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Uh Oh: Increasing Number of Student Essays Include the Phrase “All Work and No Play Makes Jack a Dull Boy”


Photo (with edits) by Marcel Oosterwijk / CC BY-SA 2.0

Woah, this is a bit concerning! A report released by the English department this week revealed that the number of student essays that contain the phrase “all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy” has hit an all-time high.

The report went on to detail that a vast majority of these essays did not include any other lexical content besides the one phrase repeated ad nauseum. Alright, that’s slightly worrying.

“We’ve got essays coming in with that phrase written over and over again, sometimes overlapping on top of each other, sometimes with all the letters scrambled up and strung haphazardly across the page,” English professor Kent Poulin said with a bewildered look. “Wait a minute, since when do you guys use typewriters?”

UTB reached out to Josh Sako (C ’25), who had turned in 100+ tattered sheets of paper smeared with ink for his writing seminar.

“Look, I’m not gonna hurt ya. The bat! Gimme the bat! Hah!” Sako spewed as he flashed a toothy grin. “Here’s Gritty!”

Geez, this could get ugly real quick. But as long as Penn wasn’t built on, like, sacred lands or an African-American burial ground or something, we should be good!