by Jessica O'Shea
American English Grammar. A 300 level course. At 8:00 a.m. I took my seat, mid row, and looked down to find a single slip of paper on my desk. One sat on each desk and as each student filed in, a buzzing silence filled the room.
Everyone wants a slice of cake for themselves.
The only text on the paper. The professor, a woman who had taught the course many times, took her position at the front. She asked us what, if anything, was grammatically wrong with the sentence. Silence reigned. One girl bravely raised her hand. “Nothing?” The professor’s smile was grim. Incorrect. You’ve failed. Return to grade school, do not pass Go.