Salient: Victoria University Students' Paper. Vol. 28, No. 1. 1965.
From time to time University teachers, both in this country and overseas, complain of the low standard of written English exhibited by Unversity students. This sort of complaint is very easy to make, and often it is not backed up by any hint of evidence. Furthermore, examination scripts are often cited as examples of poor student writing, and it must be the view of many that this is hardly fair criticism, since the tension and lack of time ever-present under examination conditions are not conducive to elegant composition.
It was of considerable interest, therefore, to read the material that was submitted for publication in Salient for the first issue this year. Some of the copy was very good, and nothing more need be said about it. But a large amount of it was atrocious. Grammar was poor, sentence construction was weak, and surprisingly often whole sentences were quite meaningless.
There can be no excuse for this.
The writers concerned knew that work was for publication and were not hard-pressed for time in which to write. The only possible reasons are that either these students were too lazy to ensure that what they were writing made sense or that they were incapable of writing sense, whether they wanted to or not.
These statements must not be construed as meaning that Salient considers itself a paragon of syntactic virtue. Deficiencies will always be evident to the discerning reader. It is unfortunate to have to report, however, that if Salient manages, on only a reasonably frequent number of occasions, to say what it means, then it is succeeding where many of its would-be contributors have failed.