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.


  1. I loove the alot:D Though not a grammatical mistake per se, I remember coming across the word "Jaar" a lot from some notes I inherited from the previous batch, as in, "This is probably one of the best works in this jaar". It was only when Sir SB started teaching us that I finally realised that this supposed jaar actually meant "genre" :D

  2. hahaha ku2... 'jaar' _ that's the first I'm hearing of it!

  3. hehe 'twarted' - I can't believe someone who would actually want to use that word can not know the spelling. Maybe a typo?

    And 'alot' made me smile. Have you ever heard of a blog called 'Hyperbole and a half'? I think she's semi-famous now. Anyway, I read on there a long time ago about the 'alot.' It's hilarious you should read it if you haven't

  4. And I went and dug it out just for you..and also partly for myself because I suddenly felt like I was going to die if I didn't read it again.

    This is what she said "The Alot is an imaginary creature that I made up to help me deal with my compulsive need to correct other people's grammar. It kind of looks like a cross between a bear, a yak and a pug, and it has provided hours of entertainment for me in a situation where I'd normally be left feeling angry and disillusioned with the world."

  5. hahaha I feel really stupid now. I didn't click on those links before :)

  6. @Jerusha: was trying to see how long you would sustain that conversation with yourself.Haha.. seriously though, that is one great blog. Yeah...twarted it was, and I'm pretty sure it wasn't a typo :D

  7. Heh missy, don't hate me but I'm going to have to haul you up for "As a teacher of English, over the years,I have seen student's papers...." Solly, just couldn't resist that :D

    Atrocious offerings come exam time every time and as of late, I just H-A-T-E checking papers, argh! Btw, Kukui's "jaar" reminds me of the time when we were doing Heart of Darkness back in college. None of us had the text and the good man who taught us dictated notes which went down well until he kept saying, "the hawr the hawr". Much later, after we got hold of the text we realised it was the immortal "The horror, the horror!"

  8. I'm no English teacher but get frustrated by bad grammar and spelling mistakes all the same. Whenever I read something, be it the newspaper, a book, or something online, my internal editor gets activated and wants to correct the mistakes observed. In my latest blog post I mentioned an obvious mistake I spotted in a bestselling book by an Indian author: "Shiva nodded his ascent". Just kill me right now.

  9. Insert Jimmy McMillan meme: "The amount of Grammar Nazism in this post and comment section is too damn high!" :D

    ...and I'm loving it. :)

    Another main reason why many of us make careless grammatical errors today is not just because of internet/sms "shortcuts" (ur, 2day etc) but also because of "internet grammar". For example, the popular interwebz slogan "All your base are belong to us" is something every geek or gamer knows, but the non-geeks will cringe at the grammar. Similarly, "This guy are sick", "I haz cheeseburger", "Y U NO..." etc. are now a part of our daily vocabulary. Even take for example the fact that many people write "Teh" purposely now when referring to the internet (teh interwebz) even though it first started off as a genuine typo of "The".

    To me, I think it's just a fad, like those "double negation" days when Hiphop entered mainstream and everybody started talking in double negation. It will pass, IMHO.

  10. And yes, "twarted" is indeed a word. When you are about to get a wart on your feet, but manage to avoid it just in time, that process is called twarting :-P

  11. Sports section/column leh comment velah 'leaque' hmuh tur a awm fo hi a mak ve ngawt mai. Q leh G awmna a inhlat tehlul nen ;-)

  12. English grammar chu ka thiam lo ve hlein ka hria, har ka ti khawp mai. Exam velnaa shortcut hman hi kan la uar chho dawn chauhvin ka ring, facebook nen kan inchiahpiah ta em mai.

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