Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Grammar Snob

We all know the snob. The epicurean food snob, the sommelier wine snob, the operatic music snob, and so on. These people know more than I do in their chosen subject and boy do they let me know it.

And, I’ll admit it, I’ve been the grammar snob on occasion. I wince when I hear someone say “irregardless.” Yeah, spell check put a big red line under that. It’s not a word. Ironically, the speaker always knows the word “regardless,” but for some reason chooses to use this imposter word instead.

Don’t I now feel smart? Yes, by pointing out that someone has done something stupid, I, by comparison, feel smarter. This is, in my opinion, the demonic charcoal soul of snobbery. We do it to make ourselves feel superior.

I do it too. Not just with grammar either. When driving (my wife will vouch for this) I’m at my worst. For me, as George Carlin famously said, there are two types of other drivers on the road: the idiots drive slower than me and the jerks drive faster.

So when you point out to your friend that the word “decimate,” which he just used in describing the football game, actually means “to kill one in ten,” are you really trying to help him? Or does your factoid say more about you than him?

And when you demonstrate your mathematical skills and explain that the term ‘exponential’ doesn’t actually apply to Google’s stock growth this year, perhaps you should wonder why it matters to you so much.

I intentionally included some grammatical errors in this blog. I want you to feel better about yourself. Please feel free to point out each error in the comment section below.

#writing #writers #grammar