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Showing posts from December, 2015

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As I proof-read sets of reports, I wonder if we should only make a comment if we would be willing to state its opposite:
Joe is a bright and very pleasant pupil Joe is a dim or very unpleasant pupil Joe is making excellent progress with this course Joe is making poor progress with this course Joe is highly motivated Joe is unmotivated It is a pleasure teaching Joe I am not enjoying teaching Joe Joe is an excellent student Joe is a poor student Joe always acts on advice                                     Joe sometimes fails to act on the advice I give him Joe is very capable Joe is not very capable Joe is a hardworking boy Joe is a lazy boy
We would happily state some of these "opposites", but some seem completely inappropriate!
Actually it seems to me that we are happy to make positive statements about the identity of a person - they are bright, excellent, intelligent, capable, hardworking etc., but much more reticent about making matching negative statements. We couch the…