24 September 2014

How Not to Be a Grammar Nazi

Grammaz nazis. We've all met them. We've all suffered their pointed glares and spiny corrections. If we look deep enough inside and pretend this kind of pseudo-intellectual crap works on us, we're all a little bit grammar nazi. But, before we get to the how-to-not bit, let's talk about what a grammar nazi is and isn't.

  • Grammar nazis are not the worst. Actual Nazis are the worst.
  • Grammar nazis are still OK with having "nazi" be part of their sobriquet, so, yeah, not the best.
  • Grammar nazis are crusaders of dubious holiness for the right and proper use of English and like to be sure everybody knows it in the most prickly and self-righteous way possible.
Good! Now we all know about grammar nazis! But what if someone's grammar needs correcting FOR REAL? Here are some tips on non-grammar nazi ways to handle the situation.

  • Does the mistake considerably alter the meaning? Correct away!
  • Be nice about it. Nobody likes a nag!
  • Try assuming they meant what you and everybody else is sure they must've meant!
  • You could even try a private message to alert the person to their mistake so they can correct it without the distracting public ridicule!
Now, finally, if you encounter a situation wherein a minor grammatical flub raises your blood pressure to unhealthy levels, how do you avoid being a grammar nazi? How do you stay your hand against the ever-rising and apparently historically unprecedented tide of linguistic abusers?

  • Take a chill pill. Xanax, Vicodin, or even just straight alcohol are all good.
  • Put a rubber band around your wrist and snap it every time you feel the need to correct grammar, especially online. Pretty soon, you'll have a hell of a welt!
  • Stop being a pedantic dick. Cold turkey.
  • Be aware you could be committing a number of logical fallacies, include ad hominem, equivocation, tu quoque, missing the point, red herring, and, ad hominem again because it's so commonplace.
  • Try being supportive. if you're not sure what that is, try asking a mom or a friend. Doesn't have to be yours.
  • Oh dear, the mom or friend made a grammar sin, didn't they?
  • Did you try any of the above?
  • You say they didn't work at all and you're filled with the fiery rage of ten thousand hells?
  • How about a cold shower?
  • Well, fine! Just strangle them, then! See if I care! You can be a grammar nazi from behind bars!
  • Your last sentence contained a split infinitive AND you ended it with a preposition to avoid awkward phrasing. QED, asshole!

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