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Ain't This Write?

Student Assignment (2)

Prepare the following on separate sheets of paper, properly headed.  Proofread your work for clarity, legibility, punctuation, capitalization, spelling, conciseness and complete sentences.

Part 1 – due Monday

    1. Choose one of the following sentences with which to work.
  1. Arabs wear turbines on their heads.
  2. We had a longer holiday than usual this year because the school was closed for altercations.
  3. The difference between a king and a president is that a king is the son of his father, but a president isn’t.
    1. As it is written, what does your choice mean?
    2. What writing error did the author make in the sentence you chose?
    3. Rewrite the sentence so that it clearly states what its author most likely intended.

I’ll correct part 1 and return it to you on Tuesday. Do not proceed to part 2 until you have carefully reviewed what you did right and wrong in part 1.

Part 2 – due Wednesday

    1. Choose one of the following sentences with which to work.
  1. The pedestrian had no idea which direction to run, so I ran over him.
  2. I had been driving for about 40 years, when I fell asleep at the wheel and had an accident.
  3. My car sustained no damage whatsoever, and the other car somewhat less.
    1. As it is written, what does your choice mean?
    2. What writing error did the author make in the sentence you chose?
    3. Rewrite the sentence so that it clearly states what its author most likely intended.

Example discussed in class on Friday:

    1. When I saw I could not avoid a collision, I stepped on the gas and crashed into the other car.
    2. It means that, by stepping on the gas, the author intentionally made the accident worse than it otherwise would have been.
    3. The author left unstated a key step in his/her thought process.
    4. In a last ditch effort to avoid a collision, I stepped on the gas to try to get around the other car before it hit me.

Richard Lederer collected the sentences that form the basis of the above assignments. He published them in his book Anguished English (Dell Laurel Leaf, 1989).

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original web posting: Thursday, June 24, 1998
last modified: Thursday, January 27, 2005