Wednesday, February 24, 2010


I’ve made it through the first major bump in the semester, where papers are coming due in my classes as well as in the class for which I’m a TA. I spent the last couple of weeks grading nearly 60 by and large poorly written papers. I say it every time, but it’s astonishing (and a bit disheartening) to see the writing abilities of undergrads. We’re talking run-on sentences, sentence fragments, blatant confusion of common homophones that should have been mastered by this point in life (e.g. to / too, their / there), and inconsistent, sometimes seemingly random capitalization. Some might argue that the ability to write well is not very important in today’s world, at least for the majority of the population. There is probably some sad truth to that statement, but I think it constitutes a dangerous state of affairs. It means that those who can write well will decrease in number, and the bar for writing well will drop. Eventually, even the best writers will not be all that clear and, I’d say, wisdom will become threatened. But that’s not the point of my writing this. It’s easy to go off on a tangent about the kind of crap I put up with as a TA. I’ll try my hardest to bite my lip and say no more about it for now.

Hmm. Well, crap, I don’t know what to write. I actually did write some crap about feeling busy, but it’s boring and pointless, so I’ve deleted it. I think I just need to write this post in order to get back into the flow of writing something other than comments on horribly written student papers. (Oops! Okay, no more!) I’ll try to get my thoughts (and my act) together and write something worth reading in the next day or so. Thanks for listening, whoever you are!


  1. I totally understand. Being a frequent visitor on the internet, it doesn't take long to see how many people don't understand the difference between your and you're. It's a sad state of affairs if you ask me.

    Not to mention people that post comments about proper grammar and then fail to proof read it before they post it. Thus resulting in a deleted post.

  2. Well Ben, Sometimes you just gotta' scream. I think what you say is very true and important. It's about integrity and refinement. I think it also shows with language and the really foul words some people use so casually. Then they let their kids talk that way and we've seen that it's all downhill, socially, from there.
    Keep typing... it's good to have something to talk about.

  3. Your commentary on the frustration you feel when your students are mixing homophones speaks directly to me. I have lost interest in people I was dating for this very reason! How people got through sixth grade without figuring out your and you're, or to and too blows my mind. Their progression through college AND into the work force with these grammatical inadequacies is astonishing...You are not alone!