Grammer Nazies


One of my new articles on God Swill Ministries went up and a commenter on Facebook said that I made a grammatical error and left a correction. I reread the sentence I had written about a thousand time, contacted friends of mine who were English majors, discussed it with Tim and Googled until I finally realized that I hadn’t made a mistake at all. The person who had been so certain that I had made a mistake had just been trying to correct my already correct grammar. Even if what I had written had been wrong, it was in no way a huge mistake that caused the entire sentence to be confusing or choppy.

On the internet a lot of people don’t use proper grammar, spelling, mechanics, or even coherent English. Even though I have a degree in the subject, I don’t really consider myself a Grammar Nazi. Why? Because as long as I can understand what the person is trying to say, I don’t really care how they say it. Of course, different rules apply to people who are trying to present themselves as professionals, but I’ll get into that later.

While typing on Facebook, particularly on my phone, I sometimes don’t capitalize something or leave out words or make a variety of mistakes. I will correct any typos that I can, whenever I find them, but it really doesn’t concern me too much. It’s Facebook. Who really cares? If you have nothing better to do with your life than correct people’s grammar on Facebook then the problem isn’t with the bad spellers on Facebook.

Everyone makes mistakes and pointing out that someone used the wrong form of “there” doesn’t make you look clever or intellectually superior. It just makes you look like a nitpicky asshole. Another reason that I don’t bother much with grammar is because I know that not everyone is excellent at English. For some people, it’s their second language, for others, it’s just not their best subject. If someone judged me only on my ability to understand calculus problems, they would think that I’m completely brainless. But someone else could do high-level math problems in their sleep while they struggle with writing a complete sentence.

Now, casual writing on forums, Facebook, emails, etc, are one thing. But if you are trying to sell someone something, present yourself as a professional, get a job, or convince people to give you money, you need to have good grammar and a firm grasp of written English. Case in point; the Lore Kickstarter. This futile attempt at a video game was started by a young man named George who claimed that he had an IQ of 170, got As and Bs in school, and was overall more intelligent than the rest of us, while writing so incoherently that it was difficult to understand what he was saying.

For example:

Gatt I never said anything about getting a Publisher and i know game stop usual don’t carry PC games also im fully aware these cost for other country’s to have them publisher the games mines less money but is not about the money this is part of the reason 50 dollars they get both they can still play the game into there physical gets there right now its only PC we are not worring about other Platform and im sure the other day when i walked in to game stop they was a physical copy of the walking dead which is a indie game and we have to get past this part first i can’t make it happened with out the money to do so.

Even Forbes made fun of the ridiculous Kickstarter. But regardless of what we tried to tell George about his writing in the Kickstarter comments, he insisted that he was there to make a game, not to write a novel, therefore he didn’t have to correct his grammar. He claimed to have a “typing problem” and even said at one point that he was just lazy, before taking it back when backers called him out on it. But he never explained if he had an actual problem with typing or writing or if he just didn’t know how to do it. Due to his refusal to ever write properly, we can only assume that he just doesn’t understand the rules of his native language.

But while a person who wants to present themselves as a professional must have a good grasp of the language they’re trying to do business in, a person who wants to write an email to a friend or leave a comment on a photo or tweet about what they’re eating for dinner doesn’t need to obsess about their spelling and grammar until they have a panic attack whenever they type. We’re all human beings who write a thousands of words per day. We can’t be expected to get every single one of them right. Do the best you can and if someone points out that you wrote “were” instead of “where”, don’t stress out about it. You made a mistake, but at least you’re not rude.

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