You look at the clock – only a few minutes left before that paper is due! So you write furiously, hit the spell checker button (maybe), and then hit print. Ah, done!
And the poor, frustrated teacher stares at the paper that night, trying to figure out what you are trying to say. Hopelessly confused, the teacher has no choice but to reward you with a low grade.
The following bad sentences were written by real students, all (except three, provided by colleagues) from papers written for my courses. 100% true. All names and dates have been removed for this public gallery, and I usually add one or two of these per semester. All spelling and grammar mistakes are retained; no errors have been added or removed. These sentences appear exactly as written in the original student papers.
The lesson: always proofread your paper. Make sure that what you want to say is what actually appears on paper. While these sentences may be funny, they are by no means the worst sentences I have ever read on student papers – the worst sentences are merely incoherent. But these examples (and hopefully new ones will be added very rarely) should attest to the benefits of proofreading your paper not only for simple grammar, but also for logic and coherence. Do not trust your computer to catch mistakes. In fact, when I ran the original gallery page through the spelling/grammar checker in Microsoft Word, my computer stopped on two mistakes. All these misused words, missing words, incorrect punctuation, jumbled grammar, misspellings – and it only caught two mistakes. Consider yourself warned. — Dr. Pinsky