Please note, this technique is sometimes confused with the technique of personal anecdotes.


For example: “Annie was only 5 when her father walked out on the family.” 

Definition and effect on reader

An anecdote is essentially a story; a recount of something that has happened. Writers can use anecdotes for a range of reasons, one of the most common being to give a human face to an otherwise impersonal issue. For example, presenting statistics on how many people die of cancer annually can be logically persuasive, but telling a specific story about a woman who was afflicted with the disease can be emotionally persuasive. Anecdotes can also be used to demonstrate a real-world application of a scenario the writer is presenting. By showing how an issue affects individuals, writers are able to portray the relevance, and therefore importance, of their contention.

This technique is often used in conjunction with emotive language and other emotional appeals.