Monday 7 October 2013

And thus was born a Grammar Nazi . . .

Believe me, I was never someone who took exceptional care of grammar esp the apostrophe when I was jotting down in my wee journal or writing in my blog earlier. My its and yours followed their own mind and often my number and tense was havoc! I wonder how those changed. Did I become conscious after reading a few writing blogs or did Facebook's self-proclaimed grammar nazis trigger the urge to check and recheck my its and it's. No, no, it wasn't Facebook. I now remember. It was my Supervisor who drilled and coerced me in turns to refine my crude ways of writing. The rest was done by the writing blogs that I had (wisely) subscribed to while gallivanting the world of blogs and bloggers. But even then, I wasn't a grammar nazi. I was a learner who was relearning and unlearning few tricks of the trade. 

In case, I forget, I was also teaching. And while one imparts knowledge, one should be sure and right of certain things atleast, I reckon. I might not be the teacher who gets everything right but my students had to learn some fundamentals of the English language and there it became imperative that I train them in certain rules of the language and writing was one of them. I consciously started spelling out your and you're; its and it's, in my mind and double-checked whenever I wrote something on the board. Of course, writing in English is more than their and there but still these were some items which were always confusing and largely misspelt. Gradually, my writing started improving. When one's Supervisor drills plus one teaches plus one reads fantastic writing blogs plus one writes often, the end result is something good. Ah, how I did I forget to add voracious reading to the list. That too helped a lot.  And all the while, I was STILL not a grammar nazi.

Then Facebook started popping up these pictures and memes and all of a sudden, there was a gross turnover of self-proclaimed grammar nazis. Sadly, even I joined the tribe, I reckon. A was correcting status messages, S was lamenting the fact that poorly-written blogs are getting popular, D was posting grammar memes on her wall and finally here we are - A group of grammar nazis screaming loud and ranting out the fact that grammar is dying a slow but sure death. And there were few who even challenged the fact by replying 'k' and 'u' and other funny answers in response to the grammar nazi's frustrated pleas.

Facebook and blogging, along with showcasing our penchant for imagination and narrating events, also brings to light the habitual grammatical skirmishes which are often unknown to the writer him/herself thus giving a field day to the grammar nazis. And why is it that the grammar nazi is only passionate about its and it's and your and you're. Is that all that is there to grammar? Grammar is much more than misspelt words! No memes point out to awkward phrasing of words, tautological errors, long sentences, non sequitur lines and so on. There is much more than what meets the eye. But grammar nazis don't venture beyond a point. Why? Simple. No one understands the errors and thus begins the great argument - English is not my mother-tongue. If English is not your mother-tongue then why do you attempt to write in an alien language! Well, I can go on and on with this but I shall pause.

So, the conclusion: Without poor writers, a grammar nazi cannot exist. I still feel that I am not as competent a weaver of words as certain others are but I certainly take care of my you're and your when I write. This ensures that I am safe from the grammar nazi within and outside of me!

So, what say reader? Are you one of us or them?

Image 1: Internet
Image 2: Internet

An update: It takes one to spot one and one of my favourite reader/commenter Govind pointed out a glaring error in the post. I thank him for being a discerning and sharp reader. Salute boss!


  1. Now I am scared. Please let me know if you spot mistakes in any of my posts.

  2. Well i refrain from commenting on some shoddy work as it may not be received in the right sense. But I do grimace privately and at that moment I resolve not to make the same mistake.

  3. The flow of the post is so smooth. You are impeccable Susan.

    Joy Always,

  4. Very well written post :)

    But in my personal opinion, language is just for communication and as long as what you wanted to convey was understood by the reader, the Grammar doesn't matter that much. (just my personal opinion ;) )

  5. Bad grammar makes me flinch but when I started writing, I was punctuation challenged. We all have our inner demons, it's just that we all put on a brave front.

  6. I try to write grammatically correct stuff - and sadly I can't help but judge people who don't. so quite as guilty as you :)

  7. I can say this much that I am better off than the bloggers who write their blogs in SMS lingo.

  8. I most certainly am. I have always been. It think it's innate. That's a nice way to difuse guilt.
    I, too, write in a foreign language as Spanish is my first tongue and sadly after I finish and publish a post I realize I've made some spelling mistakes. Thank God for editing so hopefully I can beat the Grammar Nazi to it.

  9. It would do good to find the thans and replace one with then
    unless you want someone to circle it with a red pen
    and worse still give a lowly four out of the possible ten
    and be asked did you forget your Martin & Wren.

    :) Spotted?

  10. hehe Good points, Susan! Yes, good grammar is way beyond its and it's. But God help if the very basics are wrong. To add to the confusion, we write in both British and American English. Some people use American spellings and British punctuation. It is all a complete mess. And who's to say, I have interacted with certain native speakers who make mistakes as well. Lastly, there are contest posts that win that have unabashed English errors of the simplest kinds even you and I can spot. That just tells me that this malaise is omnipresent. No one is perfect!

  11. Guilty as charged!!! I am a grammar geek, Susan! Seems I was hard-wired that way from the moment I learned to read. I cringe when I see words misused. However, I don't run around correcting others; had enough of that when I taught school and had to read thousands of papers. I just think that this age of tech and texting, with abbreviations all over the place, have hurt true communication.
    Great post! I so enjoyed it!

  12. I try my best to be grammatically correct! But if I am emotional about some points, then the grammar becomes secondary! People should understand what we come to explain. Well...some people are good in writing and some are not that good.

    Very well compiled post, Susan.

  13. Susan Deborah...hate to admit I am a "grammar nazi"...but only regarding what I read--YOU all! For myself, I very forgiving, b/c I'm terrible typist. I have several years now admired your near-perfection in this area. I think poor spellers have rough time in the doctoral degree process

  14. No one is perfect and we do make honest mistakes sometimes, but what make me cringe is when I read accept instead of except, than/them, loose/lose etc!

  15. Still learning mate.
    The passion of words is so strong that at times the grammar nazi gotta take a back seat for me.

    Well said, Susan :)

  16. This gave me the urge to go back to my blog post to proofread. I'm scared shitless of you now, Mrs Sus. :) But you're (that's right, right?) an impeccable writer, Mrs Sus. I don't even notice if you have typos because your (that's right, right?) writing is engaging enough to make me read beyond just words and spellings.



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