Saturday, May 12, 2012

Grammar Police!

One of the necessary evils of being a teacher is checking exam and test papers. Not my favorite part of the job, it is something that I have been compelled to do ever since I volunteered to help in a school while awaiting my own exam results whilst in college. As a teacher of English, over the years,I have seen student's papers that have had grammatical errors bordering on various degrees of the horrific, scandalous, hilarious, and frankly irritating. Here are some common mistakes which have persistently been committed by students:

1. 'Their' and 'There' and sometimes, even 'They're'. Also 'its' and 'it's'.

2. Using a phrase such as "He was one of the most famous writer of the age".

3. Combining two words - "infact", "inorder", "alot", etc.

4. Confusing like-sounding words - the latest paper I checked kept saying "imagery" for "imaginary"!

5. Unnecessary use of the apostrophe. "She always keep's her room tidy."

6. The invention of new words. Here's one in the current batch of papers:"Honey, wife of Nick also told lies as being impregnant before she marries Nick." Someone else has also written "leaved".

7. Misspelling of words: Examples from said batch : "revange", "commentable", "thingking","twarted","transcents", "metaphore", "intrigacies".

8. Using text message lingo. Examples "U r" for 'you are', "2" for 'to' and so on.

One of my students consistently submits papers that are very entertaining. Recently, she has described a protagonist of a novel as a "chick magnet" and another character as belonging to the "biological department". Other students have written of characters who have "illusioned themselves", while yet another writes of how "the author also uses this hole in his structure of the novel." Don't ask.

My obsession with the correct usage of the grammar has often given me a guilt-trip, especially when I remind myself that nobody here is a native speaker of the language. Having said that, I did feel a little less guilty after stumbling across hilarious pages such as this and this . This also makes sure that you are reminded of the mistakes you make. I'd recommend checking them out.