Updated on October 4, 2015
GRAMMAR GURU or GRAMMAR POLICE?
Some people correct others’ grammar during casual conversation or on social media (especially FB) while remaining oblivious to why people find the habit annoying. From their perspective, they’re only helping.
No matter how you go about correcting someone’s English, unless you are a teacher grading a student’s work or a copy editor, you can come off as acting superior aka a Grammar Nazi.
The Urban Dictionary defines a Grammar Nazi: One who uses proper grammar and spelling to subtly mock or deride those who do not; an exhibitor of grammatical superiority.
I’m not saying proper spelling and grammar aren’t important. Quite the contrary, proper grammar, spelling, and punctuation are very important.
However, consistently pointing out linguistic shortcomings to gain a twisted sense of superiority is very much like junior high put-downs. If the error offers no impediment to understanding, there’s no real reason to give unsolicited correction.
My recommendation, if you tend toward these Grammar Nazis tendencies, is to resist the urge to fix. It’s not attractive when you publicly shame people for grammatical gaffes in conversation or typos in social media. On the other hand, if you are the aforementioned teacher or copy editor, by all means, mark every error you find and provide the proper form.
While I’m saddened by the increased loosening of rules where grammatical errors are accepted in social, public communication in society, especially when it applies to public forums and social media, I’m not about to become a Grammar Nazi. I make too many errors myself.
I will admit to having certain pet peeves where spelling, grammar, and punctuation are concerned. I’ll be sharing those in blogs over the next few weeks.
What about you? Are you a grammar purist or a police officer when you read or hear a grammatical errors?