I want to make a confession. I am a grammar nazi. Ok maybe not quite that extreme. I only pick on people who think they’re right. For example, I used to know a man who was extremely particular about his grammar when writing or speaking publicly. He was very proud of himself for his correctness, it gave him an air of superiority. It secretly gave me great pleasure every time I heard him say “irregardless” or use the wrong form of who/whom.
I’m not the type of grammar geek who goes around speaking perfect English and correcting everyone who doesn’t. I had a couple of friends like that in high school and it irritated me to no end. If you want to use the style of speaking that you grew up with, I’m ok with that. I do that. I live in the south, I know we have a reputation of having bad grammar and incorrect pronunciation. That’s fine. It’s our way of life. And you have that right too. I won’t correct your conversational grammar. But when it comes to giving a speech or writing a business letter, you better get it right. Using your lingo in any writing you do for a business is completely unprofessional. Intelligent people will find it hard to take you seriously if your writing and speaking are full of mispronounced/misspelled words or bad grammar. If you just can’t get it, hire an editor.
Conversational grammar is also fine for facebook, twitter, blogs, and so on (unless they’re business related). Even so, please (PLEASE!) spell the words right! Is that too much to ask?
But what really gets to me is these grammar snobs who don’t really know grammar and try too hard to sound like they do. For example, they know the commonly used phrase “me and you” is wrong, that it should be “you and I”. However, they don’t know all the rules and believe that it’s always correct to say “[other person] and I” so they end up saying things like “This is John and I’s house.” Another example is using lie and lay. They know it’s common to use lay when it should be lie, so they always use lie even when it’s very wrong. “John lied on the bed.” This, in my opinion, makes them sound more stupid than saying it wrong in typical conversational style. They have that condescending know-it-all mentality but not much to show for it. I love to correct these people. They’re just begging for it.
- I still occasionally refer back to my college grammar handbook when I’m uncertain.
- When I’m listening to a speaker, I have an unintentional habit of mentally noting mistakes they made.
- I searched Pinterest for pictures to add to this post and spent an hour laughing at all the grammar jokes.