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All Things Writerly: How to Aggravate an English Teacher


Class is in session.

A peaceful creature by nature, the English teacher cannot easily be turned to the dark side.  But when finally pushed to his or her breaking point…  Hoo boy.  Hide your kids, hide your wife.  Here are the top six ways to aggravate an English teacher.  Or, you know, someone who enjoys basic grammar in his or her daily life.  Pay attention.

Murder Everything You Love

1. Mispronouncing Words While Speaking
One of the worst things you can do in front of an English teacher is pronounce a word incorrectly.  Whether you’re talking about the current state of the country’s government (or goverment), trying your very best to just continue on overcoming obstacles and persevering (or perservering), eating a nice bowl of strawberry sherbet (or sherbert), visiting on the phone with your favorite aunt (or ont), slipping a rent check into an envelope (or onvelope), debating with colleagues about the pros and the cons of nuclear (or nucular) power, turning the channel on television when an old advertisement (or advertisment) comes on, stirring the pot and being mischievous (or mischevious), or simply talking about just how much people constantly mispronouncing (or mispronunciating) words frustrates you, you’ve certainly got your work cut out for you if you’re a not a good speaker.  You need t0 pay attention to pronunciation.  You need to understand proper terminology usage.  And most of all, if you don’t understand how to speak publicly, get someone else to do it for you.  There have been many people throughout modern history who would have benefited from a speech class or two.  Or maybe just keeping their own mouths shut.  Take former President George W. Bush, for example.  He loved commending schools, friends, and fellow politicians for “exemplorary” their work throughout the eight years of his presidency.  In fact, there is an entire website out there that’s sole function is to point out all of the “Bushisms” that our country (and others across the globe) still remember fondly.  He may have been the most powerful man in the world for eight long years, but by golly, he sure needed a few lessons on how to properly speecherize ‘n stuff.


2. Combining Two Words into One Fake Word
This should be Common Sense 101, but for some reason, it usually isn’t.  A lot.  All right.  Never mind.  Two words.  Speaking of never mind.  This is a simple fix.  Write everything in spellcheck mode before you speak.  And don’t tell Nirvana, because they would be really mad to know that Kurt Cobain was not killed by himself.  He was not killed by Courtney Love.  He was killed by the English language fairy.


Kurt Cobain Mind Blown

3. Randomly Using Apostrophes or Adding Letters
Stop making things plural on accident.  Stop saying stuff owns other stuff because you panic.  And for the love of god, please, stop adding letters to words.  Life is not a Scrabble game.  There are not extra points for extra letters.  Just extra judgment.  Take another famous politician, for example.  Former Vice President Dan Quayle once visited a grade school and had a spelling bee, in which he failed, because he didn’t know how to spell the word “potato.”  He debated for a bit, then added an “e” at the end of the word.  The worst part about this was not the fact that it was recorded and released for the rest of the world to know and remember forever.  No, the worst was the fact that not one person in the room, the teacher included, corrected his dumb ass.  It was sixth-grader who had to point out his colossal failure.


4. Citing Sources using APA instead of MLA

It seems nitpicky, but it’s very important to the academic types of the world.  Especially English teachers.  Don’t break their egos and don’t hurt their feelings.  And in return, they will not fail you for your efforts.  But if you want to face the wrath of said crushed ego, go right ahead.  But be forewarned: Blatant disregard for the MLA Handbook will most likely result in your death.


5. Abbreviating and Text Speech

Your parents probably told you that you were special and you could be anything.  Well, that’s true, to a certain extent.   But one thing that you cannot be?  A fake word.  “LOL” isn’t a word.  In fact, “laughing out loud” is grammatically incorrect anyway, so even if you did want to use an “abbreve” to prove your hipness, it would be technically “LA,” short for “laugh aloud.”  But that isn’t where it ends.  Students actually think it’s okay to use abbreviations, text speak, and emoticons (god help us all) in their papers.  It takes every ounce of will power in their teachers not to add “ML” to their grade of “F.”

Totes Magoats

6. Using Words that Are Not Really Words
Irregardless is not a word.  Unthawing something is physically impossible.  Flustrated is a combination of frustrated and flustered, but adding things together does not make them cooler.  Look at Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck.  Together they were okay, but Bennifer was a force that needed to be destroyed.  That’s something that we can all be in “agreeance” about.  Also: You cannot orientate something, when orienting not only does the same thing, but is grammatically correct.  And if you interchange “d” with “b” and you don’t have dyslexia or aren’t six years old, that doesn’t “supposably” make you an idiot.  It does make you an idiot.  Unless you’re the Riddler or another equally unsuccessful super-villain, there is no need to blame others, reveal your secret plan in time to be easily defeated, or make up words to sound smarter.  So don’t make up words.  It will make people want to punch you.



So there you have it.  Figure it out.  Or else.

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