Almost everyone I’ve ever met in the United States writes badly. Most teachers and professors agree, because they know first hand how poorly students write–students who are about to be released into the wild.
Bob Jensen, emeritus accounting professor, recently passed along a link to an article written by Ben Yagoda, “The Elements of Clunk,” Chronicle of Higher Education, January 2, 2012. Professor Yagoda writes,
Four years ago, I wrote an essay for The Chronicle Review cataloging “The Seven Deadly Sins of Student Writers“—the errors and infelicities that cropped up most frequently in my students’ work. Since then a whole new strain of bad writing has come to the fore, not only in student work but also on the Internet, that unparalleled source for assessing the state of the language.
For our one year anniversary, my girlfriend and myself are going to a Yankees game, with whomever amongst our friends can go. But, the Weather Channel just changed their forecast and the skies are grey, so we might go with the girl that lives next door to see the movie, “Iron Man 2”.
Those two hypothetical sentences contain 11 [mistakes].
Jensen then quotes a passage from Auntie Bev, of Ft. Lauderdale,
- The bandage was wound around the wound.
- The farm was used to produce produce.
- The dump was so full that it had to refuse more refuse.
- We must polish the Polish furniture.
- He could lead if he would get the lead out.
- The soldier decided to desert his dessert in the desert.
- Since there is no time like the present, he thought it was time to present the present.
- A bass was painted on the head of the bass drum.
- When shot at, the dove dove into the bushes.
- I did not object to the object.
- The insurance was invalid for the invalid.
- There was a row among the oarsmen about how to row.
- They were too close to the door to close it.
- The buck does funny things when the does are present.
- A seamstress and a sewer fell down into a sewer line.
- To help with planting, the farmer taught his sow to sow.
- The wind was too strong to wind the sail.
- Upon seeing the tear in the painting I shed a tear.
- I had to subject the subject to a series of tests.
- How can I intimate this to my most intimate friend?
A few of these clever wordings are so admirable, I would be proud for them to appear in one of my blogs.
by David Albrecht