Ten Signs You’re a Grammar Nerd

Confession: I almost, almost put “Ten Signs Your a Grammar Nerd” as the title of this blog post. Intentionally. Just to see how many people came over to decry my atrocious abuse of the English language.

Better counsel prevailed, and instead I want to welcome you to Bethany House’s little corner of the Internet, where you can be surrounded by fellow lovers of proper usage and punctuation, with nary a stray apostrophe or comma in sight.

Not sure if you belong? Here are a few signs. You know you’re a grammar nerd when:

One: You have a favorite punctuation mark. Probably a least favorite one as well. And you are fully equipped to explain why to anyone who wants to know (and quite a few who don’t).

Two: You can spot errors everywhere—Facebook posts, graduation programs, flyers on the bulletin board, lyrics for your church’s worship music—and once you see them, you can never un-see them. Never.

Three: You feel the need to look up every oddly-specific rule before sending an email or posting a Facebook update (“Does the question mark go outside of the quotation marks in this case?” “Is it an en dash or a hyphen?” “Is that the British spelling, or am I just wrong?”).

Four: You have an opinion about the Oxford comma. In fact, you might be willing to challenge someone to a duel over it. (I’m not 100% sure how this duel would proceed, but I picture two people bashing each other with Chicago vs. AP style guides until someone capitulates.)

Five: You physically twitch when spellcheck underlines something that is perfectly correct.

Six: You sometimes have nightmares about sending a text without noticing that autocorrect mangled your message.

Seven: You have corrected errors on printed materials in public, occasionally to the point of defacing private property, without getting caught.

Eight: You own red pens that vary in style and thickness. After all, every occasion demands a different correcting tool!

Nine: You understand the punch lines for all of these jokes:

“Past, present, and future walk into a bar. It was tense.”
“What do you say when comforting a grammar nerd? There, their, they’re.”
“There are three things that I love: the Oxford comma, irony, and missed opportunities.”
“What’s the difference between a cat and a comma? One has claws at the end of its paws and the other is a pause at the end of a clause.”

Ten: You have located a mistake of some sort in this post and feel ridiculously triumphant about it. (I’m sure some exist. That’s why I’m in marketing, not editorial.)

Next week on the blog, I’ll share some grammar nerd stories from our editing and marketing team members here at Bethany House, including their pet peeves and a few rules they don’t think should really be rules.

How would you finish the statement, “You know you’re a grammar nerd when…”?

41 thoughts on “Ten Signs You’re a Grammar Nerd

  1. Such a fun post, Amy. I have to admit to being passionately in favor of the Oxford comma. En garde! And yes, I have been known to growl at spellcheck for giving me little squiggle lines when none are needed. Favorite punctuation mark? Probably the semicolon. I don’t use it often. It only comes out for special occasions, but who doesn’t love a winky face, right? 😉

  2. This sounds more like my sister than me. lol I have a few things about grammar that really bug me but she goes a bit over the top. lol Of course that is why I have her edit everything I write. 🙂

  3. Ahhh, but how do we all feel about the extra s at the end of a possessive? As in, we all long for Jesus’s grace. Frankly, I ABHOR it. (I’d rewrite that sentence to say, “We all long for Christ’s grace,” just to avoid it!)

  4. True confession:

    At my dad’s doctor’s office, there was a sign posted in the hallway: “RESTROOMS FOR THE HANDICAP ARE ON THE FIRST FLOOR.”

    That bugged me so much every time he had an appointment in that building. Eventually, when I took him to his doctor, I brought with me a little strip of the sticky part of a post-it note with “PED” written on it in black marker. I stuck it up on the sign at the end of “handicap” (which was very conveniently at the end of that line of text) and scurried away. I thought my little sticker would be gone the next time I was there.

    And, as I thought, next time my dad had an appointment in that building, my little sticker was gone. And so was the sign, which had been replaced to include my correction.

    I still count that as one of the great accomplishments of my life. 😀

  5. I have a bit of a love affair with the em dash, personally. I can’t say why, exactly, but there you have it.

    I get really bugged when people don’t use the Oxford comma–I almost always read it with the wrong inflection–and it also bugs me when people don’t use ‘I’ or ‘me’ correctly when pairing it with another noun in the sentence (Mum and I cooked dinner; Dad cooked dinner for Mum and me).

    And don’t get me started on words like strawberrie’s *shudder*. I might need therapy just from typing that…

    But now I’m second guessing myself on whether the full stop (period) should have been inside or outside the brackets in that second paragraph…

    Yep. I’ve got it bad!

    • I love this! The em dash is my favorite as well. It just lends a nice speaking cadence to written communication.

      The world needs its fair share of grammar nerds. Represent!

      Amy Green
      BHP Fiction Publicist

  6. I only answered “yes” to 7 of 10 so I must not be a total grammar nerd. Right? That’s what I’m going to tell my brothers, anyway. 😉 And I blame any & all of my grammar nerd tendencies on my sister. We tease her about being a Grammar Nazi. And she tutored me all through high school so… *shrug* …it was bound to rub off on me a little.

    I really love em dashes and ellipses (or suspension points) a LOT! Which probably isn’t a good thing because they’re so easy to overuse. :/
    The Oxford comma is a definite must! I’ve had this discussion several times over. Yes, I do have a tendency to notice grammar errors everywhere. Wish I could un-see them… but I can’t. :/ One thing that really bugs me is when I notice a glaringly obvious error on a public sign. *cringe*

    “You know you’re a grammar nerd when… you actually write in a library book to correct a grammar mistake.” (Yes, I’ve done that. More than a couple of times, actually.)
    Confession: I once went through an entire library book and underlined every incorrectly spelled “ya’ll” I could find. The book wasn’t any good and that just grated on my nerves so much! Probably shouldn’t have done that, but it made me feel better. 😛

    • Are you saying they spelled y’all with the apostrophe AFTER the A? Because, being a contraction of “you” and “all,” and since there’s no A in “you,” the only place for the apostrophe is after the Y. It’s not a contraction of “ya will” or “ya shall,” so “ya’ll” doesn’t make sense.

      Just sayin’, y’all. 😉

  7. When you hesitate to thank a certain person on Facebook, because certain person responds with “Your welcome.” Every. Single. Time. And it HURTS.

  8. Pingback: Inside Bethany House: Fun with Grammar! | Bethany House Fiction

  9. Pingback: Ten Signs You’re a Grammar Nerd — Bethany House Fiction | Arrowhead Freelance and Publishing

  10. The meme after the second paragraph. I’ve borrowed that to share on Facebook and I’m not predicting many likes as I know most won’t get it. Haha. I’m presently re-teaching myself grammar as I’ve forgotten most of it over the years despite having written stories that I intend to get published. I don’t believe in wings and prayers. If I’m going to write for a living then I want to be able to do it properly!

  11. Here’s your correction: the joke is supposed to read, “Three things I enjoy; Oxford commas, irony and missed opportunities.”
    The ironic thing is they missed the opportunity to add the Oxford comma. It’s essential to the makeup of the joke not to put the comma after irony.

    The person everyone hates.

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