I'm in grading hell right now. My hell is all the worse for things I didn't say this semester, but which I guess I should have said. What didn't I tell students that I should have?
Number your pages. (Yes, really, if your paper's several pages long, you should number your pages.)
Cite your text. (Yes, you need to cite your Shakespeare edition. Really. Other texts, too. No, copying the computer print out from the computerized index isn't the same as citing your text.)
Come up with a good title. (No, "Essay #2" is not a good title. All's Well that Ends Well IS a good title, but it's already been used, so you need to think of something else.)
Paraphrasing is not analysis.
When you summarize someone else's argument, you actually need to figure out what the thesis is and explain it.
Don't treat your thesis as a punch line, holding it until the very end when we're supposed to ooh and ah or laugh. Seriously, in most academic writing, your reader wants to know what you're arguing about fairly quickly.
When I ask you not to slide your late paper under my office door, surprisingly, I actually mean I don't want to step on your paper and slip as I try to enter my office with arms full of books and assignments.
I am going to do something I very much don't want to do this evening. I expect it will be painful. But I will do it. I'd like to say I'm doing it for good ethical reasons. I'd like to say I'm doing because I'm a good and caring person. I'd also like to say that I'm fabulously good looking, totally fit and trim, and caught up on my grading.
What I will say is that I've made some progress grading today, and that I'm going to do this because doing it will be less likely to cause someone hurt feelings than not doing it.
There is not enough bourbon. And I'm unlikely to make it to the store before the stupid plastic chains go up to indicate that they can't (and won't) sell me any more.
The word "said" looks totally wrong, awkward and misspelt, unless we're talking about Edward Said, and then it looks fine. Why is it that the most familiar words look wrong when I think about them? The great tragedy of my orthographic life is that I don't live in the fourteenth century. Of course, I wouldn't have survived long enough to learn to talk (much less spell) in the fourteenth century (go go antibiotics!), but at least I wouldn't have had to grade!