OK, the semester is over, and I’m ready to vent. (Yes, I know I’ve already done it, but the urge to vent seems to recur more often in some of us…) This time it’s about gripes I have about student papers. Not the usual ones, like misspellings (“Plagitigna” “Chisum” and worst of all “Kavanig”!) and poor grammar; not even absurd structure or total lack of it, or attempts at arguments that make you shake your head in disbelief. No, this is about true minutiae on the grand scale of sins of the paper. And be sure to contribute your own in the comments!
I’ll start with two for Peter Markie:
1. Confusing “like” and “as”. I’ll let him explain himself on this one, but you’ve never seen such a gleam in the eye at finding it!
2. Confusing adverbs and adjectives, as in “Oh, it hurts so bad” when it should be “Oh, it hurts so badly”. (Of course, if it’s quoted in dialogue, he’s got no case…)
But here are some of mine:
1. Learned from journalists: using “refute” when you mean “rebut”. Either that, or it’s an expression of inordinate optimism, as in “In this section I will refute the objection to my view arising from virtue epistemology.” Maybe so, but I think you meant “rebut”; and even if you didn’t, it is a wiser choice: my standards for refutations are pretty high, but rebuttals aren’t nearly so difficult to come by!
2. “I could care less”. If you can’t see what my complaint is here, then read the antecedent of this conditional as “if you can see what my complaint is here”.
3. Burden of proof arguments. Leave them in the courtroom where they belong. Jeez…enough already!
4. Confusion on idioms, such as “for all intensive purposes.” OK, that’s not really an idiom confusion, but how about “cut and dry” as in “the inability of position X to explain Y is rather cut and dry.” Or try: “beyond the pail”, “eyes pealed” (poor guy…), “freighty cat”, “stand to loose”, “veil of tears”, “reek havoc”, etc.
5. Getting confused on an explanation of analogy argument by thinking that “A is like B” is an identity statement. Like, think about it…
OK, you’re turn… 🙂