David R. Henderson  

Markets for Everything, Including Bad Grammar

Outline for a Talk... Immigration and the Minimum Wa...
Gun Control is when you keep firearms plus guns away from people. Many people think that gun control is right because they think keeping people away from guns will reduce the amount of deaths each year. They also think that guns cause many of the deaths that had been committed each year. Also when ever people hear the word gun, the thoughts are of violence and negativity. Many people, myself included think gun control is wrong because we know that it is not necessary, since we know that guns were not involved in many of the deaths caused each year. While many other people disagree and think it is good because of the safety for people. In this essay I will tell you why gun control is unnecessary and why there shouldn?t be any gun control at all.
This is a verbatim quote from the opening paragraph of an essay for rent on the web site, 123helpme!com. Six of the seven sentences contain an error in grammar or a typo.

Question: Are the grammar mistakes intentional because otherwise a student who cheated by using a perfect-grammar essay would become suspect simply by virtue of good grammar?

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COMMENTS (14 to date)
Peter St. Onge writes:

Interesting question. I think spelling mistakes could run that way, since any student wanting to fix them could. Grammar errors seem less user-friendly, and so I'd plunk for unintentional error. I suspect it's a matter of the nationality of the author.

liberty writes:

If they were half-way decent essays (at least) but with grammatical problems, it could be that it would force the student to make some changes, which would be good because then a quick internet search would not reveal where the essay came from (and there would be value to purchasing an essay that you had to rework if the content was good). That does not appear to be the case in this instance though.

Support for your claim (that they want bad grammar so its believable) comes from the rating system (check the side bar). Presumably it is not only a case of buying better essays if you can afford them, but also buying worse essays on purpose so that your teacher might believe you wrote them.

AC writes:

Perhaps a tutor can customize his or her services: tell me how bad of a student you are, and I will include errors as appropriate.

Stephen Smith writes:

Doubtful...that essay is poorly written and the errors are fairly minor, so I don't see much of a reason to think that the errors are intentional.

Bob Murphy writes:

I don't think that writer should have a gun.

Troy Camplin writes:

Well, I have actually been a college English composition teacher, so let me just say that if I had a student who was making these kinds of errors, and they turned in this paper, there wouldn't be any red flags for me -- while if they suddenly turned in a great paper, it would send up red flags, and I would get online and try to find it. So my guess is that it is intentional -- or, at least, it was intentionally selected because it has those errors.

Jeremy, Alabama writes:

My impression is that this is well above average for US high school graduates. So, the mistakes are not intentional and the author might even have been proud.

JS Allen writes:

If not intentional, it's certainly useful. As a student, I used to write term papers for cash, and would take samples of my customers' writing, and mimic the same grammatical errors that characterized each person's writing. It was the poor grammar that got me off the hook when one of my customer's papers was called into suspicion -- she had paid me for a B, and was used to getting D's, and the teacher couldn't believe that the student was capable of getting a B.

Nonchan writes:

Someone trying to make money by selling essays online is probably willing to post just about anything if he can maximize his profits by supplying quantity+diversity over quality material.

Additionally, it depends on having a teacher who cares more about whether his students cheat than learn to use grammar properly. Well, not exactly, but it certainly depends on the grading/teaching style of the teacher and how that factors into the student's cost/benefit analysis. For instance, if the teacher takes grammar into account when grading the paper, how many points is the student willing to sacrifice against the greater risk of being caught cheating?

Troy Camplin writes:

I always made my students rewrite their papers at least once (usually twice), so they ended up learning something anyway in the revisions. Assuming I didn't catch them cheating, which I often did.

Pat Donnelly writes:

The exercise seems to be self defeating and will, like bad currency, cause exposure to the worst of all outcomes, badly written and requiring no thought at all.

A super-test is possible: each student must write a three hour essay in the exam hall, each term.

A touchstone, or standard, of their ability to compose and express.

I like using commas and despise those who try to stamp them out, merely because they are defeated by them!

parviziyi writes:

I find nothing wrong with that writer's style or grammar, with the small exception that the sentence begining "While..." should begin "Meanwhile...".

His sentence "Gun Control is when you keep firearms plus guns away from people." is stylisically unobjectionable as far as I'm concerned. I don't know a difference between firearms and guns, but that's semantic issue not grammar.

johnboy writes:

If you can't find the six errors, then you ought to consider going back to school. There are defintiely six errors.

Although the average person probably would not be able to find them, so don't feel bad if you can't.

Dan Weber writes:

I know someone who sold essays in college, but she stopped when one of her customers got an "F." Beneath that grade was written "YOU DID NOT WRITE THIS."

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