Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Ten Writing Pet Peeves

In honor of the end of the semester, and as a way to procrastinate grading papers, here are a few of my writing pet peeves. Sadly, although I remind my students over, and over, and over (and over), I still see them turn up in papers.

(This is not lol cat!)

  1. Punctuation not correctly placed inside quotation marks (this is rampant internet behavior as well)
  2. Unnecessary modifiers, e.g., very little, very critical (read that in the NYT last night!) What is the difference between critical and very critical? Yeah, that's what I thought.
  3. No page numbers! Really? On a 35-page paper?
  4. No running head - this could be forgiven, except I clearly state it is required
  5. Not using headers in a major research paper
  6. Not following the basics of APA
  7. Forgetting a reference
  8. Poor organization
  9. Misspellings or wrong word (as in, yes you used spell check, but it doesn't check for the correct right, rite, or write)
  10. Placing papers in folders or binder-type things when I've made it clear that I just want the papers without your fancy folder thingy
Most of these issues are just poor editing or not paying attention to directions. This morning I was thinking that I should just make a checklist and give it to students when they start the class with the understanding that if any of those things aren't done correctly I will deduct points. The thing is, I shouldn't have to. I mean these are master's and doctoral students. They should have this writing thing under control.

Okay....rant done, back to grading.

1 comment:

Wild Cayuse Creek said...

My favorite undergrad prof used the the expectations checklist for everything we wrote, regardless of length. For most people, by the time we'd reached the end paper, we knew what was expected. But there were those dunderheads who just didn't get it.