I’m not a grammar snob — just a connoisseur

Via Flickr user tonyhall

Via Flickr user tonyhall

Grammar freak. Grammar police. Snob.

I’ve been called many names due to my penchant for following the rules of the English language. Is it my fault that commas exist and question marks are supposed to end questions? I feel a tad sickly when I see obvious mistakes. I suppose I’m a linguist’s nightmare. After all, linguist thinking dictates that any word or grammar usage employed by native speakers is OK.

Not me. Native speakers should learn to capitalize.

I hear people say that grammar isn’t that important; it’s the realm of persnickety schoolteachers and writers. But I hold proof that proper grammar matters.

Yesterday, I was reading people’s latest blog posts on WordPress.com. Every time I found an avoidable grammar mistake in a post, the writer immediately lost credibility in my mind. Now, I’m not talking about correct comma placement or even when to use dashes. Those tend to be subjective. I’m talking about a misspelled word in the age of spell check — or worse. When I was scanning blog posts’ headlines, I was about to click on one when I spotted one of my biggest pet peeves: confusion between “your” and “you’re.”

Shudder.

I didn’t even click on the blog.

See what I’m talking about? For better or worse, poor grammar sends certain signals. That you were too careless to proofread your own writing. Unmotivated. Not serious. Lazy. And if you were too lazy to put in the minimal effort (use spell check and correct anything with a red line under it), why should I bother to read your writing?

Grammar sends a message just like your clothing. It is the physical appearance of your writing, and it needs to stay neat if you want people to take your words seriously.

And if you don’t practice proper grammar, grammarians like me will correct you. We’re everywhere, and we’re fully armed with dictionary apps and a hatred of comma splices.

What do you think of grammar?

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