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You Should Stop Calling Yourself a Grammar Nazi

You Should Stop Calling Yourself a Grammar Nazi

There is always a point in our lives where we felt like correcting someone else’s grammatical error. We feel like that should be corrected right away. There is this compulsive reflex to acknowledge a grammar mistake. And to put a label to that behavior, we call ourselves a “grammar Nazi.” But should we? We all know the negative connotation of the word Nazi. And in this context, it is to emphasize the strict adherence to grammatical rules, even going as far as sounding “authoritarian” when correcting grammar.

How is it defined?

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As mentioned above, a “grammar Nazi” tends to compulsively correct someone’s grammatical error. There is sort of an itch that one cannot get rid of when they read or hear grammar mistakes constantly. I think that it is important to differentiate the attitude between correcting other people’s grammar and being superior or malicious about being better in language.

In a country where English is considered a second language, it is actually quite impressive that most Filipinos can handle a conversation in English. However, that does not guarantee fluency, and I think that is okay in casual conversations. It is different in formal settings, especially in the workplace or in the academe. When observed, it can be noted that “grammar Nazis” come from those who have achieved higher education so it can be a manifestation of superiority. If the feeling to correct someone’s error comes from a place of malice and disrespect, that is when it becomes an unhealthy attitude, making it a You problem.

On the other hand, if you genuinely care about others’ ability to form sentences, maybe consider asking them first if they need or want any help. It can be an awkward situation to be in, especially because you do not want to offend them. But telling them where they went wrong without a head’s up could be more embarrassing for the both of you.

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You are Not a grammar Nazi

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Maybe you just really care about people, and you want to help them with the words they use. Or maybe you really are a malicious, condescending person who is obsessed with grammar. Either way, your impulse to correct them does not make you a “grammar Nazi.” You’re just a language person. Or grammar-lover. Or rule-protector. I do not know. But let us drop the term Nazi. It carries so much evil that thinking about associating it with yourself even in a different context feels wrong.

And to those who are at the receiving end of being corrected, it is important to bear in mind that learning is constant. If you want to climb that ladder to greatness, it won’t hurt to study grammar more. Especially when your field of work directly affects it. Even when you feel like you’re already good enough, there’s always going going to be errors. But there is also room for improvement.

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