righting the writing

Thanks to the Mouse for the title to this one.  And to no specific student or colleague for the rest.  

I’m righting the writing,
un-verbing the nouns,
untangling the syntax
so meaning is found.
I’m checking the captions,
of tables and graphs,
making sure words
and pictures all match.
Now, citations,
let’s put them in order,
remember you need
APA format.
Time for a spell-check,
a grammar check too,
that all seams good,
we’re almost through…
Check readability …
Oh, Flesch and Kincaid,
if they had to read this
they’d roll in their graves!
Break up the sentences,
remove orphaned clauses,
delete every ‘thus’
from effects with no causes.
Excise repetition,
for your poor reader’s sake,
or bind in some no-doze
to keep them awake.
There’s only one thing
that worries me still,
there isn’t much content
for the pages you’ve filled.
But I’m sure the examiners
will think that you’re rocked it
when the writing’s this good,
and you’ll get your doctorate.


Filed under poem, rants

19 responses to “righting the writing

  1. Nice one Kate….I’m told to get a doctorate you gotta be skilled with ante(cedents)…maybe that’s why I missed out?

  2. What? You write a damn doctorate and then you have to EDIT it?! 😀 Seriously though, it is tough. All the skills you need as a scientist, I mean. There’s the science part – the questioning, the hypothesizing, the planning of a logical sequence to test a theory, the testing, the patience. And then you have to write about the results logically, convincingly, sensibly. And then you have to market it. And, if the universities I have worked at are anything to go by, you probably have to do your professor’s credit card balances and book his/her travel too while you’re at it.

    • We must have worked at different unis – I typically book travel for my students, and I edit their theses… 😀
      Although I have had colleagues like that, and I used to run a support program for HDRs at one particular uni where I heard a lot of bad stories about supervisors.

      • Oh gosh. Sorry. I was probably horribly rude. I was just being sympathetic to how hard it is being a scientist. But instead I have ended up effectively criticizing you. I am an idiot. The professors where I worked got their PHD students doing lots of stuff for them. But, that being said, their PHD students probably weren’t submitting applications for funding. So I was probably mixing up two ideas. I was very tired, as per my poem if last night. Sorry for being so rude!

        • No, no, not at all!!! You weren’t in any way rude, and I certainly didn’t read it that way.
          I could tell you some absolute horror stories about supervisors… mind you there are some terrible students as well.
          I think I do more for my students than most supervisors do, but then I also can’t bear bad writing in a thesis so I end up fixing stuff that most supervisors wouldn’t worry about.

        • 😂. Thank you for your understanding.

  3. Thanks for the shout out, Kate. I don’t envy you and your current undertaking.

  4. Guilty on most things you have listed.

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