Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The fine example we set

OK, really, I'm tired of this. It seems that virtually every flier that gets put up around campus--and not by students, I might add, since students have to go through a complicated process to get fliers approved and therefore don't seem to post any, ever--has some trivial but appalling spelling mistake.

To wit:
  • "your" for "you're"
  • "insite" for "insight"
  • "verses" for "versus"
These gems are sent out through email and highlighted on posters on every college building.

Semester after semester I try to teach my comp students that yes, there is a difference between "your" and "you're," or "there"-"their"-"they're," that getting them wrong makes you look unprofessional and sloppy, that you need to follow conventional spelling, and that proofreading is important. Is it any wonder that my weak little message doesn't sink in, when this is what their college models as acceptable communication?

Sigh. It's 8:23 in the morning, and I'm just about done.


Phul Devi said...
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Phul Devi said...

Wow ~ that's pretty appalling!

Unknown said...

I got so tired of my students not bothering to proofread - or even spellcheck - that I started using a proofreading checklist. Every student had a copy, and I used one when I read their papers. I marked everything that they did not catch on the sheet, deducted set points from the paper grade, and stapled the sheet to the paper before handing it back. I also kept a copy of every sheet for my records, and if a student made the same mistakes on the next paper, the number of points deducted doubled. Yes, it was a pain in the ass, but grades seem to be the only thing they take seriously. And honestly, it was easier to just check the error on the sheet once than underlining or circling it a zillion times on the paper! BTW, my favorite peeve is "its'."

heu mihi said...

BarbS, that's not a bad idea. It's so annoying to note something on paper after paper and to feel that your advice is just falling into the void....

Pronoun/antecedent agreement has become my crusade this year, by the way. The world won't grind to a halt if they don't get it right, but it drives me nuts for some reason.

undine said...

You could make it a treasure hunt for them. Tell them to go forth and correct the errors on the fliers and document it with a picture. The one who corrects the most fliers wins.

Or they could send the pictures to the organization that can't spell.

heu mihi said...

I heart that idea, undine.