I have found a new respect for my friend Carly. She works in the writing center at GVSU. I absolutely cannot stand proofreading people's papers when there are grammar errors in them (as there inevitably are), and I had to do that yesterday. Now I am blogging about it because I need a place to vent.
If a friend asks me to proofread a paper or essay for them, I don't mind at all. As a Language Arts major, I have the skills to help them out. I will NOT proofread it in front of them, though, because I get too worked up. Sometimes in class we have to do peer review in class, and that's tough. I have to contain myself when I get all frustrated.
Why do I get so frustrated by grammar and punctuation errors? I don't know. I just really, really do. For some reason I feel that all college students should know how to use basic grammar and punctuation. These are not strong points for my mom, so sometimes she will have me grade her students' papers for her. Well, she used to anyway. I don't do it anymore because it makes me too angry. I will literally sit and write all over the paper, sighing angrily and saying things out loud such as, "Oh my gosh WHY would you think a comma goes there?!?" or "YOU'VE MADE THAT MISTAKE FOUR TIMES!! CUT IT OUT!" or "I am going to call your old English teachers and tell them that they FAILED with you!" Yeah, it's pretty bleak.
Last night one of Rex's friends asked me to proofread a paper for him, and I just about lost it while I was proofreading. First of all, he asked me to proofread it and then handed me the computer. I gulped and said, "You want me to proofread it here? Right now?" I glanced nervously at Rex, and he just smiled. He knows how much I hate that. The friend said that yes, I did have to proofread it right then because the paper was due in a few hours. Blast. I steeled myself and decided that I would not freak out if there were grammar and punctuation errors. Besides, this guy is pretty smart. There probably wouldn't be any anyway.
Let me just give you a few snippets of the ensuing conversation I had:
Me: "Um, if i see something small that needs to be fixed, do you want me to fix it?"
Him: "Like what?"
Me: "Like indenting the first line of the paper..."
Him: "Okay, sure."
*gripping my leg to keep from freaking out...this is going to be a long paper*
Me: "I'm going to go ahead and capitalize this word because it's at the beginning of a sentence. Is that okay?"
Him: "I guess, if you're sure it's supposed to be capitalized."
Me: "Yes. I'm quite sure."
*digging my nails into the palm of my hand so hard it leaves marks*
Me: "I think a colon would work better in this sentence."
Him: "What's a colon?"
Me: "Uh...the thing with the two dots..."
Him: "Okay, whatever."
*biting my tongue to keep from saying something like, "Who let you pass elementary school English??"*
The good news is that I made it through, and I was able to keep my composure. I must say, though, it was HARD. I can't believe that Carly does this everyday to help people with their papers. I find it too emotionally taxing. I left in an absolutely horrible mood, upset with an education system that never taught him things such as colons and capitalizing the first letter of sentences. Rex found it humorous how much this angered me, but it really did. HOW is it okay that he didn't know those things?! He's not dumb! He definitely could have known them if someone would have TAUGHT him correctly!!!
If my future students don't use punctuation correctly, especially commas, I will just kill them. Then they won't grow up and make people proofread their horrible papers.
Perhaps that is a bit extreme; I must rethink that position.
Now I have vented, and I feel better. Thanks for reading. Want me to proofread any of your papers? Ha ha...