Why I Corrected your Grammar

I don’t pretend to be an expert on grammar. But, as a professional editor, I suppose I sort of am.

Maybe I’m not an expert but an enthusiast and hobbyist. Yes, because editing is not the primary function of my job, I think it is safe to classify me as a grammar enthusiast.

I am definitely not a grammar dilettante.

Duty Calls

I’ve done this. Image courtesy of XKCD.

And that, dear friend, is why I corrected your grammar when we were speaking.

Oh, I didn’t do it out loud. No, that is douchier than an Ed Hardy T-shirt on Daniel Tosh at the Gathering of the Juggalos.

Though, I did think about  it.

I imagined myself leaping up and shouting from the rooftops, “You actually said, ‘I and my brother went to lunch!’ Did you learn nothing in elementary school?”

Or, I’m reading your blog. I come to a typo (With which my writing is rife), and like Andre the Giant getting body slammed by Hulkamania, I tap out. I start to write a comment (Itself full of misspellings and errant commas), detailing where and how you have grammatically failed.

I don’t click “Post,” of course.

We all make grammar mistakes. We all slip when speaking, when the ideas come too quickly, or when we’re among friends and just feeling lazy. I know this. I accept this. This is precisely why I didn’t jump to the rooftop. This is why I just let my left eye twitch after you finished speaking or skipped that paragraph and let a sleeping dog lie.

Well, that and because if I humiliated my friends wholesale for minor grammar slips, I’d be left justifiably friendless and alone.

Mother Kiphart and I were having a discussion (read: argument) about the purpose of grammar. I gave the longwinded explanation that is the trademark of the former English major. I pompously blustered on for a several minutes before Mother Kiphart cut me short.

Effect an Effect

You’re on another level, man. Image courtesy of XKCD.

“So, what you’re saying is that that proper grammar makes things easier to read?” she said.

Sassafras! She was right.

Like good manners, that confusing codex of behaviors known fully only by old bitties, etiquette columnists, and any member of the High and Mighty Club, grammar has moved away from its purpose. Good etiquette is supposed to put those around you at ease and ensure their comfort. Instead, it’s often ill used as a whip to shame those daring to have a budget-friendly potluck wedding or who lean in toward their soup spoons.

There’s a reason people like me are commonly called “grammar Nazis,” and I don’t think it’s because people think WWII was hilarious.

I make many grammar errors and typos on my own. My typing skills are somewhere between mitten wearing toddler and that same toddler in the dark. I have no right to comment on your grammar. My hypocrisy should drive me to silence, but it won’t.

Because I’m probably a little jerky, and because you really should know not to end a sentence in a preposition.

6 thoughts on “Why I Corrected your Grammar

  1. Bruce says:

    This is why no one should write about being an editor on any blog. Saw obvious typo on sixth paragraph. Writing a post like this is never a winning situation.

  2. True that, homes. But in this case that was an Easter egg that serves illustrate your point. When you get obsessed with correcting others, you tend to miss out on your own mistakes.

  3. mike says:

    As I started reading this, I thought it would be funny to search for and hopefully find a grammatical error. But then I realized that doing just about anything else would be a better use of my time.

  4. Norman says:

    My grandmother was walking downtown the other day and a young man asked her for directions.

    Young Man- “Where is the library at?

    Grandmother- “You shouldn’t end a sentence with a preposition.”

    YM- *thinks for a second.
    YM- “Where is the library at, BITCH?”

  5. […] Proof that not only am a geek, I’m kind of a jerk. […]

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