Tuesday, March 19, 2013

I'm not Ashamed to be a Grammar Nazi

Lately a lot of my friends on Facebook have been sharing cool little e-cards.  They're sometimes hilarious, sometimes hilariously true, and sometimes, once in a while, obviously not proof-read.  Anyone can make one and sometimes they go viral. "I can't share this, but it's so awesome!" I think to myself.  The obvious grammar, spelling or logic error makes it completely useless to me.  I've forever been correcting friends' and family's grammar, ever since I was little.  It has alienated a few people, made me unlikeable to some, and irritated just about everyone.  Its part of who I am, though.  Like the friend who has to wash her hands 20 times a day or the cousin with a really irritating laugh with a hair trigger, you pretty much learn to live with it or stop hanging out with me. 

Aside from the term "grammar Nazi" (because, ya know, correcting someones grammar is EXACTLY THE SAME as participating in genocide), I'm cool with being one.  I'm not perfect.  I make mistakes when I'm tired or distracted.  I use the word "like" too much, I sometimes type in all-caps for emphasis.  Sometimes I even put periods after sentence fragments (Also. For. Emphasis.).  I am actually capable of letting similar mistakes go when I find them.  Obvious typos, sentences ending in prepositions, I can handle not correcting these things, they've worked their way into common use with the Information Age (also, you're welcome for not using the word "vernacular" in this sentence).  Improper use of "your/you're" and "their/there/they're" drive me batty, though.  Similarly, correcting these things drives others batty, which leaves us at an impasse.  Either I correct the grammar mistakes I see/hear and feel better or I don't and let others continue to feel alright.

To all those I correct,  I'm really not trying to be a bitch.  When I say something like, "Actually, this sentence requires the use of the word 'their' instead of 'there'," or, "Its spelled a-l-g-o-r-i-t-h-m," I'm not calling you out.  I'm not trying to make you look or feel stupid.  Even though these things come easily to me I understand that everyone has talents in different areas.  Maybe you're a terrible speller, but algebra is a breeze for you.  Maybe you can't tell where an comma goes, but you can run a marathon.  Perhaps you are one of those people who capitalize random letters, but you're a fantastic cook. 

My whole point here is that it's okay for you to embrace your strengths and it's okay for me to embrace mine.  If you're a fantastic musician, mechanic or carpenter that's really awesome!  I'm a good reader, a good speller and halfway decent with English grammar.  That's my thing.  And I'm okay with being good at it, and I'm okay with having a compulsion to correct mistakes.

I will leave you with two thoughts.  The first is that I am always ready to learn something new.  Feel free to correct me when I'm wrong.  Really.  <--- Including that sentence fragment right there.  And the second thought is just a little bit of snark because, well, I wouldn't be me if I didn't include some.


  1. How did I miss this one?! Are your posts not automatically posting on facebook anymore??? I *LOVE* this, and I feel the exact same way. It's always amazed me that people would be perfectly happy to put me "in my place" when I didn't know what they were talking about regarding music, art, religion, what have you (even though many times, I'd wager, I did know what they were talking about - I just didn't agree with them), but the moment I would kindly let them know that they used a word inappropriately or spelled something wrong, I was the asshole grammar police and I needed to loosen the eff up. Yeah, I'm right there with you lady. :)

  2. OK. But is the usage of "forever been" in your very sixth sentence correct?

    1. I don't see anything wrong with it. That particular combination of words isn't in common usage, but it isn't grammatically incorrect. I could be wrong, of course. I'm not perfect.