Students Write the Darnedest Things

ebook Gaffes, Goofs, Blunders and Unintended Wisdom from Actual College Papers

By Pamela Hill Nettleton

cover image of Students Write the Darnedest Things

Sign up to save your library

With an OverDrive account, you can save your favorite libraries for at-a-glance information about availability. Find out more about OverDrive accounts.

   Not today

Find this title in Libby, the library reading app by OverDrive.

app-store-button-en.svg play-store-badge-en.svg

Search for a digital library with this title

Title found at these libraries:


Pamela Hill Nettleton is a writer, editor, and professor who has taught writing at top universities for three decades. Everyone knows she loves her students. She's loved for loving her students.

But Lord. Their essays.

Sometimes she'll laugh so hard she has Earl Gray squirting out of her nose. Other times, she'll feel like weeping quietly into a handkerchief. On occasion, she spots something so egregious she's forced to give up grading for the night and head straight for the chocolate.

Each of the 250 quotes in this book is from a real student, submitted in an actual assignment. The punctuation, spelling, grammar, and conceptual errors are left intact as written. Most are from Nettleton's college courses; some have been provided by colleagues who have followed her hilarious posts on social media for years.

As it turns out, these gaffes, goofs, and blunders are excellent for use (anonymously in future classes) as a teaching aid. Seeing actual mistakes made by peers, students are often galvanized to (gasp!) reread their sentences and double-check their work, lest they end up in the next edition of Students Write the Darnedest Things.

In the end, Nettleton writes, "The students who made these errors of haste, naivete, inexperience, and—I'll go ahead and say it—the passing cluelessness of youth, help us all challenge our assumptions and work to express ourselves more clearly."

Dedicated to student writers everywhere—and especially to the teachers who read them.

Students Write the Darnedest Things