Humor · Opinion

Stop calling yourself a grammar nazi.

I wouldn’t call myself a grammar nazi.

I wouldn’t do so, first of all, because I think “grammar nazi” has become synonymous with “homophone nazi.” And the whole world has gotten a little homophone-happy in the last couple years.

It’s like everyone on the internet learned the difference between your and you’re on the same day, and after that “grammar nazi-ism” became something of a viral trend. My Facebook newsfeed is flooded with memes about ‘then & than,’ or ‘there, their, & they’re,’ or ‘effect & affect.’

This wouldn’t bother me, except that homophones represent such a tiny portion of the grammar mistakes made on the internet daily… and simultaneously, about 90% of “grammar nazi” corrections.

It’s like once people became acclimated with this one itty bitty rule, they hoisted themselves up onto a pedestal and started smirking down at the rest of the world… meanwhile littering all their posts with split infinitives, dangling modifiers, and improperly-used subjunctives.

For this reason, one of my biggest grammar pet peeves is people using “I” …when “me” is actually correct (“Here’s a picture of John and I at the beach!”), since it seems to me the truest form of blind conceit.

I can only assume that this person got corrected one too many times, and just began to phase the word “me” out of their vocabulary entirely. When they succeeded, they likely congratulated themselves on their achievement, became a self-appointed “grammar nazi,” and began posting shaming memes. (Which, as a rule, I’m pretty much against altogether.)

Just for kicks, here are my other top three:

  • A-whole-nother
  • Your guys’
  • It begs the question

Still, I can’t exactly hold it against anybody. Especially since errors like this exist in language we see more often:

  • Honey, I shrunk the kids (either ‘have shrunk’ or ‘shrank’)
  • All men are created equal (equally)
  • Ten items or less (fewer)

And obviously, nobody’s perfect. Even just in the paragraph above, I used “they” with a singular antecedent, as a lazy form of gender neutrality.

Basically, all I’m saying is this: if you’re going to use an expression like “grammar nazi,” comparing yourself to a fascist national ideology justifying racial hierarchy and social darwinism…

You better be a damn good grammar representative.

4 thoughts on “Stop calling yourself a grammar nazi.

  1. Split infinitives are considered perfectly OK, especially when used for emphasis or clarity. There’s nothing wrong with “to boldly go.” Even the Oxford Dictionaries is OK with that. And “10 items or less” is considered OK, too, by Fowler and many other experts. And “created equal” is also correct, since “equal” modifies “men.” And the American Heritage Dictionary is OK with “I shrunk the kids” or “I shrank the kids.”

    1. haha, yep I’ve heard it all. depending on who you ask, “impactful” is also a word, and ending sentences with prepositions is no longer taboo. the fundamental origin of these concessions is that people have misused them for so long that they’ve become commonplace, and the English language has evolved around them. I just can’t totally hop on board with this reasoning, since it’s the same rationale behind adding “twerk” to the dictionary.

      just to be clear, though, I’m not trying chastise anyone who makes these (or any) grammar errors. I fully admit to making a lot of them myself. my only point is that the loudest “grammar nazis” are making them, too. sort of a pot/kettle thing.

      but you’re right, there are several schools of thought on this… especially “created equal.” I belong to one, and you belong to another, and that’s totally fine because neither one of us is claiming to have the final word as a grammar nazi. 🙂

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