an 'effing 90%???!

ok, no lie, WTF.

i have to admit that i'm a total nerd about writing. i love to write. not fiction so much, but i really don't mind writing papers. yes, my writing style can be informal (and i'm talking more about papers than the blog - sometimes my blog is highly disjointed due to its stream of consciousness nature).

but i was in the ib program. all we did was write. write and write and write and write. i can fucking write a paper in my sleep.

i'm a pretty good writer.

so when i get a 90% because my "sentences are too long" and that my "use of dashes - is not correct," i get irritated.

if any of my dear readers are grammar nerds/snobs/literate, please enlighten me and put me in my place. sometimes i need it.

and blah-blah-blah, yes, a 90% is an "a."
i think it's still just a gut reaction.
it's a *low* a.
also, in high school, my grading scale was 94-100 was an "a."
a 90 was a "b."

what follows here are the sentences wherein have i have used the dash.


To actually learn about the skeleton - of how bone is formed and how it functions - is a completely different story, one of strength and fragility, of dynamic growth and decline.

Each osteon has a central canal along which run veins, arteries and nerves; occassionally there are perforating canals which run perpendicular to the central canals - they allow blood vessels to connect to each other inside this matrix of bone and permit the flow of nutrients and waste.
(hm, possibly my use of the semi-colon was not correct. this i admit.)

As one ages, however, much of the red bone marrow will change to yellow bone marrow - a fatty tissue. Further on, by old age, much of this yellow bone marrow will become a reddish jelly - gelatinous bone marrow.

The hard network of this spongy bone is called trabeculae - its structure bequeaths an incredible amount of strength to the ends of long bone and enables the ends to absorb stress from any angle, a very important feature to have at the joints.
(maybe i could have gone into *why* it was an important feature here.)

Between these two areas is the epiphyseal plate - this is the area where growth will occur in length in growing humans.

It basically keeps bones from grinding against each other - creating a well-oiled joint.
(ok, maybe this could have been a comma.)

The makeup of bone is approximately one third proteins and two thirds mineral; the protein component is mainly an organic material - collagen - which gives bone its flexibility, while the mineral component is a combination of mostly calcium and phosphorus which gives bone its hardness.

A delicate balance between these two materials must be maintained - not enough protein and the bone will become brittle and break easily, not enough minerals and it will end up too flexible and soft.

As the osteoblasts create bone, they mature into osteoclasts - cells that have built themselves into a little cell surrounded by hard matrix.

Their job is to break down bone - they secrete hydrogen ions to make hydrochloric acid (to dissolve minerals) and an acid enzyme ( to braek down the protein fibers).

There are two main types of fractures - open reduction and closed reduction.

Next, this tissue is formed into a soft callus made primarily of cartilage - a hard mineral callus will then replace the soft callus.

Lastly is the remodeling - there will be a larger lump at the breakage site - in a healthly and normal person, this lump will eventually disappear over a few months. (i admit, this is awkward.)


i guess you get the point.

here's what st. martin's handbook has to say about dashes:

pairs of dashes allow a writer to interrupt a sentence to insert a comment or highlight particular marterial. in contrast to parentheses, dashes give more rather than less emphasis to the material they enclose.
a single dash sets off a comment or emphasizes material at the end of a sentence. it also marks a sudden shift in tone, introduces a summary or explanation of what has come before, and indicates hesitation in speech.

i guess my point is that i don't understand why i didn't at least give a 95%. maybe i used a few too many (?), but that hardly constitutes 10 points off. in my must humble (ha!) opinion. he said that he would grade easy! cakewalk! as long as there weren't super bad grammatical mistakes and that there were paragraphs and an intro and a conclusion... no problem!


please, berate me if i'm wrong. erikina? mich?


Madge said...

I am not Erikina or Mich.
But I'll tell you something: I love semicolons. If I could marry a semicolon, I would. We would run off together and procreate more semicolons. There are not enough of them in the world; you should be angry that you were accused of using your semicolon incorrectly!

You've been had by the big brains at USF.

It happens to the best of us.

The APA definition of a semicolon:

Use a semicolon to separate two independent clauses that are not joined by a conjuction (also to separate elements in a series that already contain commas, but this is not the case here).

I can't help you with the " - " - I don't use it enough in formal papers.

Erika said...

You can tell your professor to go fuck him/herself with some red jelly-gelatinous bone marrow.

Bobby said...

i had a teacher that refulsed to allow us to use dashes at all. bastards.

Meghan said...

i personally am all about the hyphen. not hymen, hyphen (sorry, my roomie is reading over my shoulder). anyways...

according to the Pocket Wadsworth Handbook....

"Like commas, dashes can set off nonessential material, but unlike commas, dashes call attention to the material they set off. When you type, you indicate a dash with two unspaced hyphens..."

yeah, nothing good, sorry. cure halloween outfit, btw... i chuckled to myself.

FRITZ said...


First of all, you are a perfectionist; therefore, you will make an excellent scientist/pharmacist/caregiver.

I enjoy writing, and think I am decent at it. There are some things that come to mind regarding your use of the dash. I am also a dash addict.

I imagine overuse of the dash may indicate some rather parenthetical thoughts-as evidenced by my own tangental writing. Perhaps, when writing a scientific paper, one should avoid lengthy sentences and shorten the paragraph structure. Now, don't get me wrong. Your writing actually made the subject interesting; scienctists may be looking for clarity, not just a good read.

Please don't take offense; I believe you are being too MUCH of a perfectionist and should see that you ARE a good writer.

Christopher said...

Oh, please. Those are fine sentences! I mean, whenever you can work the word "bequeath" into a discussion of spongy bone stress... DO IT. (Yes yes, that's little-known Rule 9(a) from Strunk & White.)

I guess a lot of the sentences did have the structure [one whole sentence] [dash] [another whole sentence] -- which I admit isn't the most elegant. Or at least not as elegant as the structure where one sentence -- such as this very sentence right here -- is interrupted halfway through by another mini-sentence or clause.

But I think you should buy your professor a book of Emily Dickinson poetry & teach him a little something about overuse --
of --

kimberlina said...

hark (stolen from madge) - i have gotten over my irritation.

i could see that it could be less elegant this way - i'll have to work on it in the future.

man, i hate when i type faster than i think. some things shouldn't be ranted about except to boyfriends. ;)