Friday, January 25, 2008

The joys of marking

After ten days spent, when not at work, hunched over the kitchen table, I marked the last essay a little while ago at midnight 30. Can you hear the fireworks, see the balloons? The students chose their own topics and you'll be glad to hear that they know with certainty what are the right things to think about abortion, animal testing, euthanasia and the attacks on the Twin Towers (conspiracy or not?) They have, regrettably, suffered in large numbers the death of a beloved grandparent; they know why young people take drugs and too much alcohol and exactly what should be done about this; and one or two of them, glory hallelujah, have a sense of humour.

The apostrophe, or at least the apostrophe used other than as a decorative feature (especially in the word "its") is an endangered species. But I'm going to have a nice bath and read the letters of the Mitford sisters.

Tomorrow, or strictly speaking later today, I shall read some blogs. I look forward to catching up with your exciting lives. And remember, "it's" has to mean "it is" or "it has". "Belonging to it" is "its". Don't let me down, now.

The cats are exhausted. All that marking wears a person out.


  1. You may be amused to hear that some years ago, realizing that I really didn't know the difference between "its" and "it's", I felt a deep sense of shame and made myself memorize it. Unfortunately, I now suspect that I'm out of control where commas and hyphens are concerned. I desperately need to crack open a copy of Strunk and White.

    Regarding apostrophes being an endangered species, one of my current peeves is people using them when they aren't necessary. For example, "CD's" for more than one CD.

    I'm glad your students are well informed regarding abortion, animal testing and similar weighty matters. Perhaps they can enlighten me.

  2. Oh, marking, how horrible for you. I can empathise. Thank goodness the catlets are so helpful.

    I have yet to start the academic year and am attempting to do a bit of writing of my own. As you can see, here I am, distracted already...

  3. I'm about to launch into a markfest - and I'm procrastinating here. I will not come back, I will not, until I'm through..

  4. Apostrophes. You've hit my sore spot. My children could say the words "superfluous apostrophes" from the age of 3 onwards. I have threatened to put them up for adoption for misusing them. And I wholeheartedly agree with Tanya. Shop signs offering "Pizza's" for sale. Grrrrr. I want to march in and ask "Pizza's WHAT??????"
    Best superfluous apostrophe use I ever saw: there used to be a bakery on Nicolson Street in Edinburgh, called Francis Irvine. The shop was being overhauled and I saw the signwriter working on (Gulp. Hurts to type it...) Franci's Irvine. I almost wept.

  5. Apostrophy use and the word definitely being spelled definately both drive me crazy. I've even seen that mistake on web pages. I think the English language is being destroyed by instant messaging. My grandchildren type an warp speed but it is all in a sort of shortcut code that only that generation understands.

  6. I crawled into work today to teach my classes, looked at the folders and thought about bringing them home, and then left them where they were. If I sleep all weekend, I will be energised enough to face them on Monday!And Tuesday. And Wednesday etc etc etc

  7. I think my parents gave themselves the same Mitford sisters book for Christmas!

    Good thing the catlets didn't try to help the same way as Inigo (parent's tabby) did: he peed on my Dad's last ever pile of papers to be marked.

    Now I'm afraid I have misused apostrophes here. I don't THINK I have, but I fear the scorn of the apostrophe mafia.

  8. Enjoy your bath and your books. Well-deserved after an accomplished

    I haven't read the Midford series. I tried several times and we didn't click. I'm just beginning Washington Square.

    Love those kitties!
    Hugs to you, Isabelle,

  9. My favourite is the vegetable use...
    "Pumpkin's for sale"
    I want to run in say "Who is Pumpkin, & what is s/he offering?"

    Those catlets are so shiny & spoilt looking. Just how cats should be.

  10. It's good that you have so much help from the kitty cats with all that marking you've had to do! :)
    How did the students do on 'your' and 'you're'? And 'me and him'? I'm glad that one or two have a sense of humour. That in itself would lighten the chore a little.
    We'll try not to let you down with the grammer..and I'll definitely spell 'definately' right. That one really bugs me too :)
    Winter has us in its frigid grip here. Hope you're staying warm over there.
    OK..grammar exercise completed! Goodnight, sleep tight.

  11. Ohhh, poor little tired catlets -- and you too. Hope by now you've long ago had your cozy bath and read yourself to sleep. I've always know the difference between its and it's -- just frequently am in too much of a hurry to proof well. I have the same problem with their and they're and a large assortment of homonyms. Happy Saturday to you dear Isabelle!

  12. It is the "I", "me" and "myself" confusion that drives me up the wall. And "Could of" instead of "could have". Shall we start a BRING BACK GRAMMAR campaign? I am a "grumpy old woman"!

  13. Can I just add that I am talking as a teacher of children who have not got a clue here??? Secondary school children, if you please.

  14. Do you remember what you took photos of before you owned cats/cats owned you?? Or is your camera on auto. pilot?!
    Thank you for your kind comment about my choice of work. I suppose life is like that, isn't it. There are people who excel in doing horrid things, and other people who try for the opposite.

  15. In my dreams, the education system becomes very embarrassed by the lack of grammar in modern society and modifies the school system so that it is taught properly. I know my school barely touched it. I owe a lot of my grammar knowledge to my mother!

  16. what is the catlet in the first picture playing with/snuggling up to/eating? Even enlarged I can't decide what it is tho I can seeit is exactly the sort of thing cats like to play pretend hunting with...

  17. To answer Tall Girl, I think it's a stretchy thing that Daughter 2 uses to tie her hair back. The catlets both consider her hair bands as their toys.

  18. Glad to hear IT'S all over for you, the marking that is. I can imagine that it must be a joy to mark papers from students with some sense of humour. Tell those two gorgeous kitties they've done a wonderful job and they need to have some fun now

  19. I fall in love with those cats every time I see them.

  20. Don't let catlet eat rubber hairband thingies!
    I think of you every time I don't misuse an apostrophe.
    Enjoy your soak; you wouldn't have caught Nancy Mitford getting 'its' and 'it's' wrong I'm sure.

  21. I'm sure Nancy Mitford would have given short shrift to people misusing "its" and "it's". I shall borrow the Mitford letters from my mother-in-law to whom we gave the book for Christmas. Well done on finishing the marking; it's one of my husband's least favourite things about being an academic. I offer to help him but he says I would be unnecessarily cruel!