Whereas the kids tend to have their stock three-word phrases, I have more of a four-word phrase arsenal. Here’s a sampling off the top the head.

“No doubt, rainbow trout.” (Yes. Or “Indubitably” as the Lollys say it.)
“No dice, cheese slice.”  (No.)
“Let the King decide.” (When I want to give them the illusion of choice.)
“Glad I’m not you.” (A Nelson Muntz stylie ha ha.)
“Then you woke up.” (A NO! that should be obvious.)
“Don’t penetrate the bubble.”  (“Don’t stand so close to me.”)
“Spit out the gum.” (“How can you spot that so well?” “I just look for the ones that look like cows.”)
“Show me the KBARR.” (Or vocabulary or book or warmup or…)
Read, Trackword, doodle, nap.” (What they can do if they’re done with the test early.)
“Please pay the Popple.” ( For dropping a clicker or forgetting a book or renting a pencil.)
“Join me at break.” (Detention.)
“Why’re you still talking?” (Ummmm. Shut up. Now.)
“This isn’t a democracy.” (Duh. This one is especially appropriate lately, with us reading Charlotte Doyle. I think Jaggery even uses that line, or words to that effect.)
“While we are young.” (Too late for some of us.)
“You are killing me.” (I think this one speaks for itself.)

But lately, I’ve been busting out a three-word phrase much more often.

“No, you’re not.”

It’s always been a bit of a seventh grade thing to say “I’m sorry” as sort of a reflex reaction. You call them on something, and they blurt, “I’m sorry.”

“Quiet you.”

“I’m sorry.”

“Would you PLEASE just stop?”


It’s like when the doctor hits your knee, and it jumps. It doesn’t matter if it’s the first time or the 100th time, if he hits your knee with the little rubber hammer, it will jump. It doesn’t matter if it’s the first time or the 100th time, if you call a kid on jabbering in class or being a pain in the heinie, he will say,

“I’m sorry.”

“No, you’re not.”

“What? Yes I am.”

“No, you’re not.” (This is kind of fun.)


“Prove it.”


“Prove you are sorry by changing the behavior.”

D’oh. That’s a whole ‘nother matter. They seem to think the phrase is some sort of  “get out of jail free card,” sort of like “I was absent.” (Another classic seventh grade three-word phrase.)

I am slowly exterminating the reflexive sorry. Now that the shock of me calling BS on their pat excuse has worn off, I’ve been playing with other responses.

“Now you’re lying. I see how it is. I thought we had a relationship.”


Some of them are even starting to realize how often they do it without thinking.

“I’m sorry.”

“No, you’re not.”

“You’re right.”

“Well then…”

The next step is SBD for the insincere sorry.