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idiom: hire a pen Options
robjen
Posted: Tuesday, January 22, 2019 4:06:28 PM
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I got this idiom "hire a pen" from one of my non-native English speaking friends. They said it means that you cheat on major assignments and exams by hiring someone to do them for you. I tried to look it up in dictionaries. But, I couldn't find it.

Then, I asked my friend where he got the idiom. He said he found it in a brochure last year, but he threw it away.

I think he made a mistake. What is the correct idiom?

Thank you for your time and help.
FounDit
Posted: Tuesday, January 22, 2019 5:01:38 PM

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robjen wrote:
I got this idiom "hire a pen" from one of my non-native English speaking friends. They said it means that you cheat on major assignments and exams by hiring someone to do them for you. I tried to look it up in dictionaries. But, I couldn't find it.

Then, I asked my friend where he got the idiom. He said he found it in a brochure last year, but he threw it away.

I think he made a mistake. What is the correct idiom?

Thank you for your time and help.


I've never heard of this idiom, but it makes sense, so it wouldn't surprise me to hear it is used.


We should look to the past to learn from it, not destroy our future because of it — FounDit
Jyrkkä Jätkä
Posted: Wednesday, January 23, 2019 2:40:10 AM

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I've heard (actually seen) the term used, but not often. You are talking about ghostwriting, or contract cheating, anyway.

If you google hire a pen, you'll end up to a Wikipedia page Pen for hire, which redirects you to Hack writer page.

More common terms, concerning the situation you described, is essay mill and essay bank. In essay mill you can order paper to be written, you tell the topic and number of pages you need. They write it. In essay bank you can buy pre-written papers a bit cheaper.



In the beginning there was nothing, which exploded.
Romany
Posted: Wednesday, January 23, 2019 5:33:02 AM
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I've not heard the term either, but the practice is widespread in Eastern countries - where forged documents (like University degrees) can be bought in just about any marketplace.

When it comes to papers written in English - non-native speaking teachers find it difficult to judge whether a student has written the paper themselves or not and so the cheats often get away with it.

Imagine the shame and humiliation of it being discovered that one was nothing but a cheat and a fraud, though! There was a case a couple of years ago when a Chinese man's forged MA certificate came to light first, when he was working overseas; then it was discovered that all his papers had been written by "hired pens" and the whole world condemned him, to his family's shame!

JJ - "Ghost writing" is something different: and it isn't against the law. This is when a person who can't write themselves tells their story to someone who writes it down for them. I've ghosted a couple of books - and been acknowledged, in the book itself,(and on the cover blurb) as the writer: all fair and square - no attempt to fool the public or lie about it.
FROSTY X RIME
Posted: Wednesday, January 23, 2019 6:33:53 AM

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I found a word "ringer" in some other language forum.
According to Oxford Dictionary, "ringer" means "ringer/ˈrɪŋə(r)/
▶noun

1 informal an athlete or horse fraudulently substituted for another in a competition."

So you can say "hire a ringer". It's not an idiom but it conveys the idea.
To be more specific, you can say, "I hired a ringer for my Chemistry exam."


language forum

What should be shall be-The fellowship of the ring-
Romany
Posted: Wednesday, January 23, 2019 6:53:30 AM
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However, to Australians and New Zealanders the only meaning of "ringer" is in regard to the shearer who shears the most sheep in a shearing season.

If one were to tell an Aussie or a Kiwi that a "ringer" had written an academic paper they'd fall about laughing!
FROSTY X RIME
Posted: Wednesday, January 23, 2019 6:56:55 AM

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Romany wrote:

However, to Australians and New Zealanders the only meaning of "ringer" is in regard to the shearer who shears the most sheep in a shearing season.

If one were to tell an Aussie or a Kiwi that a "ringer" had written an academic paper they'd fall about laughing!



=====================================================================================
Does it surprise you that one vocabulary has more than one meaning?
(You just have to bring down people by undermining them,don't you?)


What should be shall be-The fellowship of the ring-
Romany
Posted: Wednesday, January 23, 2019 10:21:46 AM
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Hi Frosty -

All the best to you and yours.
Parpar1836
Posted: Wednesday, January 23, 2019 10:31:43 AM
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When I was an Assistant Instructor in English, the English faculty were well aware of fraud. (This was before the days of the Internet.) It was possible to purchase term papers, and I'm sure that some students did that. One of my students chose to plagiarize a take-home essay (she copied a Sports Illustrated profile), and I let the department head handle that.

We were advised that to discourage fraud, we should assign in-class essays. A bit harder to cheat with those.

I see that "research papers" are openly sold on the Internet. Poor students, being cheated of the opportunity to learn how to do their own research.
FounDit
Posted: Wednesday, January 23, 2019 11:50:52 AM

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Here in the U.S., a "ringer" is often a professional pretending to be an amateur, so that would also fit for someone writing a paper for a student who either doesn't know how, or is too lazy to do it.


We should look to the past to learn from it, not destroy our future because of it — FounDit
RuthP
Posted: Wednesday, January 23, 2019 2:56:51 PM

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Parpar1836 wrote:
When I was an Assistant Instructor in English, the English faculty were well aware of fraud. (This was before the days of the Internet.) It was possible to purchase term papers, and I'm sure that some students did that. One of my students chose to plagiarize a take-home essay (she copied a Sports Illustrated profile), and I let the department head handle that.

We were advised that to discourage fraud, we should assign in-class essays. A bit harder to cheat with those.

I see that "research papers" are openly sold on the Internet. Poor students, being cheated of the opportunity to learn how to do their own research.

Yeah, well, "poor student" had better be careful. It is perfectly possible to turn up most of these papers with an Internet search. They are not unique works, and many are very poor quality.

Even more efficient, there are any number of programs available for searching these academic frauds and quite a few institutions make such programs available to faculty. Increasingly, papers are to be submitted in digital format. This makes the search a snap. Even if the paper is submitted as, well, paper, scanning and character recognition mean that a "paper" paper is no protection.

The Internet may have made it easier for the student to connect with a supplier of (purportedly academic-quality) papers. It has also made it easier, far easier, to prove fraud.
srirr
Posted: Thursday, January 24, 2019 4:48:21 AM

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Romany wrote:

I've not heard the term either, but the practice is widespread in Eastern countries - where forged documents (like University degrees) can be bought in just about any marketplace.



Perhaps you are heavily misguided or have spent good amount of time with such people only.

Reality is different.


We are responsible for what we are, and whatever we wish ourselves to be, we have the power to make ourselves. ~ Swami Vivekanand
Drag0nspeaker
Posted: Thursday, January 24, 2019 4:59:23 AM

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The thing is - the ones I have seen (I've never had to "write a paper", I'm not academic, but I looked at some out of pure interest) are AWFUL.

I'm not even educated in Grammar beyond GCE (school-leaving) level, but I can look and say "This guy can't write English properly".

And what do they do when they get a job based on false qualifications and suddenly find they don't know the first thing about how to do it? It must be very awkward . . .

Wyrd bið ful aræd - bull!
srirr
Posted: Thursday, January 24, 2019 5:23:25 AM

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robjen wrote:
I got this idiom "hire a pen" from one of my non-native English speaking friends. They said it means that you cheat on major assignments and exams by hiring someone to do them for you. I tried to look it up in dictionaries. But, I couldn't find it.

Then, I asked my friend where he got the idiom. He said he found it in a brochure last year, but he threw it away.

I think he made a mistake. What is the correct idiom?

Thank you for your time and help.


I re-read the post and something crossed my mind.

If your friend says it was somewhere in a brochure, it is less likely to be an illegal thing. He perhaps misunderstood that it links to cheating in writing an assignment or an examination paper. Though it does not look like a recognized idiom, I have a feeling it is about 'scribe in examinations' and your friend took it wrong.

From the keywords examination and assignments, I guess the brochure was from some educational institution. Why would an educational institution put something on its brochure which promotes cheating? They may promote the facility of providing scribes in examinations. This is what I can infer from "hire a pen".


We are responsible for what we are, and whatever we wish ourselves to be, we have the power to make ourselves. ~ Swami Vivekanand
Drag0nspeaker
Posted: Thursday, January 24, 2019 5:44:22 AM

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Hi srirr.

I also have no idea what you mean by "scribe in examinations".

The whole idea of an exam is to see what YOU (the person taking the exam) have learned.
If you can't express it, you haven't learned it.
When you have a job, you can't have someone do it for you.
Any "hired pen" sounds like cheating to me.

"Hire a pen" is NOT a common idiom.
"Scribe" is a word I relate to Mediæval monks.

Wyrd bið ful aræd - bull!
srirr
Posted: Thursday, January 24, 2019 6:20:26 AM

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A scribe is a person who is legitimately assigned by the authorities to write in place of an examinee. An examinee can ask for a scribe if he is unable to write himself, usually because of physical disability. A scribe simply writes what is being narrated by the examinee under supervision of an invigilator.

Dragon, when you said you are not aware of the term, I got perplexed whether it is a coined term in this part of the world. But then on a search, I notice that it is known in the UK as well.

https://www.uhi.ac.uk/en/students/support/disability-matters/using-a-scribe-in-examinations/

https://www.westminster.ac.uk/current-students/support-and-services/disability-learning-support/exam-scribes


We are responsible for what we are, and whatever we wish ourselves to be, we have the power to make ourselves. ~ Swami Vivekanand
Drag0nspeaker
Posted: Thursday, January 24, 2019 6:54:36 AM

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It's probably just because it never came up in my 'world';
1. I can write for myself
2. I've not taken a Uni exam since 1974 - at that time there was no (or only rudimentary) internet. Someone wanting such service would have to (probably via their tutor) contact the examination authorities and ask for help. It's not something which would have been advertised.


Wyrd bið ful aræd - bull!
Romany
Posted: Thursday, January 24, 2019 6:59:21 AM
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As Robjen states that his friends specifically told him it meant cheating, I think we can safely conclude that they weren't referring to scribes - who are usually provided by the Education Department: there would be nothing in that which could be referred to as "cheating".

Also, we don't know what the friend meant by "brochure". Obviously it wouldn't be something put out by the university itself. However leaflets and advertising circulate around campuses among students - not only for false diplomas, but for written papers - and even for people who sell weed (marijuana)!

At one market I went to somewhere in the middle of Thailand they even had templates from my own University. As it's considered a good uni in Australia, but is not particularly well-known outside of Australia, I could only conclude that someone, some time, had wanted to bump their own qualifications from my Alma Mata up a notch and award themselves an honour they had never recieved!

As a Lecturer one has to be aware and ahead of all these dodges though, as Ruth pointed out, it's easier than ever before now to spot and prove cheating or plagiarism...but people still try!
Parpar1836
Posted: Thursday, January 24, 2019 10:25:43 AM
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RuthP: Intriguing! The challenge is for teachers/instructors/professors to stay one step ahead of the cheaters.
RuthP
Posted: Thursday, January 24, 2019 12:57:13 PM

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srirr wrote:
robjen wrote:
I got this idiom "hire a pen" from one of my non-native English speaking friends. They said it means that you cheat on major assignments and exams by hiring someone to do them for you. I tried to look it up in dictionaries. But, I couldn't find it.

Then, I asked my friend where he got the idiom. He said he found it in a brochure last year, but he threw it away.

I think he made a mistake. What is the correct idiom?

Thank you for your time and help.


I re-read the post and something crossed my mind.

If your friend says it was somewhere in a brochure, it is less likely to be an illegal thing. He perhaps misunderstood that it links to cheating in writing an assignment or an examination paper. Though it does not look like a recognized idiom, I have a feeling it is about 'scribe in examinations' and your friend took it wrong.

From the keywords examination and assignments, I guess the brochure was from some educational institution. Why would an educational institution put something on its brochure which promotes cheating? They may promote the facility of providing scribes in examinations. This is what I can infer from "hire a pen".

It is not the institution of education, whether secondary school or university level, that puts out the brochures. These are printed by the companies that hire people to put together (I hesitate to say "write") these papers. Given the availability of color printing, such brochures may even be produced by an individual wishing to make money this way.

I'm not sure "illegal" describes this, as I am unaware of any actual laws against this. It is certainly unethical and I'm, certain, against the rules of any legitimate educational institution.
Parpar1836
Posted: Thursday, January 24, 2019 7:04:33 PM
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I was shocked to see what was being openly peddled on the Internet. One site offered samples on particular topics that were scrambled so that the vocabulary pertaining to the topic was there, but was automatically rendered pretty much unintelligible because of the way the text had been scrambled. The subject of this particular 'research paper" was the inception of the National Theatre of the Deaf, a subject that I can justly claim to know something about, and which I've written about in DEAF LIFE, the magazine I work for. I also know something about the histories of NTD on the market.

I imagine that there are people who earn money by cranking out "research papers" for these firms, which sell them at handsomely high prices. Some of them may even be students or former students who have found a lucrative way to put their own work to use.

Most of my college papers, which were all my original work, were destroyed in the aftermath of the fire that pretty much destroyed my parents' apartment in 1986 (the same one in which I lost most of my books and cherished possessions). Although the fire began in the apartment above ours, there was extensive water damage, chopped-through ceilings, etc. The water damage reduced my papers to mouldering pulp.
srirr
Posted: Friday, January 25, 2019 12:16:48 AM

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Interesting viewpoints so far.

1. One thing we all are agreeing to is that 'to hire a pen' is not a recognized idiom. It can be a play on words by the advertiser, deliberately made to seek attention of readers of brochure. Also, it is likely to be used or known in some particular zone. Although with proper context, we may figure out what it can mean.

2. Robjen's friend says it means to cheat in writing assignments or exam papers. As it is not a valid (?) idiom, the meaning is just the opinion of the friend. It is what the friend understands it to be. He may misunderstand. We should not conclude that it is the correct interpretation. Even if the friend's words are correct, then also it is not something which can be understood by people outside that circle.

3. I have seen advertisements for getting assignments done by someone else, but I have never seen any advertisement for assisting in cheating in examinations. Think I second Ruth that it may not be illegal to write someone else's assignments, but it is really unethical. Here, I assume, we are referring to class assignments. Of course, there are legal provisions against writing someone else's examination papers.

4. Ruth is also correct in saying that these brochures can be handed out by an individual or a private small group. Brochure may mean a leaflet or a booklet used for advertisement.


So, to OP's question, "What is the correct idiom?", there is probably none. Anxious


We are responsible for what we are, and whatever we wish ourselves to be, we have the power to make ourselves. ~ Swami Vivekanand
Jyrkkä Jätkä
Posted: Friday, January 25, 2019 3:49:04 AM

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After reading all these comments I've started to think hire a pen could fit in a situation where an owner-manager of some small business, who might be good doing business but not a penman, wanted to hire a scribble to write a brochure or short history of the company or press release. Of course the subscriber tells the writer what exactly should be written. The penman would take care or the grammar and diction.

Just a thought. Think


In the beginning there was nothing, which exploded.
Drag0nspeaker
Posted: Friday, January 25, 2019 4:16:35 AM

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That sounds like a 'scribe' as I understand it.
The author takes care of the meaning and the scribe does the actual writing.

************
A sort of 'in-between person' is the technical writer.

He takes the 'meaning' which the scientist or technician wants to communicate and writes it in language which can be understood by the 'general public' or 'investors' or some other group.
Here, the technical meaning is the responsibility of the researcher, but the actual written article is the responsibility of the writer.


Wyrd bið ful aræd - bull!
Jyrkkä Jätkä
Posted: Friday, January 25, 2019 4:33:22 AM

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Something like that, Drag0n. And nothing illegal or cheating in it.


In the beginning there was nothing, which exploded.
Drag0nspeaker
Posted: Friday, January 25, 2019 5:19:19 AM

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No, quite a skilled business, I believe.
I guess it requires good writing skills (obviously) but also a good ability to read and understand technical data in many fields.
I have a friend who is a professional, and he's very well-paid. It seems to be a slow job (well, not just a quick 'read the original and type out the article' action - quite exacting).

Wyrd bið ful aræd - bull!
Parpar1836
Posted: Friday, January 25, 2019 9:29:10 AM
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A "hired pen" could then mean pretty much the same thing as "freelance editor."
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