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The Cruelty of Grammar Snobs

July 21, 2013

Before I elaborate on that title, I should disclose the fact that I am a grammar snob. Certain common errors really get under my skin and I often have to work hard to look past bad grammar when I read.

Despite my grammar snobbery, I also strive to be a kind person who doesn’t condemn people for their imperfections. I know that I am quite flawed and make many grammatical mistakes (sometimes out of ignorance, sometimes out of carelessness). I have cringed more than once when looking back at my own blog posts.

That said, grammar snobs are mean! Not all of us, and not all the time. But I guess that’s why we use a word like “snob”. (Note the flagrant, intentional rebellion in my period placement. Some grammar rules are stupid.)

No one should have to be afraid of people who care about grammar.

I was just reading a question posted in a grammar forum. Half of the responses, however, ignored the question and jumped all over a grammatical error that was made in the asking. Sigh… Obviously, this person doesn’t claim to be a grammar genius. He was vulnerable and asked for help… and you rushed in to devour him.

It hurts my heart when I know that people are afraid of showing me something they’ve written because they believe I will look down on them for poor grammar or spelling. As a general rule, I care… but I probably care about you A LOT more! (If you are a publishing company, that rule does not apply to you. Editors exist for a reason.)

If everyone cared about grammar as much as some of us do, I don’t think it would actually make the world a better place. This might clear up several ambiguities and enhance our communication, but it wouldn’t fix any true injustices.

Fellow grammar snobs, this is my plea: let’s use our knowledge and passion to help people, rather than using it to make them feel like idiots. (And please forgive my own frequent errors. I don’t have the energy to try to be perfect.)

The end.

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