Honestly, I’m just going to call them pedants because I don’t want to write ‘Grammar Nazi’ a million times. Same difference. #OxymoronAlert
This post also doubles as my response to this:
The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Phobia, Shmobia.”
Fears evolve over time. What is one fear you’ve conquered?
I have conquered my fear of grammar pedants (because we should all fear people who can find the time to get so outraged over nothing)!
So my friend was involved in a ‘discussion’ with someone on Facebook last week and I happened to see some of his comments. They were riddled with grammatical errors. And not the auto-correct type, but genuine deliberate errors such as ‘human beans’. Now, if my friend was a grammar pedant, they could easily have used it against this person. I’ve seen it done a million times, regardless of whether or not they’re even arguing.
Years ago, I used to follow two particular people on Twitter who were always complaining about bad grammar in fanfiction, you know, those absolutely free stories on the Internet that no one is obliged to read. The complaints were frequent and irritating but…neither of them were interested in actually helping these people with bad grammar. That is a trait that most grammar pedants seem to share. That being said, there are some decent people out there. I’ve had people message me privately to say, ‘oh, you made a mistake here’ – that’s fine. Blatantly calling someone out on their grammar in a rude and impolite manner isn’t.
Unsurprisingly, there’s WikiHow page detailing how we can all become Grammar Pedants. I will dissect it point by point (even though no one asked me to).
Study English. This is the most important step, of course, if you want to become a grammar Nazi of English. Studying English in depth will give you a good understanding of the language, which will allow you to catch others’ mistakes in their speech and writing.
…yes, but why study something just to catch others’ (I love how they included the apostrophe!) mistakes? What do people get out of it? Are they that desperate for an ego boost?
Recognize any incorrect grammar habits you yourself may have. Do you say “Me and my friends went” instead of “My friends and I went”? Correct yourself, and you will learn to recognize your own mistakes. You should be aware of your own grammar before being critical of others’ grammar.
‘You should be aware of your own grammar before being critical of others’ grammar‘ — One of those two people on Twitter was always complaining about the corrections someone else made in their work. I found that very, very amusing. How are you going to sit up there and act like your writing is so perfect that bad writing offends you, when evidently, you’re not as perfect as you think you are?
Needless to say, we had a falling out.
I’ve also seen various people call others out on their grammar…even though they’re using bad grammar themselves.
Listen carefully to what a speaker says and ask for clarification if you need it.This will ensure that you fully understand what they said and aren’t criticizing them for mistakes they didn’t make. Use your manners, of course, and do not interrupt them while they are talking.
This point is reasonable and therefore not at all part of being a Grammar Pedant. Next!
In your head, review their statements using your English knowledge to interpret them. If they do not seem correct, try to find the problem by replacing it with what you (or an English professor), would have said instead. Use this to identify the problem with their statement. If there isn’t a problem, there is no need for you to comment
If you have to review their statement, you’re basically looking for something to comment on. WHY? I’m beating a dead horse, aren’t I? Save me.
Tell them politely of the problem with their grammar. You can do this several different ways without sounding accusatory or vexatious. For example, if they say “I did it on accident”, you can make a joke by pretending to get on top of a car accident between two cars, and tell them, “are you sure you didn’t do it by accident?”. Try to do it without making them feel cloddish, but rather to be aware of how they speak.
I keep hearing that a certain someone has been going around correcting people yet…this same person writes ‘on accident’ which is wrong.
Imagine that, a grammar pedant who says ‘on accident’….the world weeps.
Anyway, few grammar pedants are polite. They usually go out of their way to make their target feel like an idiot. That’s usually followed by the target reacting, and then an argument breaks out. I personally don’t have time for that these days, but I’ve been there and grammar pedants are persistent. Seriously. The misuse of their/they’re/there etc isn’t that deep. Calm the fuck down.
Find mistakes in compositions such as books, magazines, websites, or newspapers. You do not need to inform the publisher of these, however, because they are already published, and they are not going to republish their content for small mistakes (however, websites may or may not).
I am choosing to believe that this page is satire because this is ridiculous. Unless you’re being paid to find mistakes or have entered an agreement to edit something, what is there to be gained from actively looking for mistakes. It is just so weird to me.
Use good manners in any case and do not act like a “know-it-all”, as it will just make you look supercilious and egotistic.
Now I’m complaining about people complaining about petty shit. Thanks for nothing, Grammar Pedants! Feel free to point out any typos.