not MY wookiees

25 04 2010

this post is dedicated to everybody else out there finishing semesters, grading anything, bemoaning the youth, or just amused by teacher-talk. if you’re still taking classes, whoever and wherever you are out there, be warned: yes, when you’re ridiculous, we do talk about you, amongst ourselves and with the internet. this particular gem is a commiserative entry from my friend S, who teaches English @ a pretty but also sometimes pretty snotty little private school out in CNY somewhere:

I cannot move on to the next student project progress report until I exorcise this comment from AN ENGLISH MAJOR who is about to GRADUATE:

“you would be surprised how important it is to use correct punctuation, spelling and grammar in this world full of elitists.”

And you, Andrew, would be surprised that the punctuation in that sentence is correct only if you are in the U.K., Australia, or Canada.

That is, it’s correct only if you are among ELITISTS in the U.K., Australia, or Canada.

Argh! strangle, strangle!

How about audience issues? Does it occur to you that you are addressing a professor of English? What do you think, that she’s going to commiserate with you? More astonishingly, do you honestly think she’ll be surprised that correct language use is important to some people??? What have *you* been studying for four years, your navel??????????

the navel comment is my particular favorite. why, yes, being cooped up in our towers with our parchments and our bookish dreams does make us a bit easily frustrated. or, okay, fine, downright batty…

i’m going to go resist the temptation to put that many ??????s in comments on these rewrites by my wee frosh wookiees now.

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8 responses

25 04 2010
burny_md

Definitely, you should never use more than 5! Geez, everyone knows that! ๐Ÿ˜‰

25 04 2010
Anonymous

Wait a sec…
How is it that said English major is complaining about a world full of elitists? Aren’t elitists by definition… rare?

25 04 2010
tyra

Re: Wait a sec…
hey, watch out–you’re teetering dangerously on the edge of the “elitist” practice of reading something carefully to try to figure out exactly what it means!

26 04 2010
2eclipse

feeling like a dummy and definitely not an english major
the only obvious punctuation error i see is the missing comma before “and.”
am i missing something? i remember being taught in elementary school that commas before and in groups of 3 or less were optional(though i definitely see the audience issue.

26 04 2010
2eclipse

Re: feeling like a dummy and definitely not an english major
….well okay, i see the missing capitalization in the first word as well, but i’m hardly qualified to pick on him for that and it’s a capitalization error not a punctuation error. ๐Ÿ™‚

27 04 2010
tyra

Re: feeling like a dummy and definitely not an english major
Yes, it’s the comma. According to current standards, it’s not optional, but it is different rules for different places/venues. Journalism used to teach to go without it b/c it wasted a space, & every space counted (I don’t know what their current ruling is on this now that the print/digital economy is less concerned about that sort of thing). UK English says don’t use it; American English other than journalism says do use it, b/c that’s the only way to distinguish between distinct items and grouped items. Like:
To the picnic, I’m bringing three kinds of sandwiches, egg salad, peanut butter, and ham and cheese.
vs.
To the picnic, I’m bringing three kinds of sandwiches, egg salad, peanut butter and ham and cheese.
(In England, there’s no way to tell if it’s a peanut butter and ham sandwich + a plain cheese, or a peanut butter sandwich + a ham and cheese.)

27 04 2010
2eclipse

Re: feeling like a dummy and definitely not an english major
hmmmm…i see the point. i just like the british way better. i don’t mind the ambiguity.
i also like how they spell grey better. grey has always felt like it needs an e rather than an a to me.

26 04 2010
pictsy

This looks intentional to me, like the subtext is that she is clearly not one of those elitists, and she hopes they will all choke and die on this sentence.

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