Tuesday, July 31, 2007

1.9--No Excuses, No Mercy

A. Here’s the problem:
The thought of a high school senior carelessly making errors a conscientious fifth grader would be ashamed of appalls me. Either the writer is too lazy to find and correct these mistakes in revision or has difficulty with attention to detail and simply doesn’t see the mistake. The more of these basic errors I mark, the more I clench my teeth, narrow my eyes, and resolve to make the writer pay for my annoyance—and my headache—when I get around to assigning the essay a grade.

B. What to do:
Don’t let it happen to you. Revise your essays once for content and once for style, and make proofreading a completely separate step. If you genuinely can’t do a good job finding proofreading errors, work with a partner who’s better at it than you are. Or check your essay sentence by sentence starting at the end. A partial list of total no-no’s includes at least the following:
-- Failure to spell check
-- Sentence fragments and run-ons
-- Ignoring basic comma rules (compounds sentences, series, etc)
-- To/too, then/than, their/there/they’re, who’s/whose, your/you’re, affect/effect etc.
-- Writing things that simply don’t make sense

C. Examples (PCDS seniors wrote these sentences; I swear I’m not making this up):
-- Mrs. Bennet wanted her daughters married well so that there future would be better then it was going to be.
-- Elizabeth had two other men, William Collins and George Wickham, in her life and still succeed in being single and marring Darcy.
-- The only ill affected people are Lydia who pretty much deserved what she got and Charlotte Lucas who at least seems to be coping with her marriage to Mr. Collins.
-- Its message is no less powerful then that of the other novel.
-- Mr. Bennet is not only one of the most humorous characters in the book but is also a stalk character.
-- Yet, of all the different scenes that take place, it is perhaps the people who are most the inner-most parts of Jane Austin’s mind.
-- Elizabeth does not directly ask Darcy weather Wickham’s allegations were true.
-- The way that none of the ridiculous characters in Pride and Prejudice are aware of their own absurdity.
-- Such social gatherings as these present times when new characters are introduced and the first impressions, which are so very important to this novel, are made.