So you know someone who corrects your grammar. Is it a sign of a grammar nerd, or are they a jerk? Nerds can’t help themselves, and they will exhibit at least one of these signs grammar nerd symptoms.
Grammar Nerds have Pet Peeves
Grammar Nerds have pet peeves. Some don’t like the Oxford Comma, while others think there should NEVER be two spaces after a period.
Misused words can often trigger a grammar nerd:
Apostrophe mistakes trigger some grammar nerds, while others go after less common mistakes such as misplaced modifiers. It’s not rocket science that your writing should be proofread before you let someone read it, and writers who don’t are lazy. At least, that is what the grammar nerds think.
Personally, I hate seeing the word “sourced” used on a menu. No, the fish was not sourced from sustainable fisheries. I know the dictionary lists sourced as a verb, but I also know sourced as a verb was rarely used before the 1980s, according to Google Ngram. That’s where I sourced my data.
They Own Grammar Signs, Mugs, or T-shirts
They can’t be a true grammar nerd if you don’t have any of these. Of course, you know what I’m talking about—the “I’m silently correcting your grammar” t-shirts or coffee mugs.
The “Let’s eat kids” versus “Let’s eat, kids” shirts.
My favorite: A Grammar Police sticky notepad. Check off the “alot” mistake, list yourself as the reporting officer, and choose between a warning and a fine.
Grammar Nerds have Grammar Books
While some people still have a dictionary gathering dust, grammar nerds collect grammar books. Even if they haven’t looked at it in a million years, they have a copy of Strunk and White’s Elements of Style. Eats, Shoots & Leaves by Lynne Truss, Patricia T. O’Conner’s Woe is I, and a variety of style guides, such as the AP, Chicago, or MLA.
A sign that a friend is a grammar nerd is they know the punch line to grammar jokes, like “The past, present, and future walked into a bar.” They “avoid cliches like the plague.” They remember the riddle their 6th grade Language Arts teacher told them: Which word becomes shorter after you add two letters to it.
The Oxford Comma is a Hill to Die On
You can be for or against the Oxford Comma, but another sign of a grammar nerd is a strong opinion about the Oxford. A google search for “oxford comma” yields over 8 million results. According to Statista, there were under 50,000 paid writers in the U.S. last year. The results speak for themselves.
Grammar Nerds even own Oxford Comma clothing.
In case you didn’t know the punchlines to the jokes mentioned earlier:
Past, present, and future walked into a bar. It was tense.
What word becomes shorter when you add two letters to it: short.
And grammar nerds love Oxford Comma Jokes:
Let’s eat, grandma.
Let’s eat grandma.
Ok. So you have identified a grammar nerd, geek, or dork. What now? One idea–at gifting time, gift them a gift they will love.
And yes—that sentence will probably trigger someone.
Would love to see your favorite grammar joke in the comments. And as always, please share.