Monday, 28 March 2011

Fare enuf

This morning I received back from my tutor the latest assignment in my proofreading course - marked-up, graded and with copious comments on a separate sheet. Obviously, everyone has their strengths and weaknesses, but I was appalled by some of my errors. I left uncorrected, for example, the words 'astromony' and 'reliabilty', and allowed one particular phrase to stand which, given that I live on an island with boat-only access, was unforgivable. The phrase was 'fairing upstream'. 'Fairing?' With a fare wind and fair-paying passengers, no doubt. How embarrassing. It's a fare cop. Fare's fare. Put it down to experience and hope to fair better next time.

This is no reflection on my tutor, who is scrupulously fair (see, I do know the difference) and also generous with her advice, but in one or two grey areas it's tempting to say, 'But I thought..' That, however, might be to invite one of the most unproductive, but perennially popular, exchanges between teacher and pupil:

'But I thought..'
'That's the point, Michael - you didn't think, did you?'
There's really no answer to that, so my own technique as a schoolboy was to look at the floor in hope of getting away without supplying one.
'Did you?'
Give it a few more seconds..
'DID you?'
'No what?'
'No, Sir.'

Hopefully I can channel my frustration at myself into hard work and renewed concentration for the remainder of the course.
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