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What’s another word for “Gah”?

[ 49 ] December 13, 2012 |

SEK: What you have here is a solid B+ paper. You need to elevate your diction if you want to convince me that this is an A.

STUDENT: So I need to sound more academic?

SEK: Yes.

STUDENT: So I need to predicate the logic of my arguments on rhetorical substance of the visual nature of the dynamic?

SEK: Come again?

STUDENT: If I accentuate the propositional strength of my argumentative units —

SEK: What are you doing?

STUDENT: Convincing you to give me an A?

SEK: Don’t be that guy.


Comments (49)

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  1. C.S says:

    Kid deserves an “A”. At least by the terms you laid out. If you wanted him to write a better paper you should have told him he needed to sound less academic, not more.

  2. SEK says:

    And before Freddie asks, this post places me to the left of Scott and the right of Loomis, I think. (Sorry, those threads about political purity that lump the lot of us together confuse me. Or maybe they just make me feel left out. Where’s my unwarranted opprobrium, damn it?)

  3. Murc says:

    I’m with C.S on this. Kid demonstrated on the spot he has a mastery of academic diction. Heck, in the link you even lament “Why must charges importune their prose with exorbitant diction?”

    He gave you what you wanted.

    • NonyNony says:

      Kid demonstrated on the spot he has a mastery of academic diction.

      No, the kid demonstrated on the spot that he has a passing familiarity with the academic practice of throwing up a word cloud the way a squid throws up a cloud of ink to slink away unseen.

      Yes many academics do this. No, it is not something that should be rewarded.

      Yes it is rewarded by many peer reviewers who read such word clouds and are bizarrely impressed by them instead of printing them out, scrawling “for the love of GOD MAKE IT STOP” on the print outs in their own blood, and mailing them back to the authors. I’ve been told that doing this would violate the anonymity of peer review and that filling out the online form is always better, but I’m not sure they get the point of just what a sin against the sharing of knowledge this kind of crap is without the blood.

      • The Lorax says:

        A student writes like this and she loses points with me. But I’m in philosophy.

      • Brandon C. says:

        I was always annoyed when we had to read the works of professor’s who wrote like this in the Classics. I don’t care about big words but if I can’t even understand your point because of your diction there is an issue…

        Simpler is always better. As long as it reads like a paper and not a text message.

        I remember one professor always telling us, “Nouns and verbs. Nouns and verbs.”

  4. Leeds man says:

    What’s an argumentative unit? Can it be in mks or cgs?

  5. Sammy says:

    So off went the Emperor in procession under his splendid canopy. Everyone in the streets and the windows said, “Oh, how fine are the Emperor’s essays! Don’t they fit him to perfection? And see his long words!” Nobody would confess that he couldn’t see any meaning, for that would prove him either unfit for his position, or a fool. No essay the Emperor had worn before was ever such a complete success.

    “But he hasn’t got anything on,” a student said.

    “Did you ever hear such innocent prattle?” said SEK.

  6. Michael H Schneider says:

    Saying “elevate your diction” when what you mean is ‘use formal rather than informal language’ is a perfect example of precisely what’s wrong with your position.

    You’re trolling your own blog, aren’t you?

  7. Warren Terra says:

    You should have told him his response was perfectly cromulent.

  8. wengler says:

    Fuck, man. I would’ve just taken the B+.

  9. Lasker says:

    To be fair you ought to have specified whether it was the diction of his paper or of his grade-grubbing that needed to be elevated. I thought his response hedged this issue rather nicely.

  10. Barry Freed says:

    Whatever happened to “eschew obfuscation”?

  11. wetcasements says:

    When I taught freshmen comp as a grad. instructor we were reminded that our job was to get students writing in as clear and jargon-free a style as possible.

    Telling a kid to “write more like an academic” sounds like a recipe for disaster.

  12. stibbert says:

    srsly, the interaction between SEK & CAT in the package-tape scene had more educational value.

    Can STUDENT be nudged towards a career in packaging? Will there be video of his/her apprenticeship w/ the Electric Stapler?

  13. Manju says:

    SEK: Don’t be that guy.

    Yeah…Be this guy instead.

  14. Book says:

    Is this from an American spin-off of Yes Minister!?

  15. Hogan says:

    “Counterpoint the surrealism of the underlying metaphor” . . . Death is too good for them.

  16. chris y says:

    A or B+, the kid won and you lost. And you know it. Your department should now get up a collection to buy you a tweed jacket with leather patches on the elbows, and throw a sherry party to welcome you to the club.

  17. NBarnes says:

    I think the kid’s earned an A-. Their extemporaneous editing seems completely convincing.

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