In 1958, newspaper columnist N. S. Olds related in the Villager [Greenwich Village, New York] his conversation with poet Robert Frost (1876 – 1963) about a diverting incident in Amherst College, where Frost was a lecturer.
Frost was a casual lecturer and he disliked formalities. His way of teaching English literature to his students was to conduct informal talks at his house. So, he was not fond of giving formal exams, but he had no choice as those were mandatory.
“But I made them as simple as I could,” Frost said. “Once I asked only one question: ‘What good did my course do to you?’ and requested brief replies. The answer I liked best was ‘Not a damn bit!'”
“Did you pass him?”
“Yes, I gave him a 90.”
“Why not 100?”
“He left the ‘n’ off damn.”