If you’re a Grammar Nazi, you are in good company.
I am an ardent fan of grammar and all things properly presented.
You might raise a quizzical eyebrow at me if you’ve explored some of my posts prior to reading this.
That’s why I’ve created this handy disclaimer!
You must know that I know all the rules.
Because I LOVE THE RULES.
As a fervent abider, it’s imperative to me that YOU know that I know the rules.
Remember those daily exercises in class where the teacher wrote sentences on the board, and we had to find and change improper verbs or improve punctuation? Best part of my day.
Those Grammar Nazi roots of mine sprouted young and have thickened with time.
While earning my Bachelor’s degree, I worked as a writing consultant for GVSU.
Writing consultants have thirty minutes to meet with each student.
Thirty minutes to silently gather, sort through, and prioritize a student’s paper’s problems.
Thirty minutes to gulp, digest, and spit out solutions-worded-as-questions-so-writer-can-solve-writer’s-own-problems.
Thirty minutes to do all of this amidst students’ tears, outbursts, frustrations, flirtations, distractions, and ambivalence.
The more stylistic rules (and accepted variations) I understood/memorized, the quicker my consultations went.
All consultants were lexicon master, a slayer of syntax. The Writing Center = nerdvana.
Grammatical correctness is next to godliness. – Brooke
Example of life-as-a-Grammar-Nazi:
While I was writing my What Nobody Tells You About Marriage series, I went back and forth about a particular phrase.
I wanted to say “here are the truths, flushed out from the dumb comments people make.”
But the “flushed” part just didn’t sound right. It snagged my eyes every time I read it. I decided to nix it and reword the sentence.
Thank HEAVENS I did.
A few weeks later, I stumbled upon this life-changing article and quickly learned that the correct phrase is “fleshed out,” not “flushed out.”
Of course, in that moment, I couldn’t remember if I had used it in my posts, so I had to drop everything and quickly scan each post to make sure I hadn’t.
Employing incessant grammatical correctness is tiresome. You’re rewarded once a year by a fellow Grammar Nazi and publicly flogged whenever you mess up.
That’s why honing one’s grammar skills is a rare practice.
But Grammar Nazis are constantly honing. To avoid floggings, yes, but mostly to receive the annual appreciative nod from a fellow Nazi.
Grammar Nazis are such Nazis about grammar because of love.
Love makes people do annoying things.
Grammar Nazis are in love with linguistic refinement. They respect and appreciate polished language.
To a Grammar Nazi, a compliment from a fellow Nazi makes all the effort worthwhile.
To a Grammar Nazi, improper grammar is a dagger the heart. That’s why we’re always ruining everyone’s day by correcting everyone’s mistakes.
We can’t help it.
Someone once said that we should never underestimate the seductive power of a decent vocabulary.
(I would attribute this quote to the original speaker, but after a 15-minute scour of the internet, I failed to find a resounding answer of authorship!)
I love this quote, and I argue that this same seductive power applies to grammatical proficiency.
For example, whenever I hear someone say “in regard to,” I nearly cartwheel on the spot.
Few people know that “in regards to” is NEVER correct.
Never ever say “in regards to.”
If you say it with the s in the presence of someone who knows the difference, you will sound like a trout fish.
How did I learn the difference?
By being publicly humiliated by my Arguments and Analyses professor.
I was responding to a question he asked the class when I unwittingly said, “in regards to.”
A&A Professor cut me right off and said, “NO! In re-gard to! Not in re-gards to.” He pinched his thumb and forefinger together in the air before his face while he ranted.
“It’s never, ever, in re-gards to! Why does nobody know this?!” he yelled, shrugging and waving his arms above his head.
He grew up in Germany.
Meanwhile, I had melted through my chair and sucked my body through the cracks in the linoleum floor so I could privately die of embarrassment.
Today, I am happy my professor made me feel like a toad.
Because now I hear bells whenever I hear someone say “in regard to.”
And because I’ll never have to sound like a re-gards fool again.
Back to the disclaimer!
My blog grammar is imperfect because I write the way I speak.
I speak the way most Americans speak.
Most of us speak incorrectly.
My writing occasionally follows suit.
Here are a few things I do incorrectly on purpose:
I end sentences with prepositions.
Correct: [post title] How to Get a Job for Which You’re Totally Unqualified in 9 Steps
P.S. The words in each title are capitalized correctly! Can you believe it?! Who would have thought to capitalize “Was”? Not me, at first, but Grammar Girl showed me the way.
P.P.S. Stay tuned for the How I Got a Job I Was Totally Unqualified For post – subscribe now so you don’t miss it (and so you can get a copy of my FREE eBook)!
I start sentences with “And” and “But.”
Incorrect: I like tacos. But I hate sour cream.
Correct: I like tacos, but I hate sour cream.
Some people argue that starting sentences with “and” or “but” isn’t actually bad grammar. In fact, the experts say that it’s perfectly acceptable! So, technically, this isn’t wrong. But, for the record, I’d NEVER start a sentence with a conjunction in a formal paper/essay/post.
I write in incomplete sentences.
Which is what this sentence is. Lots of my sentences are incomplete because that’s how I like them!
I use comma splices (RARELY).
Incorrect: I’m having a great day, how are you?
Correct: I’m having a great day. How are you?
Two complete sentences must be completely separated by a period, semicolon, colon…
…unless you add an “and” or “but” or other conjunction after the comma.
P.s. Semicolons are only allowed to enjoin two related sentences.
Incorrect: Buttons threw up all over the couch today; my favorite color is purple.
Correct: Buttons threw up all over the couch today; please pick up some couch cleaner on your way home.
DISCLAIMER TO MY DISCLAIMER
IF YOU EVER SPOT A SPELLING/GRAMMAR ERROR ON A POST, PLEASE TELL ME.
Nothing is more embarrassing than accidental poor grammar. Bah!
Like most writers, I’ll want to shove you for telling me, and then I’ll want to kiss you for saving me from future humiliation.
If you ever have a question about anything regarding word choice/style/grammar/punctuation, ask Grammar Girl.
She has boatloads of “quick and dirty tips” that I’ve relied upon dozens of times. She’s my go-to gal.
And, of course, ask me! Email me with any questions you have. I haven’t figured out how to add a “comment” option to this page, so I can’t suggest leaving one below. In the meantime, feel free to comment on any one of my posts with a grammar question!
One last thing.
I am interested in refining/editing anything you need.
From drastic overhaul to fine-tune tweaking, I’ve done it all for hundreds of GVSU grads, friends, and family. I guarantee improvement.
I’m also interested in writing for you.
Either way, let’s talk numbers!