The title of this post was originally meant to be ‘Lessuns in Grammer, Speling and Puncshuashun’. That didn’t work out because I was afraid that, had I clicked the ‘publish’ button, I would have to walk around with that disturbingly flawed title on my conscience for the rest of my life. I would probably get a big black X beside my name in my Life Book. So I decided to stick with the clichéd but grammatically accurate ‘I didn’t choose the Grammar Nazi life – the Grammar Nazi life chose me.’
Please forgive my OCD.
I’m very ashamed to admit that I am a Grammar Nazi. I’d like to blame it on my genes, but I can’t. Alarmingly, my mother has no qualms about using ‘who’ in place of ‘whom’. It shocks me that my mother, my mother, would let her grammar fall into such a state of disarray. It’s having an impact on me as well. I’ve fallen into the bad habit of using semi-colons when colons will suffice. I have to do something about this before I end up being entirely gangsta. Just imagine – I may start scribbling ‘Mushroomsup rox!’ in library books.
I’m not proud of being a grammar Nazi. It’s a disease. When somebody says “What is the time in your watch?” my immediate response is “by your watch.” I like to think that I’ve taught the inquirer something new, but in fact, all they’ve learnt is that they should never ask me for the time. It’s quite sad, actually. The inquirer has left to ask someone else for the time, while I’m sitting there all alone, telling myself, “It is half past three by my watch.” The same thing happens when someone says, “[Insert Name] and me will grab a bite on the way out.” I can barely stop myself from shaking them by the shoulders and weeping, “It’s [Insert name] and I, for heaven’s sakes! [Insert name] and I!
The average Grammar Nazi has no friends. When someone says, “I’m headed for the movie theatre, would you like to come?” the grammar Nazi is busy wondering whether it is ‘headed for’ or ‘headed to’. It’s a lonely life in Grammar-ny (If that didn’t make you think of Germany, I apologize – making terrible puns is another characteristic of a Grammar Nazi).
Every time I write a post for this blog, I spend most of my time rushing to check grammar forums to see if I have used a certain word correctly and in the right grammatical context. If I can’t find the answer on grammar forums, I’m forced to resort to asking my mother. I get on her nerves. Sometimes I get on my own nerves.
Spoken grammar is nothing when it comes to comparing it with written grammar – social networking is enough to propel a Grammar Nazi to suicide. I know I’m being a prick when I comment ‘*You’re, not your’ on injudiciously titled photographs, but I just can’t help it. I feel compelled to educate the world, no matter how unwilling my pupils are. The Grammar Nazi’s job is the most underappreciated job in the world.
One of my pet peeves is people using more than one exclamation mark or question mark at the end of a sentence. Why would they do that? Do they want to convey a level of surprise or inquisitiveness that one single exclamation/ question mark cannot handle? Is there a set of rules I haven’t heard about? Perhaps one exclamation mark indicates mild surprise, two indicate shock and horror, three indicate eye-popping disbelief, and so on. Still, I haven’t heard of these rules, and this trend shall continue to annoy me until someone draws my attention to such a set of rules. As a rule, all Grammar Nazis love rules.
I like the fact that Microsoft Word and most word processors have an ability to check spelling and grammar. I do have a bit of an ego when it comes to spelling and grammar check, though. I’m glad when Word corrects others, but I’m not so happy when it corrects me. I hate those little red and green lines under the words and the ominous command ‘Fragment – consider revising.’ I’ll have you know, Microsoft Word, that I’m extremely partial to sentence fragments. They’re my favourite kind of grammatical error. If there’s one grammatical mistake I’ll tolerate, it’s a sentence fragment. Also, don’t try to correct my spelling errors. Seriously; you don’t want to mess with me.
I’ll conclude with some advice: Never ask a Grammar Nazi to proof read anything you’ve written. You WILL regret it. By the time the Grammar Nazi’s done, you’ll be weeping in despair. The Grammar Nazi will then comfort you by saying, “There, they’re, their.”