Among the great joys of teaching high school English is discovering the occasional swine among pearls.  I speak, of course, of the inadvertently funny things my students write, like my all time favorite, written by a brilliant student who relied just a little too much on spell check:

Utah remains the primary place for morons to worship freely.

One might be tempted to think these syntactic car wrecks are evidence of the failure of our public schools, but for the most part, they’re just the opposite.  My best students write most of these little barnyard gems.  How can this be possible?  They’re the kids most likely to take risks in writing, to push the limits of their knowledge and writing ability, and in that effort, they sometimes step into the Twilight Zone of lost and deranged verbiage.  And even the kids who make these humorous mistakes through laziness are universally capable of doing much better.

I therefore present this compilation of goodies from a few years ago. Enjoy. 

I’m Glad You Clarified That Department:  “I like how they were trying to help the drunken man from they guy that said he would hurt him if he heard him after one.”

What About Ointments? Department:  “Can a salve ever really be free?”

I Hate It When That Happens Department:  “When she arrived, she found her boyfriend and her best friend together, half-naked, hissing.”

Past Tense Verbs Can Be Deadly Department:  “The detectives deduce that the made killed him.”

Uniformity Is A Good Thing Department:  “People shouldn’t hide the cursing, bad language, racism or sexuality from anyone; it just makes the others uniformed.”

Farmland Pastry Department:  “One was a pasture who was given the head roll because he had helped raised the money for the film.”

The Art Expired?  “It did not show at least one bit of art that could have been something expirational.”

Spotty Essay Department:  “The actors were all in the right spots for certain spots.  In the beginning it seemed like they weren’t, but after awhile they fell into the right spots.”

Who Was The First American in Space?  “Louis Armstrong.”

Wasn’t That Kind of Heavy?  “Bush was wearing a suite.”

How Old Is He Again?  “My grandpa lived through the Renaissance.”

Stringed Religious Instruments in Prison Department:  “Jesus Christ did not have an internment relationship with Mary Mandolin.”

How About Drilled or Bandsawed? Department:  “The strategic game made by the Owls was planed by the head coach.”

Would You Like The Hot Mud Bath Too Mr. Pickens?  “T. Boone Pickens is a smart, charitable businessman who has been given a bad wrap by the media.”

Natural Automobile Rights Department:  “We tried to give the man a car but we were inalienable to.”

Including Me Department:  Assignment—Use “subsidy” in a sentence:  “Most students at JHS don’t know the definition of  ‘subsidy’.”

In Depth Explanations Department:  “What he did was dumb because it was dumb.”

She Did That AfterDepartment:  “Private Michelle Norris was awarded the Military Cross for saving her commander after being shot in the head under fire.”

You Have a What?  “I have a low totalitarian for listening.”

How About The Agreement With The Disagreement? Department:  “Every year, nations find it a major topic to discuss and there are always many who disagree with the agreement in the government.”

Would You Like a Nice Drink of Tap Water With That?  “Sewers are a big deal in every society seeing as they transport waste away from an area and bring fresh water to that area.”

I Hate It When That Happens:  “When Caesar was assinated by the senate Antony was the one who broke the news to Cleopatra…”

Where, Exactly, Was He? Department:  “Once she dismissed them she laid upon the bed and laid the asp on her chest and waited for the venom to take her beloved Mark Antony.”

So, They Defended It Then? Department:  “There were 179 people inside the Alamo, defending it.  These people were known as the defenders of the Alamo.”

Yeah, It Sure Can Be Forceful:  “The resilient man was married again after his fifth deforce.”

45°?  “Watson is referred to as an angle.”

I Knew Those Tests Were Bad! Department:  “They gave people who participated in the research one of three slandered tests…”

I Always Knew Teachers Were Crazy! Department:  “There are long nights involved in the process, needs to be met, goals to achieve, and success to be mad.”

I Hope They Can Swim:  “…the temperature in the arctic areas is rising which is leading to the melting of large bodies of water where most animals are.”

Test Answers Are Fun! Department:  “At the beginning of the play, Caesar is celebrating his victory over (A) Trichinosis.”

More Test Answers Are Fun! Department: “Speaking over Brutus’ body, Antony said (D) Publius carborundum, est persnickitus balonius.”

Even More Test Answers Are Fun! Department:  What is the poetic form of Julius Caesar?  “Complicated to read.”

As Opposed To Three Double Interests?  “He [George Washington] pursued two double interests:  military arts and western expansion.”

I’m Glad to Hear That Department:  “Married [George Washington] to a woman, Martha Dandridge Custis…”

Small Wars and Decisiveness Department:  “As the fight with the mother country grew quite small, he [Washington] kind of but firmly voiced his resistance to the laws.”

Is That Like A Lawn Mower?  “…[Washington] soon realized that the nation…was not working very well, so he became a will mover in the steps leading to the Constitutional Convention…”

He What?  Department:  “In his [Washington’s] Farewell Address, he urged his countrymen to foreshadow excessive party spirit and geographical alliances.”

Motor Oil and Leadership Department:  “He [Washington] led them viscously at his enemy.”

Continuing The Continuation Department:  “Americans today continue to cherish George Washington and will continue to.”

Half Of A Third Of A Fifth Of All Golfers Agree:  “For the most part, all golfers have the same thoughts on golf being in the Olympics.”

Isn’t That What Most of Them Are Called?  “”Most of these scrolls [the Dead Sea Scrolls] were found by a man named Bedouin…”

So, It Makes Less of the Trash Smaller? “And this [recycling] could help so much because it reduces less of the trash being thrown in the landfills.”

Use “Comatose” In A Complete Sentence:  “The comatose didn’t belong in that sentence.”

I Had No Idea School Was So Deadly! Department:  “Kids need time to decompose and rest.”

What Is An Oratorio?  “A kind of dentist.”

Head Over What?  “The reporters were head over hills for them.”

Note To Self:  Don’t Think About Lunch When Writing:  “Some of the things ABC cut out of Palin’s comments were just for broccoli reasons…”

So, Was There a Story or Not?:  “In unit 13 it was a good story…but this story really didn’t have a story either.”

Really?  “A polydactyl is also a type of dinosaur.”

Well, He Really Liked The Ladies… “Could the assignation of J.F.K the 36th President of the United States been prevented?”

Are They Still Making That Stuff?  Department:  “When you get old you have to take geriatrics.”

Aren’t They A Little Old For That? Department:  “My great grandpa probably had a doctor that studs geriatrics.”

Bloody Relations Department:  “I could never major in consanguinity because I can’t stand blood.”

Shakespearean Music Department:  “This piece of music [Messiah by George Fredrich Handel] was well composed by Hamlet.”

I Just Can’t Read Them Department:  “…so if he did not act alone he had illegible candidates that would help him…”

He Was Disintegrated?  “Oswald, the night that he was integrated, told reporters he was a patsy for the Mafia.”

So, We Should Try Hard to Keep Trying to Keep Trying, Then?  “Michael Jordan has inspired many people in their lives, and has also helped them try hard and to keep trying in what they were trying to do.”

Do What and a What?!  Department:  “If the President closes the prison the U.S. will go to crap and a hand basket.”

No!  Not Heck! Department:  “The same way is for teachers and doctors they have to go through heck trying to become what they do, they have to go through college especially doctors.”

That’s Nice To Know Department:  “I’m a benevolent little booger.”

Uh, What?  Department:  “Dr. Sayer did do them a favor by being awakened even thought shy fell back to sleep, they got to live and have fun while expiring it all at the same time.”

Best-Loved Christmas Songs Department:  “Chipmunks roasting on an open fire…”

Use “degrade” in a sentence:  “When I missed questions on my homework, I got degrade…”

You Know That’s Gotta Hurt Department:  “Mozart was one of the few people in this world that practically came out of the wound composing.”

Doesn’t This Have Something To Do With Biology?  Department:  “My mother has earned the right to be called my mother.”

Fun With Definitions Department:  “Bereft:  A hat with no brim.”

Use “Bereft” (deprived of, without) In A Sentence:  “She had on a pretty bereft.

I’m Sure Mr. Obama Would Agree…Department:  “I don’t know everything about the Catholic religion, but I disagree that they are ‘basically the same as Christians.’”

Thanks For Clarifying That Department:  “The plethora was a lot.”

He Trotted a Glob?! Department:  “[He was] a glob-trotting financial pundit.”

So That’s What He Did! Department:  “Ernest Hemingway, an American author, pretty well-known for physical conditions which was where he would snatch your heart.”

Well, That Sucks! Department:  “Make sure [I] goes to cholage and hopefully be sucksessful.”

Really?  “High is hard for lots of students.”

Was She Wearing Is At The Time? Department:  “We used to…play football, videogames, put my sister’s bra in the freezer…”

Overheard in Class:

Boy:  “I don’t even shave.”

Girl:  “I was talking about my legs.”

Thanks For Clearing That Up! Department:  “Love, in a few simple words, is the indescribable need to be needed indescribably.”

Thanks For Clearing That Up! Department:  “I am a farce of a person.”

Thanks For Clearing That Up! Department:  “Christ will be perpetual forever.”

Mental Images I Can Do Without Department:  “”It is very hard to get through to their pee-sized brains that they cannot do it on their own without their parents.”

Thanks For Clearing That Up!  Department:  “You can learn everything in the world but it doesn’t mean anything if you don’t understand any of it.”

Thanks For Clearing That Up II! Department:  “There was a great amount of different instruments used and not one was played the whole time.”

Heard in Class:  “Bear and Grin It!”

Ah, The Lovely Sound of Clams on The Wind:  “Winds blowing clamly…”

Use “belie” in a Sentence:  “The girls would belie about each other.”

Why were Medieval Europeans so angry with women?  “…because Eve tricked Adam into eating the fruit.  If we didn’t we could be running around naked instead of sitting in English class.”

Why were Medieval Europeans so angry with women?  “They were mad at women because of how Eve told Adam to talk to the snake.”

Great Moments In Patriotism Department:  ‘I sing the national anathema.”

“Catholic” Means:  “We rock; you don’t.”

“Catholic” Means:  “Mexican.”

The Great Muslim Warrior Who Fought the Crusaders Was:  “Muhammed Ali.”

Mixed Metaphor Department:  “Well, we do use it [knowledge] for the good of the world, but having too much would be an overdose of marijuana.”

Post Mortem Commerce Department:  “The authors back in the day were amazing and they are still selling millions of books each year although they are dead.”

I Hate It When That Happens Department:  “So Carlson took Candy’s dog out and shouts him in the back of the head.”

Son Of I Hate It When That Happens Department:  “All these things, loneliness, fear, hope and dreams are all symbols that are beautifully betrayed in the words in this novel.”

What Kind of Example? Department:  “One of the baggiest examples of the loneliness in the book is crooks…”

Between Who?  Department.  “In Of Mice and Men the author is creating a theme that tells how great the bond between man is.”

Who Says Teenagers Don’t Know Latin! Department:  Ave Atquae Vale (hail and farewell): “Hair and farewell.”

Thanks For Clearing That Up Department: “The speaker is the man of a woman from a different point of view.”

Thanks For Clearing That Up Department II: “The William Tell Overture will continue to teach future composers for many years and continue to excite human emotions until the day it stops being played.”

Thanks For Clearing That Up Department III:  “This entire story is believable because it really happened, so the reader doesn’t think it’s fake.”

Pirate Encouragement From an E-Mail To Teachers:  “Are kids are doing great things!

Distinction Without a Difference Department:  “And singing to him isn’t a lifestyle, it is his life.”

Jumping For Joy Department: The speaker wants the emotional bound she had with her husband…”

As Opposed to We As Canines?:  “We as humans can’t stand loneliness…”

As Opposed To In Their Foot?  “…but it didn’t give enough description in order for the reader to see a clear mental image in their head.”

So, The Readers Had Tantrums? “The way that Steinbeck feels toward these fits can also be related to readers who have experienced the same type of tantrums.”

Mangled Definitions Department:  “I scraped my knee and sanguine started coming out.”

Great Moments in Vocabulary and Navigation Department:  “Columbus circumvented the world.”

Which American President Authorized The Use of the First Atomic Bomb?  “Harriet Truman.”

Which American President Authorized The Use of the First Atomic Bomb?  “James Monroe.”

Who Wrote And Delivered The Gettysburg Address?  “Paul Revere.”

Who Wrote And Delivered The Gettysburg Address?  “Thomas Jefferson.”

Who Wrote And Delivered The Gettysburg Address?  “Aberhand Linking.”

What Are the First Ten Amendments To The U.S. Constitution Called?  “The first ten amendments to the U.S. Constitution.”

Use The Verb “Trudge” In A Sentence:  “The drinkin’ man walked trudgedly.”

Like A Huge Ice Cream Sundae?  “If you are in a dessert, there is a good chance you will see an illusion.”

Don’t They Have Collars and Sprays For That?  “Deniro was the perfect part even when it was difficult like w hen he had to act like he had ticks….”

A Poem By A Cheerleader: 

Cheerleading is the best

Way easier than a test

Not when I get no rest

It’s hard to be humble

When you can stunt and tumble

It’s fun to fly high in the air

But I don’t like messing up my hair.