Thanks to couple of handy, and memory-jogging, suggestions from Ms. W. over there in the comments, our list of junior high three-word phrases has grown.

Here are the original 12:
1. “It’s not fair.” – Used for anything they don’t like.
2. “This is boring.” – See #1.
3. “What’s my grade?” – “I am pretending I care.”
4. “What I miss?” – See #3.
5. “I don’t care.” – “I really do care, but I don’t think I can do anything about it.”
6. “I don’t know.” – “I might know, but can’t admit it, because then I would face consequences.” Or, if that is not the case, “I don’t even know what the question was.”
7. “I SAW you.” – “I can’t believe you exist outside the classroom.”
8. “I hate ____.” (math, you, cauliflower, etc.) – See #1.
9. “S’not my fault.” – “It really is my fault.”
10. “I’ve a question.” – “I really do (or did) have a question, but it might (probably) not have anything to do with what you’re talking about.”
11. “It’s at home.” – “I didn’t do it.”
12. “Because it’s fun.” – “Because it annoys you.”

We now have four more:

13. “I’m not late.” – “I’m late.” I like to point out chapter and verse from the tardy policy in student handbook that says they are to be in their seats, ready to work when the period begins. That means notebook out and the whole nine. (We don’t have bells, except for the end of break and lunch. And whenever we have a weird schedule, the bells are always late, and I end up going into the office and yelling, “BELL?”) That’s a great weapon for the ones that lag in the hall just outside, thinking they can time it, and come rushing in. I hate that. I don’t get this one much more than once from any of them.
14. “It wasn’t me.” – And Ms. W is correct; it’s often said almost unprompted. Like one of  the original “got milk?” ads with the husband and wife up having a midnight snack, and she says, “You thought I wouldn’t find out?” about using the last of the milk. And he starts admitting to all sorts of stuff, “A cubic zirconium looks just like the real thing!” (Here’s a link to the short version.)  Middle schoolers do this all the time. In fact, I can still remember my dad chiding me, “Got a guilty conscience?” This one is closely related to #9.
15. “I was absent.” – “I’m playing my get-out-of-jail-free card.”  You wish. So what have you done about it? Did you go check the web site? Did you come in this morning or at break to talk to me?  Did you call anybody? Did you at least do your KBAR reading? Did the English Fairy tell you it would be OK ?
16. “I’m not ready.” – “I’m not ready.” For once, it’s the whole truth.

Thanks Ms. W!