My notice to the grammar police.

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Whatz up, grammar police? I used to be one of you. I hated when people used incorrect grammar. Then I realized I was kind of being a dick.

If you’re my parent, editor, teacher, director… please correct my grammar. That’s your job. If I’m asking you to review a piece or if I’m composing an email that represents our company, please correct my grammar. Everyone else can chill out.

I write my blog as a personal challenge. I try to write at least three entries during my lunch break each week. I’ll write them, let my mind cool a bit, then come back to them during another break to read before publishing. I considered writing these the night before I post them but then I realized that half of why my readers like my posts has to do with my lack of editing. I don’t have time to go back and second guess everything. I don’t have time to question whether or not people will think I’m an asshole for being so blunt. I don’t have time to judge myself.

Which means that I always don’t have time to catch every single grammatical error or typo.

I used to be very self-conscious about it. Growing up, English was my favorite subject (shocked, huh?) which meant that I was one of those people. I looked for something wrong in everyone’s writing. I mined my classmates’ hard work in hopes of finding a grammatical bomb to drop. I thought it made me entitled and intelligent… in a competitive class, it gave me an edge up. I thought people who used poor grammar were stupid. My younger self was so damn proud of my impeccable grammar.

But my younger self would also never start a blog. I was too self-conscious about making mistakes. Each piece of writing I produced took endless hours. I googled everything – hoping that I wouldn’t get a single thing wrong. That I would remain grammatically perfect.

I understand the point of correcting grammar for good reason. You want people to have the best chance at success. When I read something on Huffington Post or even The Onion, I expect the grammar to be perfect. I’d harshly judge someone who publishes a book with an obvious grammatical mistake. But that’s because it’s their job to get it right.

However, when you’re constantly stopping your 25 year old friend’s story to tell them that they used “who” when they should have used “whom”, you’re just being an asshole. When you put up a passive aggressive status saying that Jewel employees need to go back to school for using “since” instead of “because”, you’re just being an asshole. If there’s anything that I want my readers to understand, it’s that no one likes assholes and dicks.

Bite your tongue and realize that you’re probably doing more harm than good. When you point out flaws, you keep people from feeling free to express themselves. Ask yourself if it’s your place to correct them. If it’s not, just keep it to yourself. No one is perfect. By pretending that you are, you’re actually just putting a huge target on your back… oh, just you wait until you make one little mistake…

English teachers should have impeccable grammar. Published authors should have impeccable grammar. Politicians making speeches (or actually, their ghost writers who are writing them) should have impeccable grammar.

So give your friendly bus driver who says “I’m doing good!” a break… (or, you know… your favorite blogger who uses “you guys” constantly while claiming she’s a feminist. ) Use your perfect command of the English language in a more useful way… like coming up with creative puns so you can stop being so tense! Thanks guys… I’m here all day. 

One thought on “My notice to the grammar police.

  1. In my opinion, the focus on grammar inhibits writers from publishing their work. That focus should shift to finding a style and a unique voice. Writing is, at its core, a creative process. It’s not possible to use your right brain, while producing a piece, if you’re trying to use your left brain to edit it simultaneously. I mean, it’s better to create a piece that’s full of mistakes than to not create at all. That’s why your readers come back– you don’t write like a robot; the affliction many “grammar police” have. They should spend their time critiquing their own work.

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