Category Archives: readinganalysis

Analysis on Parker’s “Do Commas Still Matter?” (RA6)

In “Do commas still matter?”, Kathleen Parker states that proper grammar use has been dynamic over the years, and the change has been negative with more people not paying attention to the grammatical rules. Published in The Washington Post, Parker describes how grammatical errors have become more rampant in the modern community than it was years back. She goes on to state that blame for this negative change is on social media. She, however, agrees that it is fine sometimes intentionally to misuse grammar.  Parker employs her credibility, use of logic with minimal use of the appeal of pathos to trigger the reader’s thoughts in hopes of changing how they use grammar in their day to day interactions by suggesting that indeed, it does matter if they use proper and correct grammar as it conveys a great deal about the person.


Parker establishes her credibility by use of an intelligent tone. Reading throughout the article, her way of persuasion is unique in that it is not a derivative of what others use and this enables her to grab the audience attention. Another method she uses to build up on her appeal of ethos is by quoting various scholars throughout her article. For instance, she quotes Amanda Sturgill, an associate professor of communications at the University of Elon who states that “Grammar is credibility,” and “If you’re not taking care of the small things, people assume you’re not taking care of the big things.” Lastly, she builds on her credibility by stating she has over thirty years’ experience in column writing. Quoting other people boosts Parker validity by proving to the audience that she has done her research on the topic.

Concerning the logos appeal, Parker uses facts, evidence, and progression of ideas throughout her article. To begin with, she first starts with admitting that sometimes it is nearly impossible not to make grammatical errors and that some of these errors are acceptable; she provides evidence that even in her case she and her editors occasionally miss out on grammatical errors. Towards the end of the article, she also builds upon the appeal when she examines claims by a journalist by the name Mona Chalabi that grammar snobs are patronizing, pretentious, and censorious and probably racist simply because most of the people who correct others are older and white. She persuades her readers that this is not true by pointing out as much as the claims were interesting but it is impossible for people to go around correcting stranger’s grammar.

Concerning the humorous appeal, Parker uses it at a minimal compared to the other appeals. In the introductory part, she employs the use of humor when she states that she doesn’t think that her aging contributes in any way to her grammatical errors and then asks her audience to shut up if they believe so, which is in a way humorous. She employs this humor as a way to emotionally connect with her audience. She also uses the appeal when she examines claims by Mona Chalabi, whereby she employs the use of emotionally charged words such as racism, censorious and patronizing.

Overall, Parker has a convincing article. He describes how grammatical errors have become more rampant in the modern community than it was years back. She goes on to state that blame for this negative change is on social media and employs all the persuasive appeals.




Works Cited

Parker, K. Do commas still matter? The Washington Post. October 4, 2016. December 11, 2016. Print.

A Rhetorical Analysis of “Why We Should Stop Grading Students on a Curve” (RA5)

In “Why Should We Stop Grading Students on a Curve” Adam Grant depicts that the grading system in the American Education system has become one of the hot topics under scrutiny in the academic world. Some people claim that the utilization of the grading curve in grading students is inappropriate. Grant wrote “Why We Should Stop Grading Students on a Curve,” published in 2016 in the New York Times, and his main aim is to discourage the use of the grading curve in the education system. He argues that use of the grading curve causes grade deflation; it limits the student’s excellence, and lastly, creates a hypercompetitive culture among students. Grant begins by citing personal facts, research, and reputable sources so as to build his credibility, adequately applies logos but very scanty employs emotional appeals in some sections of the article.


Grant first sets the stage by describing a scenario in Harvard University where the most common grade is an A. He then moves on and compares grades across 200 colleges and universities. Grant then examines the primary goal of the grade curve and states the adverse effects of the curve. He then describes an experiment he conducted with his students on the effect of the grading curve on performance and togetherness of the students. Lastly, he finishes by examining how unhealthy competition among students causes increased peril for suicide and mental health disorders such as anxiety and depression.

In the article, Grant strengthens his appeals to ethos as well as builds her argument by citing many sources. The sources used to include  studies by economists Pradeep Dubey and John Geanakoplos who analyzed the grading system and concluded that Absolute is far much better than grading on the curve. He also uses a research by Podsakoff, Whiting, Steven, Podsakoff, Philip, Blume, and Brian named “Individual- and organizational-level consequences of organizational citizenship behaviors: A meta-analysis”. Citing these sources in his article boosts Grant’s trustworthiness and validity by showing his audience that he has done his research and has presented facts and professionals opinion. Grant also uses personal experiments with his students which show he has taken firsthand experience with the problem or issue.


Concerning the logos appeal, Grant uses facts, statistics, and progression of ideas throughout his article. He points out facts in his experiment with his students on the effects of not using the grading curve on the performance and teamwork among students. Through his experiments, he is able to prove that when the grading curve is not used, the performance and teamwork among students improves. These results are paramount in introducing and supporting his idea. Grant quotes statistics from his study indicating how the lack of utilization of the grading curve influences the students to score to improve year after year. These statistics are some of the very many he uses to support his claims in a logical way. The numbers are slowly built on logos with the aim of trying to impress the reader that it’s an issue worth critically discussing.

The article does not employ the use of pathos in the introduction and middle parts but applies it mainly towards its end. He uses emotionally charged phrases and statements at the end of the article mainly to create a sympathetic image to his audience. Grant, states that great challenge that colleges and universities have in trying to reduce the suicide peril among students and the growing risk for mental disorders such as depression and anxiety. He also indicates that he wonders whether there would be an improvement in student’s mental health if the classes were devised in such a way that they encourage support of one another. His goal for using these statements is to evoke negative feelings towards the utilization of the grading curve among the readers by showing its effects on mental health.

Mostly, Adam Grant delivers a cogent argument through utilization of logos ethos and minimal pathos. Despite his efficient use of logos and ethos, his argument would have been more effective if his pathos was more developed in all the sections of the article. This would have made his more credible in the eyes of the audience.


Grant, A. (2016, September 10). Why We Should Stop Grading Students on a Curve, The New York Times. September 10, 2016. December 11, 2016. Web.