Good Excuses for Unfinished Homework

Updated on October 26, 2016
Jeannieinabottle profile image

Jeannie has been writing online for over 8 years. She covers a wide variety of topics—anything from hamsters to office work.

Homework - The Nightmare Begins

Homework is something we've all had to deal with at times in our lives. It doesn't matter if you are in kindergarten (and if you are, hey, thanks for figuring out how to read so soon and checking out my hub) or you are an adult with a work project you need to take home. We all have to deal with homework at some point. So for everyone out there, ages 2 to 102, I have some helpful excuses you can give if you have not finished your homework.

Try Honesty

OK, OK, I know this is a crazy one, but sometimes honesty is the best excuse you can use. Not only is it the moral way to go, it is usually the most effective as long as it is a good reason. Did you have a death in the family? What about getting at home at 11 at night and not being able to complete it? (For college students, more like 3 AM, but adjust the time as needed.) Did a real emergency come up?

In many cases, actually telling the truth will often get you out of doing homework. At times, it won't help if the truth just isn't good enough. Some examples of when honesty goes wrong includes:

  • You did not finish your homework because you were watching a Duck Dynasty marathon.
  • You never started your homework because of that 12 hour nap you needed to take.
  • Staring at the wall seemed like a much better idea than actually doing work.
  • Playing video games all night long was more important than school work.
  • You were fighting for your right to party.
  • You were partying.

Embellish the Truth a Little

So maybe nothing catastrophic happened when you should have been doing the homework, but perhaps something really did come up. Maybe you were diligently working on your homework when your friend called crying. You are a good friend and there is more to life than just homework. So naturally, you had to take the call and calm her down. Sure, maybe she was only crying because someone bought the last bag of her favorite Twizzlers at CVS, but no one needs to know that.

Instead, you can explain to your teacher that a very upset friend called you while you were in the middle of doing your homework. She was crying over a very personal matter (no one will question that... the teacher will assume her cat died or her boyfriend dumped her) and you could not finish all your work. As long as you get about half of it done, a nice teacher will appreciate the effort and give you more time. A strict teacher is still going to deduct that from your grade. Sorry... next time, don't pick up the phone when Melodramatic Melanie calls.

Confession Time

Admit it, you've made a lame excuse for unfinished homework...

See results

Play Dumb

A good strategy whenever you don't have your homework is to pretend you did not even realize homework existed. You can't make this work a lot, but you might be able to get by with this once or twice. This works even better if you can get other classmates in on it. Make sure to practice your "perplexed stares" in the mirror in the bathroom.

"Homework? What homework?"

"We have homework?"

"What assignment? That is due today?"

"You said that was due next week, right?"

With a little practice and a few confused statements for the teacher, you might just be able to pull off this whole thing. Good luck!

The dog ate my homework!


Funny Excuses

If you've pretty much determined your teacher, professor, or boss is not going to fall for any excuse you give, you may as well make your excuses as hilarious as humanly possible. You might not get away with turning in unfinished homework, but you might be able to get some extra time to do it if you can be entertaining.

Some good, funny excuses you might want to consider using are:

"The dog ate my homework." This is a good, traditional excuse. Once your teacher takes a walk down memory lane with this one, you both might get a good laugh.

"Aliens abducted me and I did not have time to do all my homework." If possible, show some scars from the abduction... even if they are just weird moles. By the way, you might want to get the really weird moles checked out by a doctor.

"The zombie apocalypse broke out last night while you were sleeping. I managed to conquer all of them, but that left me little time to finish my paper on Shakespeare. You can thank me for saving humanity by giving me an extra day to finish this assignment." Oh yeah. No one can say "no" to that!

"A group of crazed homework thieves stole my homework!" Your teacher won't expect you to die for your homework, right?

"I was sick last night and threw up on my homework. I did not want to gross you out, so I can't turn it in yet." Sickening your teacher or professor is a great way to get out of homework.

"My homework turned into an amazing discovery. Currently, the patent is pending for it, but I will turn it in as soon as that happens. I wouldn't want you stealing my ideas!" Not only is this a funny excuse, it would be awesome if it could be true.


Classic Excuses

I am a pretty honest person, so I am not going to encourage you to lie. To be real with you, I was a total nerd that turned in homework on time. However, I happen to have many friends that are totally dishonest and got away with it. Some excuses that always seemed to work for them include:

Death in the family (It is best not to make it a close family member since that is easy for a teacher to check on. A random cousin is best.)

Death of a pet (Goldie the Goldfish passing away the night before could be quite traumatic. That burial at sea took some preparation!)

Forced to babysit (This could be a sibling or a niece or nephew. The older you are, the more likely it is your own kid keeping you from getting stuff done.)

Illness (If you claim you were really sick, you are likely to get away with this. If you pretend you were in the hospital, that might seal the deal.)

Your homework fell in water (This only works if you have a stream, river, pond, or some other body of water near your school. It helps if it is a windy day.)

Band practice (Band, football, cheer leading, soccer, or any other practice that goes overtime is a good excuse, but only use it maybe once a semester or year. Unless you have a really nice teacher, eventually he or she will get tired of it and try to convince you that you are not able to participate in after school activities due to poor time management skills... beware!)

Homework overload (If you are genuinely overwhelmed by too much homework or just pretending to be overwhelmed, pick your nicest professor or teacher, and mention you may need an extension. Chances are, you will get more time to do your assignment, especially if you can show some of it is done.)

Computer explosion (Back in the day, people used to say, "My computer crashed." Honestly, I don't even know if anyone says that anymore, but a computer malfunction will still work if you are typing an essay.)

Missing flash drive (If you are using your computer for your homework, a missing flash drive is always a suitable excuse if you save all your assignments on it.)

WARNING: If you happen to have a professor, teacher, or boss that is really strict, it is not likely any of these excuses will work for you. Some teachers even ask for a death certificate or hospital paperwork to prove some of these excuses. Yeah, good luck with that.

Turn It In!

In conclusion, there are many good excuses for unfinished homework. However, you should only occasionally use these excuses. Teachers, professors, and bosses don't like a whiny person that can never turn in things on time. Also, other classmates will start to find your behavior quite annoying if they are keeping up and you are not.

Just remember to customize the excuses based on the teacher. Some teachers are big sports fans and are more likely to excuse you if you are busy at football practice. Other teachers are really sympathetic and more likely to excuse you if there is a death in the family. Also, you have to keep in mind you can't use the same excuse too many times. There are only so many times your grandmother can die in one year before all your teachers start talking about you and get suspicious.

If all else fails, never forget your alternative - do you homework and turn it in on time! I know, I am talking crazy, but it is possible. Good luck!

Copyright ©2013 Jeannieinabottle


Submit a Comment
  • Marcy Bialeschki profile image

    Marcy Bialeschki 

    3 weeks ago from Cerro Gordo, IL

    Jeannie, this is hilariously true. I have been a teacher for 32 years. I've heard it all! Yes, I believed and accepted some of these excuses you mention here. But I like the end when you say, Turn It You could probably have it done if you used all the energy you were expending on finding an Good Hub!

  • Jeannieinabottle profile imageAUTHOR

    Jeannie Marie 

    4 weeks ago from Baltimore, MD

    I am glad you enjoyed my hub. I am pretty sure the zombie apocalypse is the next thing that's going to hit us soon anyway!

  • jimagain profile image

    Jim Henderson 

    6 weeks ago from Hattiesburg, Mississippi

    What if the zombie apocalypse really did happen while I was sleeping?

    Not only was this fun but you also provided a much-needed community service to procrastinators like myself.

  • Jeannieinabottle profile imageAUTHOR

    Jeannie Marie 

    4 years ago from Baltimore, MD

    Yeah, it is a good thing kids are trying other excuses. We had the hardest time even getting the dog to pretend he ate the homework. He does not mind chewing on my shoe, but paperwork, well, oh no! Thanks for your comment, favored.

  • favored profile image

    Fay Favored 

    4 years ago from USA

    Kids (in my case) aren't using the dog excuse. They've expanded to other pets ... cats, hamsters, goats, alligator. Or things like the dreaded vacuum got it when "it fell under my bed". Kids are still creative in ways to get out of things they don't want to do. Thankfully there comes a time when they actually do it :)

  • Jeannieinabottle profile imageAUTHOR

    Jeannie Marie 

    7 years ago from Baltimore, MD

    Thanks so much! I am glad you liked it.

  • aethelthryth profile image


    7 years ago from American Southwest

    This was a fun one!

  • Jeannieinabottle profile imageAUTHOR

    Jeannie Marie 

    7 years ago from Baltimore, MD

    Thanks so much! I am happy you enjoyed it.

  • randomcreative profile image

    Rose Clearfield 

    7 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

    You've covered everything! There is something here for everyone. Nicely done.

  • Jeannieinabottle profile imageAUTHOR

    Jeannie Marie 

    7 years ago from Baltimore, MD

    lambservant - Spilling coffee on your homework is a good one. This will especially work for college students pulling all-nighters. Thanks for that one!

    drbj - Honestly, I am not sure if kids still use that excuse, but if not, they should. It is a classic. A dog can even eat a flash drive, which makes it even more convenient. Thanks for checking out my hub.

  • drbj profile image

    drbj and sherry 

    7 years ago from south Florida

    Thanks for the laughs, Jeannie. Are kids still using, 'The dog ate my homework' excuse? And does it work?

  • lambservant profile image

    Lori Colbo 

    7 years ago from Pacific Northwest

    I have given excuses - coffee spilled on it (because it did), I was sick (I was), my car broke down and I didn't get home until midnight etc. They were true but I knew they wouldn't fly. So I would just ask for an extension but understood it that was not doable. Believe it or not I was given grace a few times. As a rule, as I college student, I pretty much did it and turned it in faithfully.

    All this being said, when I was a teen I probably lied on a few occasions. So my poll answer does not include too far in the past because I truly don't remember. As a rule I am usually honest about that stuff. I know, you probably want to hurl mud on my halo. I do lie occasionaly about what I jerk I have been. It's called denial. Nice one Jeannie.

  • Jeannieinabottle profile imageAUTHOR

    Jeannie Marie 

    7 years ago from Baltimore, MD

    billybuc - Hahaha... I am quite sure it was an act! I am happy you enjoyed the hub. Thanks for dropping by!

    pinto2011 - I am sure your children will be happy to learn that excuse and use it when needed. ;-) Thanks for your comment!

  • pinto2011 profile image


    7 years ago from New Delhi, India

    HI Jeannieinabottle. It is anything but genius. I just cannot forget this line "dog ate my homework" and really going to teach so many kids of this excuse. Very funny.

  • billybuc profile image

    Bill Holland 

    7 years ago from Olympia, WA

    I could play dumb with the best of them....some would say maybe I wasn't acting. LOL

    Great laugh to start my day. Thanks, Jeannie!


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