Being A Word Nerd Does Not Establish Your Credibility

By Elisa Doucette | Articles | Reading Time: 3 minutes

Aug 25

If I had to name the love of my life, it would be language and literature.

I’m sure any future significant others will be slightly saddened to learn that tidbit of information

There are times that I simply eat/sleep/live words. The way that they sound, their meaning and etymology, their symbolism and value, their beautiful simplicity and complex constructs. Words tumble around my mind in a swirling symphony befitting a grand concert hall.

The street term for my particular affliction is “Word Nerd” and I’m more than comfortable with the title. Nerdery is not exactly something that is new to me, grammatical or otherwise.

The hair on the back of my neck prickles up and I have a physical reactive need to correct errors when I see them appear.

Knowing a lot about grammar and spelling and sentence structure might get you a job pushing paper as a copyeditor or, mixed with some other skills, might bank you a swank gig as an editor at a publishing house or publication.

Yet most people with this skillset either spend time curled up with books and manuscripts, creating the content that other Word Nerds devour, or being complete and utter pricks to those people without the skillset.

The thing is, especially in this online world of point-and-click-immediate publishing, it is easy to drop a typo or misplace a comma. Heck, with all my spouting off about words and writing, I guarantee most Word Nerds worth their weight in Webster’s can find at least five in this post alone. Furthermore, with the conversational tone of blogs and editorial articles, proper grammar is sometimes forsaken for sentences that make sense.

For example, who the eff uses the word FORSAKEN in actual blog posts?!

There are few things that bother me more than blatantly incorrect grammar. Yet one of those things is people being condescending jerks for the mere thrill of appearing smarter, and thus somehow better, than someone else.

Does it make you feel special to prove you found a mistake someone else made?

Absolutely cannot stand seeing the English language mutilated?

  • Email the Guilty Party Privately or Post a Helpful Comment – In an article on my column on Forbes I misspelled “pedestal”—in a copy headline (the really big bold text in an article). Talk about YIKES! Fortunately a reader emailed me quickly to say “Loved the piece, wanted to give you a heads up that there’s a typo.”

See, this is a USEFUL correction. “I cannot even stand to read your article because I saw your typo and now I want to go kick puppies” is not useful at all. (Yes, I have seen a similarly worded comment before…)

  • Do Not Assume That a Misuse of Grammar Indicates a Person’s Intelligence – Albert Einstein is quoted as saying “Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing it is stupid.” This is from a man who spent the majority of his schooling being told he was lazy, insubordinate, and careless.

Just because someone does not know the proper use of an Oxford Comma does not mean that their idea or opinion has no value.

  • English is Not Everyone’s First Language – Ah, privileged first world problems. We can get our rocks off pointing it out when someone stumbles a bit over the English language, but that person may have worked their ass off to be able to communicate with your mono-linguistic mind. As I spend more time with people who have learned an ENTIRE SECOND LANGUAGE (I certainly can’t say that I have…I can barely say “I would like iced lemon tea, please” in most of my second language attempts!) it is obvious how much of an accomplishment that is.

If you still would like to get worked up over another person’s grammar mistakes and misspellings, I have some suggestions for you. Please follow these steps carefully:

  1. Close Your Eyes and Take a Deep Breath
  2. Count SLOWLY to 27
  3. Close Your Laptop/Turn Off Your Screen
  4. Step Away From Your Computer
  5. Go Outside and Experience Life (hug puppies, don’t kick them)
  6. There’s Way Too Much In Life To Care About. A Few Typos Or Mistakes Should Not Be Among Them.

Being A Word Nerd Does Not Establish Your Credibility.

But it sure can establish that you are a person no one really wants to hang out with anyways.

Note – If a piece of writing is laced with horrible grammar and typos and a general disregard for intelligent conversation, judge away. Those people are asking for it!

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About the Author

Elisa Doucette is a freelance writer and editor who currently travels the world looking for great stories to live, interesting tales to share, and new ways to make words sexy. She has worked for over a decade creating compelling content and writing for various businesses and publications, including her popular column on Forbes called Shattering Glass. She is the Founder and Executive Editor here at Craft Your Content.

  • Agreed!  Just because we have eyes that notice these things doesn’t give us the right to be snobs.  And there’s a way to correct respectfully, but sometimes we really do just need to step away from the screen and remember what’s really important (hint, it’s not a missing comma)

    • Precisely. I am adamantly opposed to snobby behavior! When you actually care about the grammar or words or whatever, you care about seeing them get fixed. And you “correct respectfully”. Otherwise, you are just being condescending and/or you really like hearing/seeing yourself talk/type.  🙂 

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