Back in eighth grade, I was a pretentious little bitch. (Yes, this includes the era during which I began this blog.) One of the many things I was arrogant about was grammar. I had it in my mind that anyone who didn’t write with impeccable writing mechanics was inferior to me. It was terrible. In the last days of school, people wrote nice little goodbye messages on the whiteboard–and I went up and corrected the grammar mistakes. Yes, I actually erased people’s writing and wrote it back in with corrections. I remember spending my free periods taking up an entire whiteboard with “Grammar 101” lessons. In my free time. Yes. I constantly nagged people about their mechanics, especially online. The summer after eighth grade, though I was beginning to simmer down at that point, I wrote this:
“Okay, confession time. I used to be a horrible butcher of grammar. My realization didn’t happen until a few months ago, but I assure you–I’m never going back! One cannot call herself a writer and not know the difference between “your” and “you’re.”‘
You know what? You actually can. If you write, you’re a writer. It doesn’t matter if you mix up “your” and “you’re.” It doesn’t even matter if the actual content of your writing sucks. A writer is one who writes. Would you go up to an aspiring author who messed up with the possessive “your” and tell her that she’s a phony? Fucking no.
There is a time and a place to correct grammar. If someone has asked you to proofread their paper, you correct their grammar. If you have a friend who’s a grammar enthusiast, and you’re having a non-serious conversation, you might correct their grammar. But you know what? Most mistakes should honestly be ignored. We all make them. Everybody has stuff they have trouble with. For some (me), it’s math. For others, it’s proper mechanics. That doesn’t make them stupid. You’re not stupid for making a mistake, or for having trouble with a certain subject. It makes you a fucking human being.
If you enjoy grammar, this doesn’t mean you should just give up your interest. That’s not what I’m saying at all. I still enjoy it myself. Yeah, I’ll like those silly little posts on Grammarly, because they’re kind of up my alley. But it’s important to keep your enthusiasm to yourself unless you’re asked for it. You’re not helping anyone by adding “actually, it’s they’re instead of their” to someone’s Facebook status. And, I know this one is overused–but please, call Elsa, because you need to cool down and let it go.
If you want to continue being an arrogant asshole who goes around making people feel bad for their mistakes, then fine. I can’t force you to do anything. But I hope you know that by doing so, you’re just adding hurt and frustration to people’s lives for terribly petty reasons. And for someone who’s trying to go around solving everything, it should be humbling to know that you’re actually creating more problems.