It’s not easy being a Grammar Nazi. The world is a very hostile place. A wise man called Richard Duppa once said (you’ve probably never even heard of him—I haven’t either): “In language, the ignorant have prescribed laws to the learned.” This is especially true when it comes to grammar. You might have been taught grammar in school—most likely not—but that’s a lot different from actually understanding it. And we’re still given free licence to go out and fuck around with it. It’s like giving a two-year-old a pack of crayons and expecting him or her to create the Monet Christmas.
And from our perspective—that of the Grammar Nazi, the art critic—we have to put up with the shit from a two-year-old’s foray with a pack of crayons instead of getting to see the Monet Christmas. It’s very stressful. Just about any instance of writing will have something wrong with it somewhere. We’re even inclined to correct people’s speech.
Waiter delivers meal. “Enjoy!” he says.
“’Enjoy’ is a transitive verb, dick.”
So, since this is the last week of writing my column before I just get drunk and write whateverthefuck, I’ve decided to list a few things that have helped me alleviate the pain of being a Grammar Nazi. Tools that I use every day in my pursuit of good grammar. Tools that you can use to help you too.
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This is the most basic tool a Grammar Nazi needs; it completes him. It is the dictaphone to the journalist, the Swiss army knife to the Swiss armyman, the box of matches to the aspiring pyromaniac, Bert to Ernie. Red pens are used to correct bad grammar wherever you may find it—from the newspaper to other people’s homework, from bathroom walls to computer screens. With a red pen handy at all times, the uncontrollable urge to correct bad grammar is easily satisfied.
Dictionaries are extremely useful, whether online or in printed form—both have their advantages. Online dictionaries are useful for their speed, but printed ones (especially larger ones) are advantageous because they can be used to hit people. I mainly use dictionaries to check the spellingness of some words, and whether some words are actually words and not just made up ones.
Grammar Book of some description
Much like the dictionary, but for checking grammar and shaming those who don’t understand basic things like subject–verb agreement (stuff.co.nz *cough cough*). Also good for hitting people once you’ve worn out your dictionary.
Grammar Stickers for Grammar Sticklers
Among all of the amazing stuff you can get on the internet, somewhere you should be able to find stickers that just have punctuation on them—apostrophes, full stops, commas and such. These allow you to quickly correct larger mistakes on the go, and without resorting to more permanent corrections if you’re a bit of a wuss. I really need to get some of these.
YouTube Comment Snob
As we all know, YouTube comments are the breeding grounds for the rank disgusting sickly diseased corrupting decomposing decaying gross violation of language. It’s basically where bad grammar comes from. The YouTube Comment Snob is a Firefox Add-On that filters out these terrible comments based on some customisable parameters, such as number of spelling mistakes, incorrect/excessive capitalisation and puctuation, and profanity. So basically it will prevent you from seeing just about any comments on YouTube, making watching ‘I’m on a Boat’ a safer and more enjoyable experience.
With these tools your life should be just a little bit more grammatically correct. It is a well-known fact that bad grammar is the leading cause of language-related illnesses and deaths, so these things could even save your life. Or they could be used to kill you, if you don’t learn how to use the subjunctive correctly, or like your exclamation points a little too much. Beware, the Grammar Nazi is ever watchful, alert to every mistake.
Time for a drink.