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Advanced Placement of Malaprops

When you run into malaprops among Advanced Placement students, you really have to ruminate over the condition of education. “Reading 800-plus Advanced Placement essays at a table of other people doing the same thing tends to inspire waves of correctorial comments of the ‘kids say the darndest/silliest/inanest things’ variety,” Lisa Fluet writes in the October 8, 2010 issue of The Chronicle Review.

Fluet, an assistant professor of English at Boston College, shared a few of these:

“Some new vocabulary I learned, and some things students asked me to contemplate as a reader of their essays:

“‘Dead ass’ means ‘very serious,’ Example:

“‘Dude, are you serious?’

“‘Dude, I’m dead ass.’

“The short imperative answer to an essay question pertaining to exile: ‘See Lord of the Flies.’

“A self-important character can be very ‘egotesticle.’ Such a character may also be guilty of ‘hipocracy’ (government by the hips, for the hips). Tone and irony can be very ‘lucifying’ in making these attributes clear to readers.”

With writing like this, these students should be prime candidates for jobs with that other AP—the Associated Press.

Malcolm A. Kline is the Executive Director of Accuracy in Academia [1].

If you would like to comment on this article, e-mail mal.kline@academia.org [2]