Grammar Nazis

Don’t you just hate those people who hound you for using improper grammar at the most ridiculous times? Why does it matter if you write “go get you’re calorie-laden ice cream” or “Thomass posts are so lame”? I’m confident that you’ll get your message across, even if you do misuse your participles and gerunds. It’s no surprise that Grammar Nazis are viewed as pretentious and unhelpful human beings.

The title isn't italicized! It's in quotation marks! It burns!

Well, I’m one of them.

I don’t claim to be an especially knowledgeable person when it comes to the English language, and yet, I can’t help myself from correcting errors I see. Everywhere. Whether it be my nine-year-old cousin stating that she’s “good” instead of “well”, or when my friend texts me saying “you “dont” have any real friends” as opposed to “you “don’t” have any real friends”, I feel this urge to fix their grammatical mistakes.

I haven’t always been like this. Several years ago, when I first joined Goodreads, my reviews was horrible. I literally cringe whenever I read my earlier reviews, solely because my grammar was so bad. Now I am careful to utilize the correct “your, you’re”, or “they’re, their, there”. I still make the occasional mistake, but their they’re happening less frequently now.

There are a few reasons that I transformed into a Grammar Nazi. One reason is that I’ve been learning more about writing and how to write well by attending school and taking Honors and AP English courses. Another reason is that I love to read and write. I entrench myself in amazing books, so I hope my own writing should improve as a result. Although there was that one incident…

I walk into my Latin class, expecting another fun-filled lesson about subjunctives and indirect statements.

“How are you doing, Thomas?” my Latin teacher asks.

“I’m good, thanks, how are you?” I say.

“You’re not good,” my Latin teacher replies.

Oh, snap, I think to myself, what have I done? Did I fail that test last class? I’ve done all of my homework this entire year! Could he be referring to that time when I was three-years-old and wrote on the walls with marker? Calm down, deep breaths, deep breaths

I stare at him.

“You’re well,” he says,” remember what we learned about adjectives and adverbs? You cannot be good, you can be well.”

“Oh, yeah, I’m well, thank you for correcting me,” I say. He doesn’t know about the marker, whew…

After having my Latin teacher correct me numerous times, I now always say that I am “well”. I suppose classical conditioning in a sense can support your use of proper grammar – if you’re always around people who use it, or if you’re constantly corrected by Grammar Nazis like me, then your own grammar will improve. It’s a win-win situation.

What do you think of Grammar Nazis? Do you dislike them, or are you one of them? I left a grammar mistake in this post on purpose, see if you can find it! Now I’m slightly afraid people will point out things that I thought were correct…

I really need to catch up on my reading, so, see you guys next post!


Filed under Personal, Words

16 responses to “Grammar Nazis

  1. I knew I liked you for a reason. I have been a grammar Nazi since I was your age. And yes, I found your error. SO glad you knew it was there!

    A couple of years ago, a stranger asked me how I was doing. I said “I am well.” He was taken aback. He replied, “And grammatically correct.” I live for moments like those.

    • I’m glad being grammatically correct has elevated your estimation of me. (:

      I connect with you there! My history teacher asked me how I was doing a few months ago, and I answered “well.” He gave me a sticker for being grammatically correct. It made my day.

  2. totally used to be one during SAT time, but now I’m a bit more lax and misspell things on purpose and twist around grammar for my own aesthetic satisfaction. There is a difference between written and spoken language, and I do think it is permissible to indulge in grammatically incorrect colloquialisms (ha. ha.), so as long grammar Nazis aren’t too overbearing with correcting everything, it’s totally okay.. I imagine grammar Nazis would have a field day with Italy.. I just learned the other day that “snobbare” means “to ignore”.. “stoppare” also means “to stop”.. =.=

    • I’ve noticed that in your writing! Like my English teacher said, once one has mastered the concept (in your case, grammar) they’re able to take liberties with it (in your case, “grammatically incorrect colloquialisms”… ha ha).

  3. I admit to being momentarily horrified at your mistake. Now feeling foolish that I didn’t realise it was a fake mistake! Yes, I’m a stickler for grammar. Spelling too. I think everybody should be.

    I’m ashamed on the occasions when someone critiques my work and it has a *gasp* spelling mistake.

    • Don’t worry, judging from the other commenters everyone was mortified upon reading my mistake. It would’ve been quite ironic if I made the mistake on purpose…

      I agree! I suppose being overbearing in terms of correcting people over small things is unnecessary, but overall grammar and spelling are very important.

      I have a friend who blames all her spelling mistakes on typos. Maybe you can try that? Unless your once in a blue moon misspelling does come from typos… otherwise… it’s okay.

  4. Lol I used to be a grammar Nazi, but I cooled down about it after a while. You may have noticed my horribly put together (grammatically, I mean) tweets… Yeah.

    I noticed the mistake and was like “LOL YOU JUST LOOKED SILLY WITH THAT MISTAKE PAHAHAHA N00B.” then I realize you did that intentionally and I was all “:|” because I felt mean.

    Just kidding, you’re not a n00b, Thomas. And now Google is telling me every word I type is wrong because it’s not French. Hmm. Anyway, I’m gonna go write my speech on progressive issues, okay, so SEE YA.

    • Tweets are meant to be informative or in some way interesting, not beautifully written, so I forgive you. And your tweets are pretty attention-grabbing, especially to a Key, I mean, K-Pop fan.

      It’s okay, I know I’m a loser… ): And good luck on your speech! Don’t procrastinate too much!

  5. I don’t know why I had not realized that you’re a Grammar Nazi, that’s why your reviews sound so … well much more mature for a teenager, and naturally better than mine, and you’ll have to admit that a significant percent of the teenage population is notorious for Grammar mistakes.

    I’ll let you know that I’m also a Grammar Nazi but I must confess that I’ll slip up every now and then. I too cringe when I get myself into thinking a particular piece of my writing is void of annoying mistakes and then have someone come and point out where I had gone wrong.Cringe-tastic!(Yes I made that one up)

    With all of your reviews on Goodreads that must be a headache to go over an edit the ones you’d written before becoming a Grammar Nazi(GN) but they’re all good anyways:)With that being said I’m not a really really really strict GN.

    Happy Reading,Thomas!

    • Aw, thank you for the compliment! In my opinion the best way to improve your book reviews would be to keep writing them… constantly. For every single book you read that you have some sort of reaction to. I literally write a review for every book I read, and naturally my reviews have improved since I first started writing them – I still have room for improvement though, just like everyone else.

      I know that feeling! It’s similar to when you write something, leave it alone, come back to it the next day, re-read it, and realize all of the careless errors you made. No wonder editing and revising are important steps in the writing process.

      Same, I’m not a super super super strict grammar Nazi (by super strict, I’m still a little unclear on the difference between gerunds and participles, the passive periphrastic, etc.)

      Thanks for reading and commenting Devina!

    • Taylor

      *anyway; they’re all good anyway.

  6. Thomas: Your Latin teacher is wrong. “I’m good” is grammatically fine. Some people find that the two phrases “I’m good” and “I’m well” convey different aspects of one’s state of being or health. The fallacy of “One Right Way” permeates popular ideas of language and does it a disservice; so it is in this case.

    I find that “Grammar Nazis” tend to be rather vague, at best, on the differences between grammar, style, and usage. These differences are significant. So are the connotations of the phrase Grammar Nazi.

    • I see what you mean. I think stating “I’m good” is fine, but in response to a question like “how are you doing?”, “I’m well” would be the more grammatically correct of the two. Though you’re right that there isn’t just one way when it comes to things like this.

      The term Grammar Nazi is jokingly used to describe someone who is uptight about grammar in general. One’s interpretation of the phrase may vary but I believe that to be the overarching definition.

  7. Maddie

    Um, I hope it’s not too incredibly awkward that I’m commenting on a post from two and a half years ago.

    Anyway, I’m a grammar nazi. My friend once asked me to edit a paper for him, so I did. He was so overwhelmed by all the edits I suggested that he didn’t change anything at all.

    • Not awkward at all, Maddie! It’s great to know that people still read some of these older posts.

      Aw, poor guy. I guess it’s good that you’re assiduous with your revisions, as long as you always remember to keep the big picture in mind. (:

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