There are things I want to bring back: swing dancing, falconry and courtly love (I just became aware that, judging from this list, my past lives must have been in the 1940s and the Middle Ages). However, what I most long for is that good grammar becomes the height of fashion. I know not everyone shares this desire. Many times, I have been called a grammar Nazi. Can we discuss for a moment how wildly inappropriate it is to equate my love of grammar with one of the most evil movements in all of human history? I am a fan of hyperbole, but come on. The love of a well-placed semicolon does not a fascist make! Why must I be insulted for my love of spelling and sentence structure? Also, why don’t men find it sexy that I know how to diagram a sentence?
While I am now kind about my love affair with words, I wasn’t always. In elementary school, I got in trouble for correcting a substitute teacher’s spelling. My mom used to say, “People don’t like people who correct them.” She interspersed that with a lot of irritation and profanity directed at her sometimes condescending eight-year-old (I am beginning to realize I was a brat). On the other hand, when someone has said or written something snotty to you, it is deliciously satisfying to point out and correct every mistake they made while insulting you (I am beginning to realize I still am a brat).
Grammatical knowledge is good for more than just taking down a nemesis; it can also assist you in your romantic endeavors. If I find a gentleman desirable, I do the normal thing and stalk him on the internet. Nothing dampens my ardor more than Facebook updates containing my pet peeves. If a potential suitor thinks that whom is just a fancy word for who, then how can I know if he will appreciate truly fancy things (such as Downton Abbey) with me? Yes, I am aware that I can be a judgmental rhymes-with-witch, but I refuse to apologize. A lady should never apologize for standards.
While I have ideals, I am most definitely not infallible. I make mistakes (while writing this, I kept spelling it “grammer” ), but I try to learn. I equate grammar and spelling mistakes to wearing pajama pants to the store – acceptable every once in a while, especially if you are sick or exhausted. However, if you do it too often, (finicky) people (like me) will start to wonder.
Language is alive; it evolves right along with those who speak it. Even the word “grammar” itself has evolved. Grammar and glamour used to mean the same thing, and they were both related to charm and magic. By its very definition, grammar is enchanting and bewitching. Maybe in that definition, I can find the truth behind my obsession: I love all things glamorous, and there’s nothing more glamorous than good grammar.
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