How is your personal consumption of paper going? Uncategorized / Writing & Grammar

Hello everyone:

Wow, I commented on a student’s paper recently where the individual was talking about how much paper her office consumed in a day. I asked her, admittedly using less tact than perhaps was called for, if the people in her office really ate paper. Her emailed response was….rather unkind as she explained to me the meaning of the word “consumption.”

She said it meant “to use up a resource.” That’s exactly right, but there is more than one meaning to the word. She obviously didn’t get to the second meaning, which was “to eat something up.” (There are two other meanings, as well, but I won’t bore you with them.)

Furthermore, her sentence didn’t say that the paper consumption of the office was up, she said that they had actually consumed the paper. I corrected her. She didn’t appreciate the correction, to say the least.

So, what’s a student to do? For one thing, be nice to your professors. Next, make sure you are correct before you …launch the grenades …Double check yourself before you send that email. Keep in mind that most of us have an advanced degree (or two) and we do make mistakes from time to time, BUT …respect is very important. I’ve never given someone the benefit of the doubt after he or she wrote me a nasty email.

What do you think? Did she really eat reams of paper each day? How disgusting!

Another thing, while we’re on the topic: the words “new” and “knew” should not be used interchangeably. This was from a different student but the person was in graduate school. Heavens to Betsy!


Dr. Sheri


Sheri Dean Parmelee has a Ph.D. in Communication Studies from Regent University. She writes books on practical tips for people who become unexpectedly unmarried and is working on her second novel in a series of contemporary romance/suspense novels. She teaches at three colleges, working with students from freshmen to graduate students. Her hobbies include running 8 miles a day and reading biographies and fiction.

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