So because I have both my bachelor’s and master’s in English, people automatically assume I’m a Grammar Nazi. Well, I am. In fact, I’m so stingy about grammar that there are days when I feel the need to punch inanimate objects as a way to release the rage that builds up from people making the same errors over and over and over again. When I was teaching, I took immense pride in making my students’ papers look like I had slaughtered a hamster on them. The more red the better. And while you can get away with the typical grammar errors like changing verb tense within paragraphs in creative writing, there are some universal principles that should never be violated. I also realize the irony of potentially making a grammatical error in this post. You’d like that wouldn’t you?
And so it is at this point that I feel the need to fling one more blog article into the interwebs about grammar issues everyone keeps making in hopes that maybe one day we can all stop this foolishness.
3. Anxious vs. Eager
I’ve given up on people who continue to use the wrong variation of words like “there,” “to,” and “your” because if you’re still doing it you won’t ever get it right and you should probably be sterilized. But here’s one I hear all the time and no one seems to notice. You tend to hear people say “I’m anxious for this game to get going,” when clearly they’re excited. Being anxious is somewhat synonymous with being worried or dreading something. But if you’re excited, you’re eager. You’re eager for the game to start. You’re eager to try to that new restaurant. You’re anxious about what that letter from the IRS says. You’re anxious about what the doctor is about to do since he put on that rubber glove. This isn’t hard, people.
2. The Extra Space Between Sentences
I’m going to put the extra space in this section to show exactly what I’m talking about. See that? It’s tacky. You don’t need all this extra space. Although it was once explained to me that back in the day people used to add extra space because of inconsistent font widths and old typewriters and whatever. The point is that I don’t care what the excuse is. As someone who dabbles in design I notice these things and often times it screws up the spacing in a paragraph when it changes mediums. It’s also a trick students use to make their papers longer. It’s stupid and outdated. We use one space now after a period because it makes sense and is more efficient. We don’t drive horse-drawn carriages anymore because we have cars. We don’t walk out to a pasture and club a cow on the head with a rock because we can go to the grocery store and buy the steak. Same principles. Quite using the extra space. For the love of God, please.
1. Commas, Periods, and Quotation Marks
Speaking of misusing punctuation, nothing makes me angrier than people who can’t order their commas/periods and quotation marks correctly. For whatever reason this is the one that has caused me the most mental anguish. I don’t care if Britain does it differently, that’s not an excuse because no American student knows any minute detail about British life, much less British grammar. I don’t even know where kids get the idea that “, looks okay. It doesn’t. You don’t see it like that in textbooks. You don’t see it like that on any news article on the internet. SO STOP DOING IT. The proper order is ,” and people who continue to get this wrong are beyond my comprehension.
Then again, basic math is sometimes beyond my comprehension, so maybe I’m the problem. Except when it comes to grammar where I’m actually not the problem. You are.