Critical Analysis Chapter 2: What Words or Phrases Are Ambiguous?

For the assigned passage(s), identify the thesis and reasons. Then list words or phrases that are ambiguous. In order to prove they are ambiguous, give two possible meanings within the context of the passage that might change the conclusion. Please use complete sentences, not simply phrases or single words, in all segments of your answers. Also, avoid quoting full sentences. Paraphrase instead.

Answer Format

Ambiguous term: _____

Definition 1: a reasonable, possible way the word or phrase could be defined and understood in context

Definition 2: a second reasonable, possible way the word or phrase could be defined and understood in context

Conclusion: a hypothetical reader could respond differently to the thesis of the argument depending on which definition she uses.

Passage 1:
School dress codes are limits put on inappropriate clothing to help keep the learning environment focused. It can be quite a distraction for students if a classmate has inappropriate clothing. The use of a dress code during school is not preventing freedom of expression. The dress code still allows for students to choose what they wear as long as it is not deemed inappropriate, unlike required uniform dress codes.

Passage 2:
The minimum wage in this country is appalling and needs to be substantially increased. If people are lobbying for what they call the “living wage,” then the present minimum wage is surely a deadly wage. Five dollars and fifteen cents is not enough to pay for rent or car payments, not to mention college education. Kids in school, living at home, who have minimum-wage jobs can hardly pay for their used cars and clothes. If the minimum wage were increased, there would be fewer people on welfare, which politicians love to attack to no end. If the wage were significantly increased, there would be fewer people in debt, fewer people claiming bankruptcy, and crime would drop. People in dire need are often driven to crimes such as theft, selling drugs, and prostitution.

Passage 3:
The Carnegie Foundation reports that 51 percent of teachers have been verbally abused, 16 percent have been threatened with injury, and students have actually physically attacked seven percent. In schools, the primary goal is the education of students, and that goal cannot be met with the threat of violence always present in the classroom. Schools must invest in stricter security measures if they want to safeguard the learning process and produce effective students.



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