“This view is held to be true by many, namely Radley Balko.”

Last semester’s textbook They Say/I Say includes a section of articles on American obesity, fast food, and related social issues. I asked students to develop a thesis for an argument that would use materials from two or three of those articles for support.

Radley Balko, author of one of the articles, maintained that people should be held responsible for the consequences of their choices and therefore insurance companies and the government should not be forced to pay for their healthcare, and fast-food restaurants should not be found liable in health-related lawsuits. My student was referring to his article, and to him, in her essay.

What my student fails to realize (that’s Student Speak–writers who choose not to say something always are assumed to “fail to realize” that thing) is that the term “namely” does not mean “for example.”

Hence this marvelous assertion that equates one man with many. Perhaps Mr. Balko would be pleased that his voice carries so much, and such wide, authority.

I can say no more! But I welcome your comments, as ever.

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About RAB

Teacher of English writing and literature (college-level); academic-freedom activist; editor and copy editor; theater director, costumer, actress, playwright. View all posts by RAB

4 responses to ““This view is held to be true by many, namely Radley Balko.”

  • philosophermouseofthehedge

    We really need to demand that students write more from grades 1-12.
    (So much of this would be corrected before they get to you. They don’t seem to know what words mean.)
    Or we need to demand they pay attention and take course work seriously.
    Sadly, it’s probably ignorance from little reading of worthy materials and lack of serious writing practice.
    And a change in grading attitudes in public schools? No, you did not get an “A”. Everyone is not a winner unless he/she performs above what is expected by an average student at this grade level. (and spelling counts)
    It’s good you have a strong sense of humor!

  • yearstricken

    Online dictionaries are just a click away, yet students don’t or won’t take the time to look words up. Do they see it as a sign of weakness, or are they so overly confident they just don’t fee the need to do so?

  • RAB

    I think it’s the latter. Doesn’t occur to them that they might not actually know what the word means. BUT how could it not?

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