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Practice Makes Perfect

If you imagine that skilled writers are just born that way, think again. Here are some of the funniest, most honest comments I received from my teachers.

Best Brutal Comments Ever

“Sarcastic at parts, but we’ll take what we can get.”

Mrs. Anderson – Junior AP English (Topic: Macbeth)


“Save it for the garden!” was his comment about an entire introduction from a Hamlet paper.  “Improved by deletion!” another comment declares.  “Too vague!” “Too general,” and over and over again “specificity!” he wrote.

Mr. Walker – Senior AP English (Topic: Hamlet)

Another typical comment, about a poem I don’t even remember reading said, “This is quite mixed.  Parts are quite adequate, but you do miss at least one major point which was discussed in class.  Sorry you missed that conversation.”

Mr. Walker – Senior AP English (Topic…who remembers this poem????)


“You seem to have some fear of citing evidence.”

“You do love the sweeping historical generalization.  The less history we teach, the more the students feel they know.”

“You’ve got a couple of ideas here, but what exactly is the argument?”

Perhaps my favorite comment was emblazoned upon a paragraph where I had devolved into an overly precious and self-indulgent metaphor, likening moral corruption in Mansfield Park to a virus.  “Indeed,” Professor Jenkins chortled, “sounds like the Surgeon General.”

Dr. Owen Jenkins, Carleton College (topic: papers on the many works of Jane Austen)

Whatever kinds of mistakes you have made, you are probably not alone!