The name of my blog should clue people in to a basic fact about me: I have a passion for words and language. I really am a wordy nerd.
It’s not just a passing interest or a hobby, either. As an author and as an English teacher, that’s my job. I have no shame and make no apologies about any of that.
I do try to be nice about it. I am gentle with my students, and use encouragement and positive reinforcement to help them improve their writing and their spoken language. I urge them to read their work aloud, even if just in a whisper, to see where they need to end one sentence and start another, or add punctuation. I point out things that need fixing, but at the same time offer to upgrade their marks if they fix their errors and resubmit. I reward effort.
Outside of the classroom— most of the time, at least— I tend to keep my comments to myself. The level of self control exerted by myself in those situations is almost universally grossly underestimated and under-appreciated.
I also refuse to engage in commenting on or correcting most people’s social media posts. The usual exception to that is anyone who cuts others down or calls them ignorant or stupid while using incorrect spelling or grammar themselves: they have it coming. The irony train is fully laden and they are its next stop.
People have many names for people like me, many of which are less than complimentary. I don’t care about any of them but one.
Do. Not. Ever. Call. Me. A. Grammar. Nazi.
That is just offensive.
And anyone who fails to understand why really needs to take a good hard look at themself.
Even if we don’t appreciate what a person does or, more likely how they do it, there is no excuse for equating them with the most hateful regime in living memory.
To equate anyone with that level of atrocity is rarely, although sometimes, justified. It’s not the people who appreciates good spelling or admire elegant sentence structure, nor is it anyone who wants to see people improving their grasp of the language and public profile at the same time.
There are so many terms that could be used instead:
I’ll gladly accept and use any of those.
In social contexts, I rather enjoy telling people I have a grammar fetish. While I would never say that to my students, nor indeed a number of my more conservative colleagues, I will definitely throw it into casual conversation for the fun of seeing people do the mental gymnastics and trying to keep a straight face.
Long story short, don’t call me a Grammar Nazi unless you’re ready for a very long lecture from a history nerd — also me— on why that is unacceptable.