I am not a Grammar Nazi!

Jc Wordsmith By Jc Wordsmith, 6th May 2013 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Writing>Columns & Opinions

This article will discuss why it seems to be okay to call a person a Grammar Nazi when they note an error when in fact the error is correct. Why is it okay to write poorly in this day in age when there are more literate people in the world than at any other time in World history?

Noting the attacker's line of reasoning

When I see commentary on articles on various websites, I note that the commentators enjoy vilifying the article writer's lack of intelligence. That is fine, so long as the commentators make intelligent comments. Alas, that is not always the case. Those who write the comments, sadly quite often, tend to use "text-speak", poor grammar and woeful spelling to make their point. Then when someone such as myself takes the commentators to task for writing poorly, they respond with, " You are a Grammar Nazi!"
But why am I a Grammar Nazi? Am I wrong? When I ask why I am a Nazi, they say that I am ignoring the content of their point. But if the "point" is unreadable and incorrectly written, how can their content serve its purpose, which is to attack the writer's intelligence?

What the hell IS a Grammar Nazi, anyway?

The first time I saw this term used against me, I took it as a compliment, envisioning my favorite English teacher who helped me become a good writer. I realized, belatedly, that it was meant as an insult to accuse me of being a big meany-head.
The point I am trying to make is that it seems to be okay to attack those who know grammar rather than learn how to write well. Why is that okay? Commentators deflect my attempts to help them write better but responding with, " You know what I meant." Sure, but wouldn't it be better to write what you mean rather than expect the reader to figure it out? This current onslaught of poor grammar and spelling has seeped into online article writing as well.

Why are online articles so poorly written?

Have you ever read an article online and wished you had a red pencil to correct the errors? I would love it if someone invented a "red-stylus" so I can correct articles as I read them. Often times the article is quite obviously written by someone for whom English is a second language. The grammar is bad enough, but then you get to syntax and things go from bad to worse very quickly.
I write on several sites on which freelancers bid on writing jobs. On most of the jobs offered, the client request only English speaking writers with excellent writing skills bid on the assignment. When I review the competitions bids before writing mine, virtually every competitor is from a country in which English is most definitely NOT the language to which they were born yet they bid on these jobs! Why is that? I would never deign to bid on a job in Spanish, even though I understand Spanish because I would get the syntax wrong, even if I get the grammar and spelling correct. English is more than a run of words in a sentence, then a paragraph, and finally an article. It is a living language that requires an understanding of how English speaking people read and write.

I learned to write well and I am proud of it.

I studied hard as a student to learn how to write well. I appreciate the rules of writing and use them to engage readers. I have made a good income off of writing and will continue to do so. When I am attacked for being a good writer it saddens me when others join in on the attacker's side rather than defend me and my writing skills.
Oh, and I have a problem with self-published authors, too! Why do they not take their work to an proofreader and editor. At the very least they should have some beta readers check their work. I think that self-publishing eBooks has become so popular because they can avoid the critiques, which they will wrongly take as criticism.
A good writer will want to have someone peruse their work to assure that it is written well. To avoid a knowledgeable critique by an editor or proofreader (or both) simply opens one up to later criticism from readers who wonder why the work was ever published.

I feel better now.

I feel like I just released a full head of steam. If you want to be a writer you should write. If you want to be a good writer you should learn how to write well. If you are one to attack the intelligence of others you should argue you position intelligently.


Grammar, Grammar And Style, Grammar English

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author avatar Jc Wordsmith
A lover and builder of words who lives each day to create interesting and entertaining articles and stories for readers with discerning tastes.

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author avatar Chris
7th Nov 2013 (#)

I have a serious issue with the term "Grammar Nazi" mostly because I think we are seeing the term Nazi thrown about much to often and trivializes the holocaust. Ironic? Probably not. Those ignorant regarding the flow of language also being ignorant regarding the power of word choice.

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