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Wednesday, January 8, 2014

The Grammar Nazi

They've been around for centuries, I’m sure. In my past life (we will call it B.A., as in Before Author), the only run-ins I had with one of them would have been my Honors English teacher in high school and a couple of my college professors. It hasn't been many.

We call them the Grammar Nazi. Only, that’s not a really fair name is it? I mean, have they ever killed for poor grammar? Well, I suppose it’s possible. But not probable. Maybe we should call them Grammar Vultures, because that is more like what they are. Stalking their prey, waiting for any incorrect grammar usage to escape so they can sweep right in and correct it.

I will admit it. My grammar at times, has been off. Bordering on atrocious in some circumstances (commas… I, do, not, get, them, apparently). B.A., that was not a big deal because no one really cared to correct an e-mail or dare I date myself, a hand written letter (yes, I’m old). If grammar had been a part of my career B.A., then I would have probably had more run ins. But it wasn't. So now that my career has taken a turn to writing, something I always wanted to do but never had the gumption until the last two years to do it, I've now become… the prey.

I will say that 95% of the time, most people don’t care. They might catch the grammar mistake or not, but they will never mention it. The other five percent? Well, those are the ones you have to watch out for. A force to be reckoned with.

As an author, you know right away if you've encountered one. First of all, Grammar Vultures (we’ll call them GVs) always leave reviews. I think they might thrive on it, actually. They will say things like “I would have given more stars if it weren't for the glaring errors” or “dear author, this book was good but please get a better editor.” You know, nice positive comments like that.

When I first published my book, I made the huge (very huge) mistake of not having it properly edited. There were mistakes. Glaring mistakes. All of which I did not catch and neither did the other people I had read it (they were obviously not GVs). When the GVs started circling in on me and eventually started feeding on things such as incorrect comma usage or who versus whom (really?), I knew I had to bring in a professional. So I did. I hired a professional editor and now my book is squeaky clean. Well, maybe not squeaky. There’s probably something, but I’m not a GV so how would I know.  Anyway, lesson learned.

So here are my words to the GVs out there. We get it. You know English. You are smarter than us and you like to point that out. You must feel it is your duty or something. But really what good are you trying to do? At the end of the day, what will correct grammar actually do for society? Will it bring world peace? Probably not. So on behalf of all of us who do not have perfect grammar, please take a chill pill (that’s excellent wordage, in my opinion), and try to enjoy the written world around you, irregardless (that’s not a word, and I don’t care) of all the errors. You will be happier. We will be happier. Okay, you may not be happier, but since I’m not one of you that wasn't my intention anyway.

(PLEASE NOTE: I’m sure there are grammar errors in this post. In fact, I'm confident there are. Please do not inform me of them. I get the irony. I also get that it really isn't ironic, so you don’t need to correct me on that either.)