The Groundhog's Day of Papers
Thursday, the writer of the two worst sentences ever written said to me after class, "You said in my paper, I had a lot of run-on sentences." I replied, "Yes, that's true. You did." Her reply: "So, what do you want me to do, like, fix 'em or something?" No, just retype it and give me the exact same piece of crap you gave me last time. Instead, ever the professional, I said, "That's really up to you. If you want to rewrite and resubmit your paper for a better grade, then yes, you should probably rewrite those run-on sentences."
Now this policy has really come back to bite me in the ass. A student rewrote her paper and turned it in to me with "changes." Except, I don't ask the students to staple the new paper to the original, so I have no idea exactly how bad the original was. In this particular case, I honestly don't think she made a single change, because some sentences are so bad, they just stick with you like a bad scene from any movie with Jeanne Tripplehorn.
Check these babies out:
- "She knew something was wrong so she called for help, and at the end of this section of the film, it just showed her knelling in a huge pile of blood."
- Coming in second place for "eerily familiar" we have: "He came and requested to receive his money before the abortion was done, and she wearingly agreed."
Because these nitwits are seriously affecting the quality of my own writing, spelling and grammar, I actually looked up "wearingly" because I thought perhaps this was a word with which I was not familiar. And you know what? Our friends over at Dictionary.com ask oh-so-politely, "Did you mean veeringly?" and I thought, hell, yeah, I meant veeringly! I'm going to drive veeringly right off a bridge if I have to read another one of these damn papers!
And, in a category that may be called misplaced modifiers (again - I don't know these things anymore; my IQ plummets precipitously with each paper I grade), I give you: "One of the women Claire asked was an Avon Lady named Louise; she said that the only place she was familiar with women going to was a yellow house a few blocks away supposedly performed abortions." I couldn't help myself. I circled the last half of the sentence and wrote: "Houses cannot perform abortions." Now I don't even know if my comment was correct.
J. came downstairs minutes later to find me prone on the couch, staring at the TV (which happened to be off. For once.) "What's wrong?" he asked. "I just finished grading papers." "How many?" I sighed. "Four." He was no longer emanating empathy. "Just four?" I sighed again. "Believe me. I'm fucking exhausted."