Rhetoric in E-mails


As I mentioned in the powerpoint and in our Zoom class, rhetoric is everywhere, and we use it often in our everyday lives.

To illustrate this point, I have shared below an example of rhetoric in an everyday situation: an e-mail from the Chair of the English Department that she wrote in 2018. In this e-mail to the Dean, she uses various rhetorical strategies to try and convince him to repair, remodel, and clean the women’s faculty restroom on campus.

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  1. First, read the e-mail.
  2. Then identify at least five examples she uses to try and persuade the dean to clean and remodel the restrooms and identify one rhetorical strategy used in each example.
  3. Refer to the list of rhetorical strategies to help you.


  1. Example: the “Restrooms in Building 51 are DISGUSTING”

Rhetorical Strategy: Diction

(Keep in mind that there are often multiple rhetorical strategies used in an example. This is also an example of strategies like tone and pathos.)


The Women’s Faculty Restrooms in Building 51 are DISGUSTING! Please do something in the short term AND something in the longer-term (like slapping a coat of paint on the walls or some new linoleum on the floor). It is patently clear that the restrooms have not been cleaned, and the paper towels don’t come out of the holder. The sinks are beyond dirty. The linoleum is beyond repair or cleaning; it needs to be replaced. It’s a tiny bathroom; how expensive could some basic linoleum be?? I’m fielding multiple complaints, and I just suffered through the experience of using the place myself. Please help.

This particular restroom has long been in disrepair, with female faculty threatening to drag Chancellor Miles down and have her use the facility to make our point.

On behalf of all of the full-time faculty members in my one department alone, I’m begging you–please inspect this facility and then do something to improve a basic element of our working conditions. Just because we are in the oldest, last-to-be-scheduled-for-renovations-or-remodeling part of the campus shouldn’t mean employees have to suffer dirty facilities.


  1. Click the blue Submit Assignment button at the top of this screen.
  2. Type your answers in the text box.
  3. Click the blue Submit button at the bottom of the screen.


You will earn the full ten points if you list five persuasive examples from the e-mail and identify a rhetorical strategy used in each example. Your grade is based on effort and completeness.

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