Grammar Nazi

First, let me be clear. I used to be a Grammar Nazi but have been in recovery for years. And, in actuality, it seems to be the most difficult addiction to overcome. Cigarettes are nothing, drugs nothing, alcohol nothing. Grammar? Carved into the very soul.

I’ve managed in stages. The first stage was to stop correcting others and has been accomplished. (Although once in a while that will slip through, after the Chinese water torture of repeated infractions.) Rather like the occasional martini. The next stage was to stop correcting misused words. That’s still a toughy. I’d say that one is still on the iffy list. That’s particularly difficult when it’s misused everywhere, including those who should know better.

My particular favorite is “pre-order.” I’d like to know how you can “preorder” anything. You either order or you don’t. Oh for heaven’s sake, of course I know what is meant. It still can’t happen. The preorder time would extend from the time before ordering, to the ordering. In other words, forever.

It’s not that I’m against making up words. Creating words is a healthy exercise and most often gathers the sense of use that isn’t otherwise captured. Thoughts of: Realness, Everness, Neverness. Fine words. Worthy additions to any lexicon. And we all know, or should, that Shakespeare made up many words. There’s a difference between making up words that work and describe what they represent, and making up words that are just plain wrong.


And don’t forget “copacetic.” I wonder how the spelling was decided when it was added to the dictionary. (Yes, that happened.) Maybe a frequent user was asked to spell it. Although I’ve not heard that one used for a while. Maybe it will reappear as an adjective. As in a “copacetic grammar Nazi.”

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