Tangled Webs

Be this Assignment Completyd in Hast.

Put public-domain books online, and presently you will be discovered by people anxious to have someone else do their homework:

describe the physiology of taste

critically examine the vicarofwakefield [sic]

the mane [sic] person of the prisoner of zenda

what chapter mr. glanville was in a terrible confusion and silently cursed

. . . and so on.

But wait, it gets worse:

the vicar of wake field essay questions

Is this a teacher doing a “create my homework for me” search?

Finally, consider:

A mother brings her 12 month old son into the office complaining of cold symptoms, she states she's been using camphor on his chest and he seems to be much better but he still has a  "croupy cough".  His lungs are clear and he is afebrile.  She is requesting a  "strong" cough medicine so that he can return to daycare and not infect others and so that he can sleep through the night.

Over the years I’ve grown accustomed to “do my homework for me” searches. Until now, however, I’d assumed the issue was limited to high school and college home­work. Turns out, the technique is even used by medical students.

Be afraid. Be very afraid.

The Paston Letters

Answer key for significant details for Richard Calle to Margery Paston Spring–Summer 1469

I can always tell when the academic year has started. Apparently the Done Thing is to assign homework by email, or post the assignment online. Then all the student has to do is select, copy and paste the whole question—verbatim—into the search engine of their choice.

On the one hand these queries are annoying, because the Paston Letters are fairly large HTML files. On the other hand, the searchers get exactly what they deserve, since the search leads them only to . . . the actual text of the letters, which is what they were supposed to read in the first place.

Sometimes the search even leads them to the present page, which is still more gratifying.

ayle a fard mayle

Misspell a search term, and you are likely to be sent to the Paston letters. The word “mayle” does occur in the relevant volume, but never in anything like this phrase.

Write a brief dialogue between Margaret Paston and her husband. Use at least three instances of direct address.

Dialogue? In person? Face to face? Then how are you supposed to work in the “be thys deliveryd in hast” gag?

answer recall: what occurred at the paston family estate of hellesdon in october 1465?

On second thought, why bother to recall it when the Internet will just give you the answer? This goes double when you are careless with your cut-and-paste, reducing the query to “what occurred at the paston family estate”. Well, heck, what didn’t occur at the Paston family estate?

At this point, however, I do need to take a moment off from sneering at students and have a look at the instructors instead. Word to the wise: Giving word-for-word identical assignments year after year is generally considered a hallmark of a mediocre teacher.

In one of the Paston letters there is a discussion of certain issues at hand in the lives of the Paston family. Which of the following statements best explains how this might be significant for us today?

There are times when I am sorely tempted to institute a redirect. If the search-engine query contains more than six words, one of which is “Paston”, then send the asker instead to a page headed Get Lost which would say something along the lines of The wording of your search strongly suggests that you are a godforsaken imbecile. If you’re that averse to getting an education, why don’t you just buy a mail-order diploma and save everyone some trouble?

I do, however, wonder about that “one of the Paston letters” phrase. Only one? Which one, in particular, caught the professor’s attention?

But wait! It gets better. Several years—literally—after first meeting this question, I was finally blessed with the long version. Extra spaces are in the original, suggesting that Tab in the professor’s word processor is set to four char­acters:

In one of the Paston letters there is a discussion of certain issues at hand in the lives of the Paston family. Which of the following statements best explains how this might be significant for us today?    A. The issues in the letters are exactly what we face today.    B. The resolution of the issues directly informs our own methods.    C. Through the Paston letters, modern historians can follow each world event to ascertain how it influenced medieval life.    D. The troubled conditions in England are reflected in the letters written between Paston family members.

Truism: Teachers get the students they deserve. People who give “read the teacher’s mind” assignments deserve everything they get.

The Paston letters are excellent examples of which of the following?

how does margaret paston feel about the dukes action and how does she expect the tenants to feel

Initially I thought this was a single question, because at least one student pasted the whole package into the search box back-to-back. In fact, the punctu­ation and capital­ization led me to assume the student had typed the question with their own fingers. But a string of near-identical queries tells me there’s some higher layer of copying and pasting.

I’m still waiting to learn what “the following” are, and which particular action of which particular duke offended Margaret. Maybe some future paste-in will shed light.

معنی i am a blak bord

The Arabic word apparently translates as “meaning”. All well and good, but there are not an awful lot of blak bords in the Paston letters.

paston letters pdf answers

Well, that about sums it up, doesn’t it.

Little Women

Порка школьниц розгами

I don’t read a word of Russian, but if Google Translate can be trusted, it means “spanking schoolgirls with rods”. The searcher must have been very intent on this query; by the time they got to Little Women they were on page seven of their search results.

what does marmee mean when she says, “learn to know and value the praise which is worth having, and to excite the admiration of excellent people by being modest as well as pretty, meg?” in your journal write a few sentences explaining what marmee wants meg to learn from her vacation with the moffats.

Oh, who knows what Marmee means.

At the party, Meg hurts her feet dancing in shoes that are too tight and Jo stands against the wall to hide a burn in her dress.

Yes, and your question is . . .?

https://youtu.be/rkSQaCo0WXI The part I just adore is the one with the short haired female singing to her lover (marry me) where she says, 'I thought you'd never ask!')

Well, someone goofed. Did they think they were in the comments area of YouTube? It’s quite an adorable compilation video, though it isn’t clear what led the search engine to think they were looking for Part One of Little Women.

She has led a blissful life, safe and happy, full of friends, who are real and dear to her, who love her very tenderly because her advice was so gently given

Hm, now that’s interesting. You see, this slab of text does occur in Little Women, where the search engine pointed the visitor . . . in two widely separated passages. There’s this in Part Second, describing Jo:

She did not think herself a genius by any means; but when the writing fit came on, she gave herself up to it with entire abandon, and led a blissful life, unconscious of want, care, or bad weather, while she sat safe and happy in an imaginary world, full of friends almost as real and dear to her as any in the flesh.

And then there’s this in Part First, describing Meg:

In spite of her small vanities, Margaret had a sweet and pious nature, which unconsciously influenced her sisters, especially Jo, who loved her very tenderly, and obeyed her because her advice was so gently given.

Is it possible the whole thing appears, verbatim, in some little-known other Alcott work, outside of the “moral pap for the young” genre? It wouldn’t be the first time.

what page number in the book little women does it mention the quote “Having no ornaments fine enough for this important occasion,” Alcott writes, “Amy looped her fleecy skirts with rosy clusters of azalea, and framed the white shoulders in delicate green vines.”

This is an odd one. Did the instructor herself copy-and-paste the question from some third source, leading to the seeming redundancy of “mention the quote” and “Alcott writes”?

The reference to “page number” implies that students are supposed to be working from some specific edition—a common requirement when a whole class is assigned the same book—but why on earth would they be expected to know where to find the text of this particular passage? Surely Amy gets dressed up more than once in the course of Little Women; this is hardly a pivotal scene.

A further oddity is that, although the query involves a major search engine, a popular browser and an established ISP, the request seems to have come from a robot, not a human. Is this a computer-science assignment masquerading as something else?

Three Men in a Boat

uncle podger hangs a picture essay

I don’t think he hangs an essay. I think he’s hanging a— Oh, right. You want a ready-made essay about this brief incident in Three Men in a Boat.

describe how did george's shirt became an occasion for amusement and embarrassment three men in a boat

Remember what I said about the Paston letters? For cripes sake, why don’t you just read the bleepin’ book?

Three men in a boat-chapter 15 -Describe the learning experience of the three friends about boat.Describe the experience of Jerome with the young man who was punting

Yup, all one run-in query. I smell cut-and-paste.

what lesson does jerome convey when he says ,"we never ought to allow our instincts of justice to degenerate into mere vindic­tiveness" in what context was the remarks made

As I so often say next door in the /ebooks/ section: punctuation unchanged.

why do you think about george as a cook? write your openion will refrence ti the makin of irish stew

how were the three men able to sail in the steam launch

why was jerome against the idea of hiring a boat

The most interesting aspect of these queries is that, like the preceding ones, they all came from google.co.in. Most of the time, searches from South Asia land on wildly inappropriate pages, as if they haven’t grasped the point of the search snippet.

pickout atleast 40 new words from three men in a boat

Conclusion: one of the Indian universities must be teaching Three Men in a Boat this term. But that leads to a puzzler. As I understand it, Indian higher education follows the English model, in which your degree depends ultimately on your ability to write essays on demand, to the exclusion of all other achieve­ments. So isn’t all this online cheating just delaying the inevitable moment when your CV aquires the only-in-India line “BA—failed”?

new words used in three men on the bummel

hard words from three men on the bummel

Some university in Pakistan must have assigned Three Men on the Bummel (the sequel to Three Men in a Boat) one year. I found a whole flurry of these; the two I quoted seem to have been from the same user.

These aren’t the books you’re looking for

Some searches are spot-on. Others, not so much.

The Real Name Of Elena In Johnbull The Class Prefect

Elena’s name will not be found in the pages of John Bull and His Island. You’ll have to watch the Nollywood movie John Bull the Class Prefect instead.

Story: hardup for pussy he settled for a ugly old hag.

Thanks but no thanks, search engine. Round the Yule Log does not contain a story matching this description.

read this sentence:it's such a pity you can't go to the dance with your friends.which definition of pity matches its use in the sentence above?

Sorry, can’t help you if you won’t also give me the list of definitions. In any case, the answer will not be found in Eight Cousins, no matter how strongly the search engine thinks it will.

how did mr chips spend a very pleasant placid life at mrs wicketts as a paying guest

I dunno, but I’m entirely certain the answer will not be found in The Romance of Poisons, where the search engine sent you. (This, incidentally, is why I block visitors from some geographic regions. Long experience has taught that they don’t even look at the page title, let alone the snippet—so why should I put the server to the work of sending out a complete page with all supporting files?)

in novel to the lighthouse What is James' favorite hobby? Select one: a. Cutting pictures out of catalogues b. Fishing c. Collecting stamps d. Collecting Butterflies

Now you’ve got me curious too. Turns out it’s a 1927 novel by Virginia Woolf. The date means that it entered the US public domain at the beginning of 2023 and, as such, I could put it online. But, well, I don’t particularly feel like it.

explain this sentence the sparrows had taken everyone but countless fragments of the letter remained disfiguring the tidy ground

See above about search snippets; I’m quite certain the assignment provided some clue about which book is involved. Granted, Google is notorious for renaming pages in search results—even if this reduces the searcher’s ability to judge whether the page will be useful to them, and therefore increases the likelihood that they will click on an unsatisfactory link. But I do not believe google.co.in changed my page’s title from B.C. 1887: A Ramble in British Columbia to Where Angels Fear to Tread, the E. M. Forster novel where the quoted passage actually occurs.

If you want to split hairs, the book really says: “The sparrows had taken every one.” Bits of paper, that is; Forster’s sparrows were not carrying off entire human beings.

which lines from the text best support this theme?some god guided usthat night, for we could barely see our bowsin the dense fog around usall hands aboard;come, clear the beach and no one tastethe lotus, or you lose your hope of home.my men were mutinous,fools, on stores of wine. sheep after sheep theybutchered by the surf, and shambling cattlethe servants armed themselves, and all three took their stand beside the master of battle

Casual, cursory and perfunctory research reveals that “the text” is the Fitzgerald translation of the Odyssey. (Goodness. I had no idea that was still in use; it was the default Odyssey several decades ago when I was in school. The default Iliad in the same period was Lattimore.) But the question would be more likely to find an answer if the student had remembered to paste in the “theme” as well.

Siri, what’s two plus two?

yuri walked p poodles and b bull dogs.  write an algebraic  expression to represent how [sic] dogs were walked

And you thought the “do my homework for me” searches were limited to questions involving public-domain literary works. In fairness, I don’t think this one involves an actual human visit. Behind-the-scenes details suggest that the search engine was spot-checking its algorithm to see how close the match is between query and response. (Since the requested page was a 19th-century comic novel, the answer is: Not very.) But, hey, waste enough of the seeker’s time sending them to unhelpful pages, and they may decide it’s faster just to do the bloomin’ assign­ment. Particularly if the answer is simply p + b; if so, it has now taken more time to type the question than it would have taken to solve the problem.

If, on the other hand, the query is not a typo for “how many dogs”, but is really asking how or in what manner the dogs were walked . . . I’m inclined to think we have moved out of the realm of algebra.

for porsion [sic] go in a railway carriage where there are seven vacant seat. in how many different ways can they seat them self.

In general, Bing is good about sending searchers to the appropriate page. This one was, as you might expect, entirely wrong. Besides—an increasingly common gripe—it would have taken less time to multiply 7×6×5×4 than it took to type in the query.

maths homework: buttercups have 2 petals and clovers have 3 leaves.  One day james found a total of 28 buttercups and clovers.  altogether he counted 110 leaves and petals.  how many buttercups did james find?

Answer: Either the teacher screwed up, or the student mis-typed. The solution of this problem clearly requires positive integers; I do not believe James picked -26 buttercups. If you change it to a more botanically plausible “5 petals”, it works neatly.

Option B: The teacher intentionally made a mistake on the handout, as a means of identifying which students have working brains.

Question textThe tradition of burning the Yule log at Christmas time can be considered a

Just imagine how different the results would be if you omitted the identifier “Question text”. Why, you might even have room to say what it could be considered.

now can you make sentences with these words. clearly, merryly, wearily, doubly, drearily, brightly, badly, fondly

Would you settle for seven out of eight?

which words in the sentence are verbs? the fat cat on the garden wall washed his thick fur thoroughly.

It is often easy to deduce what kind of class triggered a given question. But here I would really, truly like to know what grade the asker is in. Are you sure you’re old enough to be online by yourself?

Write the following in shorthand p, b, t, d, ch, j, d, ch, j, p, t, d, j, ch, b, p, t, ch, t

Wouldn’t it be faster to look up the letters in your textbook? I don’t think the teacher will accept a screenshot, so you’re going to have to write them out in the end.

After although as as if as long as because Before even if even though if one sine So that though till unless whenever whether1.\tPenny walked along the hill cautiously

I can’t say as how I am absolutely clear on the connection between the first and second part of the query. Perhaps something got lost after the tab.

Wait, wait, I’ve got one more assignment!

the female quixote summary

directions to servants summary

the physiology of taste summary

vicar of wakefield summary

. . . and so on.

the book of household management intended audience

That, for variety’s sake, is a solid question, though it isn’t explicitly answered in the BOHM itself. Instead, you’ll need to delve into social history and the development of the middle class in 19th-century Britain.

alle'three in canada' clutterbuck

I’m not quite sure what the user of the obscure Norwegian search engine kvasir.no is trying to find out. But they’re on the right track; the Norwegian translation of B.C. 1887: A Ramble in British Columbia by Lees and Clutterbuck was called Tre i Kanada to capitalize on the authors’ earlier Three in Norway.

fanny hill explicit passages

That would be . . . uhmm . . . the entire book?

When lying mortally wounded General Wolfe said: Would that I had written gray's elegy

Yes, and . . .?

Prisoner of zenda, story about rodolf rassendyll grandmother illegal love to prince of ruritania

Well, I guess that’s one way of summarizing the plot . . . at least of the first two pages.

vicar of wakefield one words

the vicar of wakefield Joseph Andrew one word pdf

goldsmith wrote a(n) entitled the vicar of wakefield, about a parson's family.

In the latter case, I guess we have to assume the student’s computer ate the blank: “Goldsmith wrote a(n)     entitled”. If it had been an ESL class, the mystery word—“book”, say, or “novel”—would have been present, and the assignment would be to determine whether it takes “a” or “an”.

I’m still waiting to learn the connection between The Vicar of Wakefield—which can be found on this site—and Joseph Andrews—which can’t.

imagine you are Daddy long legs. write a reply to jerushs letter where she states that she is ill. this letter could accompany the roses you send to her.

This makes me sad. The existence of the search query means that someone out there is reading Daddy-Long-Legs only because it was assigned, and not for the sheer joy of the thing. Worse, I’m pretty sure the teacher doesn’t love the book either. In that case, what’s the use of living?

Is Pope's Iliad more readable than Chapman

Once again, it is time to frown at the instructor. This is manifestly a matter of opinion—but the question is posed as if it were a matter of fact. Unless, of course, the lazy student omitted a preceding “In your opinion”, comma, rest-of-question.

discuss one character who is presented in a positive light in the novel what qualities make him an admirable figure? according to a prisoner of Zenda

Or, in the alternative, you could read K J Charles’s m/m romance novel The Henchmen of Zenda, which is full of admiration for one of the putative villains.

chapter in which Aravella [sic] throws herself from a bridge in the female quixote

This search sent the asker, appropriately enough, to The Female Quixote. But clearly the searcher wanted to be sent directly to the chapter in question—somewhere in Book Nine, I think—and couldn’t be bothered to continue searching.

ramona takes alessandro his violin

ramona margarita destroys alter [sic] cloth

ramona stays by alessandros bed when hes sick

ramona tells allessandro that she wished she could drown

why did ramona tell the priest who married them that her name was majella phail

In fairness, I’m not sure I would read Ramona from cover to cover if I didn’t have to. But, if anyone wondered, the author intentionally used the Italian spelling “Alessandro”, because she didn’t trust her readers to pronounce “Alejandro” correctly.

Read the excerpt from Princess Ida by Gilbert and Sullivan. Women of Adamant, fair neophytes— Who thirst for such instruction as we give, Attend, while I unfold a parable. The elephant is mightier than Man, Yet Man subdues him. Why? The elephant Is elephantine everywhere but here (tapping her forehead) And Man, whose brain is to the elephant’s As Woman’s brain to Man’s—(that’s rule of three),— Conquers the foolish giant of the woods, As Woman, in her turn, shall conquer Man. This excerpt is an example of

Well, don’t leave me hanging. An example of what?

Answer, courtesy the rarely-seen long version of the query:

. . . this excerpt is an example of heroic couplet. free verse. common meter. blank verse.

Whether full-length or truncated, the query has pointed many searchers to this site. But most users have just enough intelligence to realize that if the page itself is called “Princess Ida”, they are not likely to get any help, since the one thing they are trying to avoid is reading the play. Or, in this case, reading their English textbook, because that would have given them the answer. As it happens, one distinguishing feature of Princess Ida is that, unlike all other Gilbert and Sullivan works, it is written in blank verse.

I’ve Got Just the Page You’re Looking For

Don’t tell me what the law says: that’s hearsay. (/fun/judy.html)

does judge judy know the law

Sure—for a given definition of “law”.

what is difference between civil, criminal and judge judy case

Answer: Two of the three are constrained by laws in effect in the relevant jurisdiction. The third is constrained by . . . uhm . . .

When I figure it out, I’ll let you know.

what judge judy says to those who claim to know what the other person thinks

Ooh, ooh, I know this one. She’s got a standard phrase about “the operation of someone else’s mind”, revealing that she can remember the letter of her law-school lectures, but not the spirit. (For example: How did the witness’s sister know the witness was having financial troubles? Answer: Sister was not required to read anyone’s mind; the siblings had talked about it many times.)

does it come out of the judges pocket if the plantiff wins?

The judge herself? Hahahahaha. The show, yes indeed. But this is not one of those low-budget programs where the producers encourage the judge to rule against as many plaintiffs as possible to save money. Suppose every Judge Judy litigant asked for the show’s maximum of $5,000, and every last one of them prevailed, for a total of $50,000 a week. Over a 20-week season, that would still come out to a minute fraction of the judge’s current annual salary of $47,000,000.

does judge judy know the ecision bfore the trial

what will happen if a person refuses to comply with judge judy

can you be evicted over hearsay

does anyone actually belive that judge judy is the law

Sadly, the answer to the last question appears to be Yes.

how often do litigants tell judge judy to go to hell

You, sir or madam, win the Internet.

why judge Judy should not practice law

On second thought, the two of you will have to split it.

When the eels desert a sinking hovercraft, it’s all over. (/hovercraft/hovercraft.html)

How to make yourself like an eel with the ability to escape from anything anyone ever tries to do to you.

Are you asking me or telling me?

and the hovercraft will never be that full of eels again

what do you mean by my hovercraft is filled with eels

How many eels will fill up my hovercraft

Do I win something if my guess is closest?

May your hovercraft ever be full of eels

Aye, and begorrah to you too.

how to catch and control an eel

If you are thinking of a collar and leash I can tell you right now it won’t work.

I would rather eat glass than deal with these questions. (/hovercraft/eat_glass.html)

verbs you can do to glass

verbs you can do with glass

which is the verb that goes with glass

Well, “eat” of course.

why not to eat glass

Y’know, back before they had the Internet, there was this thing called common sense . . .

is it true that can eat glass

Well, for a given definition of “can”.

I really want to eat glass

Don’t let me stop you.

got hurt is a transitive verb or intransitive?

Hm, good question. I kinda think it can go either way, depending on whether there’s an agent. Now let’s sit back and see if someone asks whether “hurt yourself” is passive, reflexive or intransitive.

people that eat glass why don’t they die how do they prepare

Do I look like Julia Child?

how do people survive eating glass

how can people eat glass and live?

eat glass what happens

what happens after you eat glass

i want to eat glass but will it hurt?



How many weeks of school does the asker has? (/ebooks/ninelives/NineLives.html)

how many lives does a cat has?

how many lives has got domestic cat

how many lifes got a cat

how do you know how much life's a cat's got left?

Visitors from the UK seem to be especially troubled by the “how many lives” query.

Splitters of hairs may object that I do not, in fact, have this page. This is true; I ended up taking it down. But there’s no harm in preserving the search strings for posterity.

And finally . . . (/silence/questions.html)

americans aren't stupid questions

Query: Does someone out there maintain that Americans are stupid questions?