January 21, 2010

Confessions of a word nerd

I read Suzannah Windsor Freeman's guest post on Nathan Bransford's blog about word nerds and grammar rebels with more than a little trepidation.

As a proofreader and occasional subeditor, I wear my word nerd badge proudly; no misused apostrophes or American spellings get past on my watch. And billboards and advertising with punctuation errors make my blood boil (I'm talking to you, Whats New). Do us a favour: if you're paying an ad agency to make you look good, spring an extra few bucks for a proofreader to scan your copy.*

But then came all the talk about how spelling and grammar were stuff white people like, and I felt the sting, because it's true: I love rules.

For me, rules make it easy to do the right thing, which means I don't waste a lot of time pondering endless options or having to re-do stuff because I've wandered down the wrong path. But apparently that makes me middle class (true, but not a label I choose to define myself by) and boring.

So I was pleased to see that I regularly break all of the rules Suzannah lists under Grammar Rebels. Maybe there's hope for me yet.

* I feel compelled to clarify here that I only get like this about commercial writing. Mr F and I passed a lost dog poster taped to a lamp post the other day, on which some bright spark had fixed a couple of spelling errors, complete with sarcastic remarks. That's just Mean and Unnecessary.

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