Tag Archives: grading papers

To Err is Humorous (2017 Edition)

It’s that most wonderful time of the year: grading season. As I’ve noted before, there’s an occasional silver lining to this otherwise purgatorial duty, namely, occasionally encountering an amusing typo or other lapsus calami. Five years ago I posted a collection of these gaffes, and as an act of solidarity with my fellow professors, I now post a second batch. (All are genuine.)

First, however, let me repeat some important words of qualification from my earlier post:

I should emphasize that most of these are innocent mistakes and no reflection on the abilities of the students who wrote them. Some of them appeared in otherwise excellent papers. They’re the sort of errors any of us could make, and many of us have made, especially when under the pressure of a deadline or ambushed by the AutoCorrect feature of our word processors. So enjoy them, but don’t forget that these are human errors — and we’re all human.

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To Err is Humorous (Sometimes)

I love my job. But one part of it I could happily forgo: grading papers. I know I’m far from alone. (One of my colleagues quips, “I teach for free, but they have to pay me to grade papers.”) I estimate that I’m looking down the barrel at nearly 40 hours of grading for this semester’s classes.

However, this oppressive cloud does have a (thin) silver lining: the opportunity to encounter some amusing typos or bloopers. I’ve collected a number of these gems since I started teaching, and this would certainly be a fitting time of year to share them. But before I do, I should emphasize that most of these are innocent mistakes and no reflection on the abilities of the students who wrote them. Some of them appeared in otherwise excellent papers. They’re the sort of errors any of us could make, and many of us have made, especially when under the pressure of a deadline or ambushed by the AutoCorrect feature of our word processors. So enjoy them, but don’t forget that these are human errors — and we’re all human.

With that caveat in place, I dedicate the following to all of my fallow grazers.

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