"... grades on _a_ curve."

Jonathan Lighter wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM
Thu Dec 26 16:24:42 UTC 2013

In my recollection (mid '60s), "grade on *a* curve" did effectively mean
"raise our grades according to some theory that we don't really understand
but which is obviously fairer than giving us what we deserve."  It was much
more common than _on *the* curve_, which implies that the speaker has a
some notion of what sort of curve is involved.


On Wed, Dec 25, 2013 at 9:15 PM, Dave Hause <dwhause at cablemo.net> wrote:

> ---------------------- Information from the mail header
> -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Dave Hause <dwhause at CABLEMO.NET>
> Subject:      Re: "... grades on _a_ curve."
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> I remember it as a request of instructors in the 60s and 70s, although the
> request actually meant something like "give us better grades than we
> earned"
> and not "give most of us Cs and flunk the same number as get As."
> Dave Hause
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "Wilson Gray" <hwgray at ALUM.MIT.EDU>
> Remember that bygone era when the expression was,
> "grade on _the_ [bell] curve"?
> ------------------------------------------------------------
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