On being a Grammar Nazi (and not falling prey to one)

March 12, 2014

 I admit I am a Grammar Nazi. You can blame my intensive campus journalism training for this and the mere fact that I grew up with an exuberant desire for reading. It has its perks and disadvantages but most of the time I dwell on the former. For those who do not know what it means, a grammar nazi is a common term used on the internet and on social websites for an individual noticing a grammatical or spelling mistake and correcting it consistently (definition not mine; I copied it here). Well, I think what sets me aside from extreme grammar nazis is that I don’t always go commenting on other people’s posts to correct them, unless I’m in the mood to troll around, and unless of course you’re my friend and we’re really close.

Recently, I found a post on ThoughtCatalog and I decided to write about my own take on this. These are all based from personal experiences. And if you’ve admitted it to yourself already, I’m pretty sure you will be able to relate to most of these.

  1. You mentally correct other people’s grammar when talking, while reading, and in social media posts (especially when you know them, even if you don’t). It’s just an automatic thing. You add s to words that need an s, you correct the tenses they used or the spelling of the word. Name the error, you can correct it.
  2. A switch is automatically flicked and you snap whenever someone is talking and he/she murders a word or sentence. Let me cite an example. Friend #1 was talking to me but I was unaware of that because I was talking to Friend #2. So Friend #1 was so witty that he came up with a way to get my attention. While I was still conversing with Friend #2, Friend #1 started talking in English and made an error on purpose, which resulted to my head automatically turning to his direction and immediately blurting out the correct term for what he just said. Well, for me, it’s a bit funny because he already knows my weakness and what he could do to get my attention. In this situation at least, it was done on purpose. But I have had a lot of experiences before when it wasn’t.
  3. You copy read articles or any written medium while reading it. I am very guilty of this. I know nobody’s perfect. But sometimes I feel a hint of dismay whenever I read news blogs or articles that have a lot of errors. You might probably say that I am overreacting, but you see, I’ve been intensively trained, as I’ve mentioned, and it is a MUST to copyread articles over and over again before submitting it to the printing press. But now, when everything can be posted and uploaded with just one click, I think that rule which used to be a MUST has been forgotten.
  4. You’ve tweeted or posted something related to emphasizing the difference between your and you’re,  they’re, there and their, etc. at one point… or even more than once. I know it’s not my duty to go on and tell people, but I think it’s just right to remind them sometimes. At least when you post about it, other people can read it. Well if they don’t do something about it, then there’s just something really off.
  5. The moment you finish writing something, you tend to go over it twice, thrice, or even a couple more times just to make sure there are no errors. If you are a public grammar nazi, you can’t actually get away from the judgmental eyes of people who might be waiting for you to commit your biggest grammar mistake. So there is this sense of compulsiveness to not commit a mistake on any of your posts (especially if you are maintaining a blog like what I’m doing).

These are just five basic concepts but I know you could relate (if you’re a grammar nazi). If you’re not, you might have probably been annoyed by one or more in the past. I know, nobody’s perfect and that everyone can commit mistakes unintentionally. Typos are understandable, but if you commit the same mistake over and over again without learning from it, there must be something wrong. Remember, even the minutest habits and traits we have say something about us. And if you don’t care so much about your grammar, yet you go on being preoccupied with things that don’t actually matter, then that means wrong priorities. So if I were you, know the differences among basic words you usually use (you’re and your; there, they’re and their; its and it’s; we’re and were etc.). I assure you, it’s for your own good. 😉

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