For All Intensive Porpoises, Stew Dents Right Like They Talk

You might want to hold onto your drink while reading James Courter’s WSJ editorial on poor college-freshman writing. In the column, Mr. Courter weaves in examples of depressing student errors (e.g. “poultry excuse” and “halfhazard work”) that he attributes to those students infrequently seeing the words they want to say in print. While Mr. Courter’s piece focuses on freshman writing, I’ve seen the same errors with seniors’ papers. 

I’m far from a grammar snob; I also do not claim to be a perfect writer. In fact, I’ve even been taken to task in comments sections when I’ve failed to follow the elements of style while critiquing the state of student writing. Yet, this issue is beyond split infinitives and parallel construction. Many American-born students turn in work at the level of a beginning ESL student.

But, what is the root of this problem? Electronic communication? Poor teachers? Grade inflation? Feel free to weigh in with your thoughts. 

Most Popular

Culture

Courage: The Greatest of Virtues

EDITOR’S NOTE: The following is Jonah Goldberg’s weekly “news”letter, the G-File. Subscribe here to get the G-File delivered to your inbox on Fridays. Dear Reader (Or Listener), As the reporter assigned the job of writing the article about all of Sidney Blumenthal’s friends and supporters told his ... Read More
Immigration

My American Dream

This morning, at 8 a.m., I did something I’ve wanted to do for as long as I can remember: I became an American. I first applied for a visa in early 2011, and since then I have slowly worked my way through the system — first as a visa-holder, then as a permanent resident (green card), and, finally, as a ... Read More
U.S.

The Gun-Control Debate Could Break America

Last night, the nation witnessed what looked a lot like an extended version of the famous “two minutes hate” from George Orwell’s novel 1984. During a CNN town hall on gun control, a furious crowd of Americans jeered at two conservatives, Marco Rubio and Dana Loesch, who stood in defense of the Second ... Read More