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The "wonders" of high school essays

Nov 19, 2005 1:01AM PST

Actual Analogies and Metaphors found in American High School Essays:

Her face was a perfect oval, like a circle that had its two other sides gently compressed by a Thigh Master.

His thoughts tumbled in his head, making and breaking alliances like underpants in a dryer without Cling Free.

She grew on him like she was a colony of E.coli and he was room-temperature Canadian beef.

She had a deep, throaty, genuine laugh, like that sound a dog makes just before it throws up.

Her vocabulary was as bad as, like, whatever.

He was as tall as a six-foot-three-inch tree.

The revelation that his marriage of 30 years had disintegrated because of his wife's infidelity came as a rude shock, like a surcharge at a formerly surcharge-free ATM.

McBride fell 12 stories, hitting the pavement like a Hefty bag filled with vegetable soup.

Her hair glistened in the rain like nose hair after a sneeze.

The hailstones leaped from the pavement, just like maggots when you fry them in hot grease.

They lived in a typical suburban neighborhood with picket fences that resembled Nancy Kerrigan's teeth.

He feel for her like his heart was a mob informant and she was the East River.

Even in his last years, Grandpappy had a mind like a steel trap, only one that had been left out so long, it had rusted shut.

Shots rang out, as shots are want to do.

The plan was simple, like my brother-in-law, Phil. But unlike Phil, this plan just might work.

"Oh, Bruce, take me!"she panted, her breasts heaving like a college freshman on a $1-a-beer night.

He was a lame as a duck. Not the metaphorical lame duck, either, but a real duck that was actually lame . . . maybe from stepping on a land mind or something.

The ballerina rose gracefully en pointe and extended one slender leg behind her, like a dog at a fire hydrant.

He was deeply in love. When she spoke, he thought he heard bells, as if she were a garbage truck backing up.

She was as easy as the TV Guide crossword.

She walked into my office like a centipede with 98 missing legs.

Her voice had that tense, grating quality, like a generation thermal paper fax machine that needed a band tightened.

It hurt the way your tongue hurts after you accidentally staple it to the wall.

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Discussion is locked

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Nov 19, 2005 1:08AM PST

I wonder if these make their teachers laugh or cry.Happy

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Extremely funny.
Nov 19, 2005 1:24AM PST

But the claim they are from High School essays is suspect. I know I've seen some of these before in other contexts.

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(NT) (NT) From the wonders of public education :)
Nov 19, 2005 1:09AM PST
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(NT) (NT) Dittos
Nov 19, 2005 1:48AM PST
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I love this one!
Nov 19, 2005 3:06AM PST
McBride fell 12 stories, hitting the pavement like a Hefty bag filled with vegetable soup

I about spit coffee on my screen!

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How'd this end up on the list?
Nov 20, 2005 11:55PM PST
Shots rang out, as shots are want to do.

That's not an analogy.

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I think they meant "wont" and...
Nov 21, 2005 12:06AM PST

Even though it's not an analogy, it's one of my favorites.

I don't think "He was as tall as a six-foot-three-inch tree."
is an analogy either.

Examples of "bad" writing more than anything else. I put "bad" in quotes because some of these are clearly intentional.

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No, want is correct, but
Nov 21, 2005 4:06AM PST

it's just not an analogy.


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I just don't see "want" working in that sentence.
Nov 21, 2005 4:09AM PST
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It has a noun form
Nov 21, 2005 4:15AM PST

One can have want or one can want. It can be a desire or a need. As such, the shots have a need or desire to ring out. It's sort of an archaic usage but is correct. The sentences is a bit awkward but so seem these writers.

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Disagree. It's a typo.
Nov 21, 2005 4:30AM PST

The word wanted is ''wont''. Makes much more sense to say,
'' shots are wont to do.''

The writers are professionals, not High School Stoonts. The list is not what it claims.

Bet you anything.

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Could be right
Nov 21, 2005 4:47AM PST

wont as in being prone to maybe. That word's even more obscure but sometimes HS students may have a want (or is that wont?) to impress.Happy I'm not sure what makes you think these are pros unless they are bloopers lying on some editors floor.

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I think they are bits from humor pieces
Nov 21, 2005 5:10AM PST

In fact I am almost 100% positive I've seen a couple of them in humor essays in the New Yorker, possibly by Steve Martin, or maybe in Dave Barry columns. In particular,"hitting the pavement like a Hefty bag filled with vegetable soup." sounds very familiar.

They are just too well written to be malapropisms by High Schoolers.

In any event, I've found it claimed to be a list compiled by the Society for Scholarly Publishing (a real organization), so I have e-mailed them to see if they can shed any light on the issue.

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"She had high cheekbones that emerged as twin bumps on the
Nov 21, 2005 1:05AM PST

top of her head". Or "Sir Henry rang the bell and called for Old Scrotum, the wrinkled retainer." Vivian Stanshall, Sir Henry at Rawhlinson End.


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the extraordinary irony...
Nov 21, 2005 1:19AM PST

of "Her vocabulary was as bad as, like, whatever." For some the high school kids I meet, "like, whatever" truly seems to be the extent of their vocabularies...