Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Confessions of a Grammar Nazi

My guest poster today is Alena Belleque. She blogs over at the charming Little Bit of Wonderful. Read her confessional below, then give her blog a look-see or follow her on twitter!

The Urban Dictionary defines a Grammar Nazi as:

1. A person who uses proper English, proofreads papers for fun, and generally corrects everyone's[sic] improper grammar. This person feels very ashamed when he or she is caught making such errors and corrects himself/herself often. It should be noted that a Grammar Nazi simply wants to help others and does not correct others out of arrogance.

2. A literate on a bad day. Usually found when said literate is in an irritable mood, or has dealt with too much illiteracy in a given time period.

Yes, my friends, I am a grammar nazi. If you end your sentences (spoken or written) with a preposition, I may not actually correct you, but I will definitely cringe and die just a little inside, while you continue on your merry way, oblivious to the fact that you just wounded my psychi and that our friendship may never recover. I am that bad.

During my second year of college, I was the team leader of a student organization at my school. Our agenda entailed planning activities (educational, informative, or fun) for the student body at large, and occassionally engaging the wider community as well. During the seven months I served as team leader, one of my primary duties involved running our weekly planning meetings, and keeping everyone on the team in the informational loop with everyone else. Office memos became something of a passion with me, and I am sorry to say that I was that guy - I actually sent out a memo a few weeks into my term detailing the correct way to write and distribute a memo to another person or to a group. I never heard a word of response on that one, but memos did suddenly begin to appear in my inbox, rather than fluttering somewhere around the base of my office chair, or taped upside down to my computer monitor.

Texting has proved to be a huge hurdle for me. Not the actual execution of texting, but the receiving of text messages without suffering instant heart failure or blacking out and killing everyone in sight! Can you sense the anxiety??


Something I've learned over the last six months or so of writing frequently and more transparently than I have in the past is that part of writing effectively is to let go of the fear of grammatical failure. Writer's block? Not so much of a problem when you stop worrying about proper punctuation and sentence structure. Sure, you still flail around a little, trying to find the thread of thought you accidentally dropped amoung the detritus of song fragments and grocery receipts, but sometime even writing gibberish for a few seconds can be enough to snap that thread tight and get you back on track! And if it doesn't, maybe taking a break is needful.

Over the last few years, I've learned to curb my rabid grammar nazi enough to get by in "normal society" without alienating everyone. Marrying a man who is content to just live and let live (and who hates - hates - when his wife corrects his grammar) has really helped temper my zeal for literary perfection. And in the midst of calming down and learning to look at life with a little grace, my writing has begun to bloom and grow like it never did when I was so obsessed with form and function. In letting go a little, I have gained immeasurably more than I ever dreamed possible.

So, feel like confusing your tenses, throwing in a fragment or two, and baiting the tiger? Go ahead! I'll let it pass, this once.

Or will I? Bwahahahaha!!



  1. LOL! I can relate - not because I'm a Grammar Nazi (I think I've already broken at least ten rules in this sentence.), but because my mom is a general in that army. I hold my breath every time I send a blog post into world. My phone will be beeping with grammatically correct texts from her if I let a mistake slip ;-)

  2. Lol, my mother used to do that when I was younger :P

    Thank you for allowing me to write for your beautiful blog, Laura! I'm glad you were my first time, lol :P

  3. I wish I were as in any way in sync to be a gramma nazi! I'm not though! X

  4. LOL, when I was a girl I used to get my mother all wound up and red faced by saying things like: "Nope, I ain't worried nothing 'bout that." She'd scowl and reach out and tidy my hair or fix my collar and inevitably correct me, each and every time.

  5. Hahaha I am the SAME way.. grammar nazi through and through. I've had to learn to control myself too, though... if I corrected every mistake in every text message I got, I doubt anyone would text me anymore.



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