When students take a college class from me, they get two things for the price of one. They are in a communication class but I also teach them how to write, if they will only pay attention. I have students whose writing I correct over and over, only to have them ignore my suggestions. Of course, the thing to remember here is that my suggestions are more of a command than a “this might be nice” type of feedback.
Case in point: I find myself flummoxed by graduate students who persist in putting commas between the subject and the verb of a sentence.
Who in the world taught them that? The reason, is ….that’s one of their all-time favorite expressions when writing. AUGH!!!!! I, am not happy……Be still my soul! Do these folks know the King’s English??? (Or, in this day and age, the Queen’s?)
And don’t get me started on commas being used instead of semi-colons, or vice versa. Here’s the skinny on the difference: Semi-colons connect two independent phrases; that is, they connect two completely fine sentences that could stand alone. Commas do not.
Forgive me for ranting, but I just spent the whole day correcting graduate level papers that were anything but that. When we are in week five of an eight week course and students still don’t get the smallest inkling of how to write well, it gets quite frustrating.
Proofread everything. I do. I read my entire 400-page dissertation out loud, trying to catch flaws. Sadly, my professional proofreader added some mistakes into the document before she signed off and those 12 errors that are now in my book drive me batty. Some of my students had several typos in today’s work, which tells me that they ignored the feedback their computer was giving them. Too bad, because I noticed the flaws and marked them down…..Just sayin’