35 Signs You’re a Total Grammar Geek

By Angelita Williams

As many mourn the dissolution of the English language thanks to the internet, text messaging and other stuff those crazy kids are into these days, you stand there shaking your proverbial cane and stick with your flawlessly-executed homophones, thank you very much! You put your education to good use, consarn it, even if you didn’t have an education because you had to help out in Grandpappy’s five-and-dime! You are a grammar geek. You are proud, you are strong, and you probably shouldn’t take this article too seriously, but in honor of National Punctuation Day (September 24), here are 35 signs you’re a total sucker for perfect grammar.

  1. Your friends always come to you for editing advice.

    Consider that a badge of honor! So trusted is your prowess with all things grammatical, friends and family seek your counsel on helping them with everything from term papers to cover letters.

  2. Diagramming sentences in English class didn’t cause a tiny piece of your soul to rot away and die forever.

    Either you are impressively strong in the ways of The Force, or you never had a soul in the first place. Having no issue with pointless sentence diagrams makes you a rare and beautiful snowflake indeed.

  3. YouTube comments make you lose your faith in humanity.

    Scratch that. YouTube comments make anyone whose parents aren’t siblings lose their faith in humanity.

  4. You know what a gerund is…

    …and have earned bonus geek points for knowing how other languages use them as well.

  5. Speaking of other languages, you’re probably pretty handy with those Greek and Latin roots, aren’t you?

    In which case, you probably had an easy go of it in biology classes, didn’t you?

  6. Engrish.com makes for some great laughs.

    Although some of the more politically correct grammar geeks out there understand how sometimes statements get lost in translation and feel a few twinges of guilt for laughing at non-native English speakers.

  7. You consider Mignon Fogarty your patron saint.

    The extremely popular Grammar Girl seems to attract language geeks in droves. No complaints here, though. Her blog and podcast do a great job of making the occasionally dry subject matter interesting and accessible.

  8. Playing "spot the typo" is considered a great way to pass the time.

    Even mainstream publishers don’t catch everything, and looking for a missing period here or an awkwardly repeated word there can keep the mind occupied while waiting in line or sitting on an airplane.

  9. Foreign languages fascinate you.

    There’s always something new to learn about one’s own native tongue, of course, but putting forth the effort to try to pick up a new language opens up new grammatical worlds to explore.

  10. You can note tiny differences in dialect.

    All dialects differ in some obvious ways, but the more devout grammar aficionados out there can pick up on subtleties as well.

  11. To you, Apostrophe Abuse is a serious offense.

    Every year, thousands of apostrophes are plucked from their cozy homes and plopped unceremoniously into plurals against their will. Won’t you please help?

  12. People look at you funny when you use the word "whom" correctly.

    Some of the more spiteful ones out there probably make comments about you being a snob, don’t they? Awwww!

  13. Part of you wants to go into editing just to wage war against poor grammar.

    The other part is afraid you’ll implode after prolonged exposure to such wanton destruction of the language in question.

  14. And it’s probably safe to assume that you don’t post much on internet forums, either.

    Or at least ones you don’t lurk on beforehand just to see if the poor grammar causes your eyes to bleed.

  15. The rants at It’s Your Damned Language ring eerily true.

    As the blog points out, there’s a huge difference in understandable mistakes made by ESL students and apathetic native speakers.

  16. You don’t even bother with the grammar check on Word.

    It’s so much easier to do your own editing instead of relying on Word’s stringent — sometimes wrong — defaults.

  17. You’ve submitted photos to The "Blog" of "Unnecessary" Quotation Marks, Apostrophe Abuse, Apostrophe Catastrophe, [Citation Needed] and more!

    Because if you can’t laugh at apathy, it’ll just make you cry.

  18. Whenever you hear the phrase "dangling participle," you wonder why everybody’s laughing.

    Because what most of your peers think is probably not the first thing that popped into your head, is it?

  19. Not only do you own The Elements of Style, you had to buy a second copy because you practically wrecked the first.

    And if you jump on any new editions that get announced, probably pre-ordering through Amazon, you collect some extra nerd points as well.

  20. You know both the rules and their exceptions.

    After all, grammar is just as defined by the flagrant prodigals as it is the restrictions themselves.

  21. Staging dramatic readings of particularly egregious language offenses helps you cope.

    Now’s a good time to make a joke about the failings of the American public school system.

  22. Having 2 correct options leaves you feeling torn.

    Some of the more neurotic grammarians out there may panic over whether or not they have remained consistent not in an insular work, but their entire oeuvre.

  23. You despise the term "Grammar Nazi." You especially despise the term "Grammar Nazi" because it’s true.

    Face it. You may not be a racist, fascist and/or genocidal sociopath, but a part of you wouldn’t mind wiping out people who willfully abuse language. A sick, twisted little facet that you don’t much care to acknowledge.

  24. Proper use of the semicolon gets you giddy.

    Like our old pal apostrophe, the semicolon also sees its fair share of misuse and abuse. Treat it with the love and respect it deserves.

  25. You just don’t understand why people use "LOL" as punctuation.

    At least you can take solace in the fact that you’re definitely not the only one of your kind.

  26. Friends and family know they’ll always get coherent e-mails, instant and text messages from you.

    If they don’t happen to know of any other grammar geeks, chances are they’ll probably bring this fact up from time to time.

  27. James Joyce and William Faulkner surprisingly don’t bother you.

    After all, the only reason why they were able to get "creative" with grammar is because they understood the ins and outs and wanted to get experimental.

  28. Spelling errors often go overlooked.

    You could look at the worst sentence in the world and pick up on the grammatical offenses immediately, but it takes a while for the spelling ones to sink in.

  29. You have a tendency to overuse [sic] when quoting other people in writing.

    Just try not to get too patronizing when doing so!

  30. You use acronyms sparingly.

    Although an abundance of acronyms isn’t technically improper, you know that avoiding them unless absolutely necessary certainly keeps a sentence more coherent.

  31. If multilingual, you switch between languages better than most.

    Maybe not so much an inherent gift for words, but rather years and years of eagerly studying grammatical structures.

  32. You get misty-eyed when languages go extinct.

    Even non-grammarians find the death of a language along with their last speakers a sad reality in the history of words.

  33. To you, poor grammar is more offensive than any obscenity.

    In more extreme cases, some grammar geeks consider failure to comprehend basic linguistic structures an obscenity in and of itself.

  34. You know how is babby formed.

    Yahoo! Answers: a steaming cesspool of amusement and horror for grammar geeks.

  35. You find yourself constantly correcting the grammar of your peers — out loud.

    Which actually makes you less of a grammar geek and more of an insufferable boob. Don’t be that guy.

Take pride in your way with words, my friend! For while others chop and hack away at the established rules without understanding why they exist in the first place, you do your best to sound like you don’t have a screwdriver jammed into your occipital lobe.

Facebook Comments