Wednesday, February 15, 2006

This is grad school, right?

I just finished my homework for a particular class. It taught me the following things:

~Sometimes verbs change forms when they change tense. For instance, they may add an "s" or an "ed": play, plays, played.

~Sentences should have a subject and a verb. Plural subjects should take plural verbs; singular subjects should take singular verbs.

~Separate sentences should have a period between them.

~It's a good idea to look for misspellings before you turn in a paper.

My transcript and tuition seem to indicate that I'm enrolled in a master's program. My homework seems to indicate otherwise. Now, I'm all for asking grad students to pay attention to the finer points of editing - the use of semicolons and commas, transitions between paragraphs, etc. In fact, I'm all for asking grad students to pay attention to basic editing skills. But are we really so far gone that you have to tell me that verbs have plural and singular forms?*

*Yeah, ok, I've read enough papers from students (none of you, of course) at reputable institutions of higher learning to know that, apparently, we do have to tell people these things. It still makes me grouchy to have to "learn" things in grad school that my daddy taught me when I was seven.


Jane Ellen+ said...

You are correct, you don't have to be told. You are a more than adequate writer. I would also be grumpy at the nature of this assignment.

However, I also proofread enough classmates' papers in the last three years to understand the impulse that led to this assignment. Were I a professor, I might be inclined to hand out a similar exercise.

Sorry that you got caught in the widely cast net.

Leslee said...

Hi, just hopping around the ring...

I can't believe in COLLEGE they teach you such elementary stuff! I think if I was the teacher I'd just flunk everyone that didn't come to class knowing that simple stuff. But I'm mean like that!

Beth said...

Actually, Leslee, not only did they teach us that in college, they're teaching it to us now in a master's program (in a writing-heavy discipline, no less).

For that matter, any number of books on my shelf indicate that they probably need to teach it in doctoral work too - which should not be taken to mean that I hope they'll do so in any doctoral program I might ever be enrolled in.

Yes, I see that preposition at the end of the last sentence.