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One morning while teaching English composition at Yale University, John Berdan read a particularly awful sample to his class -- which critiqued it unmercifully.

"Interesting," Berdan remarked. "I wrote the theme myself... You are quite right. This theme is incredibly bad. I spent two hours of painstaking effort last night to make sure I had not omitted a single feature of poor writing, and I believe I succeeded," he continued, pausing for effect. "What astounds me is how you men can dash these things off day after day in ten minutes!"

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