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Error in Writing

Error in Writing

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Published by Scott McAnaul

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Published by: Scott McAnaul on Jan 26, 2012
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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05/13/2014

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Errors on Papers: The Dreaded Red Ink By: Scott McAnaul
By now we have all looked down at a paper after just getting it back from your teacher and the first thing you see is a whole lot of red marks. Your firstgut reaction is that you must have not gotten a very good grade and that all of your hard work you put into it went unnoticed. It makes you feel like youshouldn't even bother trying on the next one because she isn't going to give you agood grade no matter how hard you try. Not only does it affect your attitude inthe classroom, I also feel that it can cause you to be upset out of the classroomtoo. Whenever I get a bad grade I feel as if I let down my teachers, myself, andmost importantly, my family. When they ask what I got on a paper and I showthem the grade they look disappointed and tell me I could have done better.Maybe the paper would have been an “A” paper if error wasn't the main focus ofthe grader, and the main thought and idea was. Teachers need to be looking atthe main ideas of papers, not punctuation and other small not as importantdetails.Why is it necessary to correct every small mistake on a paper and add insult
 
to injury? Okay, yes I know that I need to add a comma here and I misspelled aword but is it necessary to write in red ink all over my paper. Correct it once andthats that, you don’t have to circle the same error five different times andscribble something that no one can even read anyway. If they make a mistakethat many times pull the student aside and explain what is wrong with how theywrote it. Throughout our life we are taught that if at first you fail at somethingtry it again and you'll do better. I don't think that the same can be said aboutEnglish papers because of the way teachers grade them. If a teacher writes allover my paper“This is horrible”or“See me after class”,it can be very discouraging and make you feel like he/she thinks your a horrible writer. The nexttime a teacher announces that there is going to be a research paper due in a fewweeks, most people will react the same way by thinking “Why would I want to eventry and write this paper after last time?”. The students lose confidence paper bypaper if they get bad grades on them until eventually they are convinced thatthey can't write at all.Growing up I went through a lot of this with my papers. I would spend weeksorganizing and coming up with an idea that I thought was going to be a sure “A”.But I would get my paper back and it would be more red colored then anything. Itwas filled with comments criticizing my writing that would call my writing and
 
incomplete thought or she would say she didn't understand what I was trying toeven write about. It is a huge blow to your confidence. The next paper all ofthose comments were in my head giving me doubts about my writing ability. MaybeI really wasn't any good at it. Papers should be filled with advice on how to make your paper stronger, and better to read, not filled with comments that you can'teven read because they were just scribbled down. If a teacher was moreconstructive I believe the students would feel that their teacher is behind themand that they can put more originality in their papers. Tell students how they canimprove their writing, not how bad they are at it.Another question my research led me to ask is “Do teachers even read yourwriting and try and understand as students what you are trying to say, or do theymerely look for any and every error they can correct and dock points from yourgrades?” In
The Phenomenology of Error,
Joseph M. Williams defines error as “aspecific set of mistakes that writers make with syntax and the mechanics ofwriting. Errors include using
where you should use
me,
spelling wordsincorrectly, and ending a sentence with a comma instead of a period.” (Williams37). These aren't very big deals and are just small mistakes. But over time aftergetting corrected on them over and over it can get very frustrating. Read thefollowing paragraph by Williams and ask yourself how many times you have felt

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