison Table Between Rhetoric and Dialectic 

Parameters of Comparison Rhetoric  Dialectic  
Meaning  The term refers to a form of one-way communication. The term refers to a form of two-way communication. 
Nature of communication It is a unilateral process and only one person happens to be the center of the communication. It is a bilateral process in which both parties find equal participation. 
Uses  Heavy words are used to persuade the audience Logical arguments are used to persuade the listeners. 
Usually delivered at It is used in places where large gatherings are being addressed. It is used in places where there are few people to communicate with.
Presence of arguments  In this form of speech, argumentative skills are not used. In this form of speech, argumentative skills are used. 
Involves  Speaker only happens to be involved in the process of communication. It involves the speaker as well as the listener. 

What is Rhetoric? 

The term rhetoric in itself has been explained in multiple dictionaries and word banks as the art of persuading someone, especially a human being.

In other words, when a person communicates with some other persons through a unilateral process only and communicates his own beliefs and thoughts without giving a chance to the audience to interact with that person, it is called that the person is using the rhetoric form of speech. 

This process is called unilateral because it does not involve interaction with the people to whom the communication is being addressed, and the speaker happens to be the main center of the communication.

The speaker uses heavy words to persuade the audience to believe whatever he is saying about any particular topic.  

This form of speech is most visibly used in places very large gatherings are addressed by the speakers because in such cases, there is very little scope for allowing interaction between the speaker and the audience.

It can be said that this communication happens to be a sort of closed web in which only the speaker happens to be the key player. 

What is Dialectic? 

The term dialectic originates from the term dialogue in itself end.

The very basic fundamental principle of this form of communication happens to be the interaction that takes place between the person who is communicating and the person to whom the communication is being done.  

In simple words, it is said that a person is using a dialectic form of communication when he expresses his views to the audience and allows the audience to question him to develop a better understanding of the subject.

It is a bilateral process and gives the opportunity to the audience to participate in the entire mechanism of communication. In this communication, no heavy words or motivational things are used to persuade the audience.

Rather the speaker tries to get into the minds of the audience and asks them to ask further questions to him so that he can develop a better report with the audience.

This communication is mostly seen in places where the mass of audience happens to be of very fewer people. 

Main Differences Between Rhetoric and Dialectic 

  1. In Rhetoric, one-way communication is used, while on the other hand, in Dialectic, two-way communication is used. 
  2. In Rhetoric, heavy words are used to persuade the audience, while on the other hand, in Dialectic, logical reasoning is used. 
  3. In Rhetoric, the only speaker is allowed to express his thoughts, while on the other hand, in Dialectic, both the speaker and listener can express their views. 
  4. In Rhetoric, argumentative skills are not used, while on the other hand, in Dialectic, argumentative skills are used. 
  5. Rhetoric is used where a large gathering needs to be addressed, while on the other hand, Dialectic is used when there are few people to communicate with. 
Difference Between Rhetoric and Dialectic


Communication in humans happens to be the most vital process in the entire mechanism of society because without communicating thoughts and beliefs between people, it is impossible for any society to sustain itself in a better manner.

This communication can be of any nature, and usually, whenever the nature of communication is explained, two terms come into play that is rhetoric and dialectic.  

In many cases, these terms are used interchangeably, but in reality, the meaning of these two terms differs a lot from one another, and they can easily be distinguished after looking at all the differences that lie between these two.

While on one side rhetoric is a unilateral process, dialectic involves dialogue and hence happens to be a bilateral process. 


  1. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/136698799376989  
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