What ‘are’ you going to do when the grammar police come for you?

Why does someone have to bully my grammar? Well, because, life…

It’s You’re, Not Your!

No experience seems more common both on the interwebs and the tangled web that is the real, physical world of the three-dimensional people than that of having one’s grammar corrected.

It’s better to refrain from using the ‘N’ word from the 30s and 40s, that has other connotations and is usually used with those with an affinity to correct people’s grammar.

So we can stick to the lesser evil, by going with ‘bullies.’

The grammar bullies are a strange subset of the larger collective, that emerge out of the corners of the basement or room they call, more often than not owned by the people that conceived them.

It is inconceivable for this bunch that a functioning, breathing, smelly human with all their warts, would commit that cardinal sin of a typographical misstep.

Before you can submit any comment online, these grammar geeks have somehow telepathically got into your head, and moments later, in the comments somewhere below you.

Reasons exist for such rude behavior, but the vibe of superiority you get from these people is spot on.

Superiority, that of course masks insecurity and a rabid inferiority complex, that is.

Polite, secure people do not correct other people’s grammar, it’s pretty simple really.

If they understand what is being said, most listeners will overlook slight errors, but sometimes due to our own self-hatred or because someone up there hates you, you have to suffer these insufferable pedants.

So What’s Under The Hood?

Behind all grammar corrections, back-handed compliments, and ‘I’m kidding, you’re too sensitive’ lies a deep-seated, seething anger.

When this specimen corrects your grammar (especially in the anonymity of the darker online web), you may be certain that he is angry, but you are not the cause of that anger.

Your word usage or his misheard word usage, in the times that you are actually right, was simply the trigger of that anger. Mr. or Ms. ‘District Corrector’ just wants to be a friend, is a fan or is envious of something you may have, so publicly correcting you sends the homing beacon out to other unfortunate souls to share in the misery, with whom he can bond over mutual hate of the their/they’re misstep.

When we are angry or stressed, our nether regions are flooded with oxytocin, making us want to bond with other humans so as to better our chances for surviving the cause of the stress.

The inner insecurity of the grammar bully wants and so they send out the batty signal to whoever wants to play superhater.

Anger is predominantly a subconscious thing. This is the reason that we are taught to mind our anger, along with our Ps and Qs when we are children, is also why is always ‘seething’ and ‘bubbling’ under the surface.

Enter grammar-correcting, it’s the safest outlet this side of a left uppercut, to cut someone down to size.

So, now that we understand that insecurity and resentment are forms of anger that are being suppressed in ‘xzibit A’ (who wants it?), we can now learn how to behave once we are close to the creature.

So What To Do?

This should not be taken in any order, and there is no ‘correct’ order anyway, right?

  • Pat them on the head and say ‘That’s nice, dear, don’t worry your pretty little head about my language skills’
  • Go full Sheen mode and scream ‘Winning,’ while simultaneously doing the Cruise couch-jump
  • Sign up the ‘frenemy’ to every spam email list known to humanity, hey, they might need some decorative candles in summer.

Now that was an attempt to be funny. This would make us just as bad, you know the ‘wrestle with pigs’ stuff.

We’re not them, we’re better than that, bigger than that. Peace goes a long way and will gather you more friends the more you share it. It may not happen and you may find more of the same, hey, but that’s life, as Sinatra croaked.

So, Show Some Grace

Here’s what a secure and confident person can do when faced with the OG GBs:-

Correct yourself, check yourself

If the person is online

You can just chill and make the change, when you know that the person’s behavior is not about you. This goes for all behavior, of the non-correction kind as well.

Delete the tweet, if online, and retweet the correct version, nothing to see, nothing to correct.

Apologize and leave it. Life’s too short, so sometimes it is better to ignore the behavior altogether. This may mean the the batty signal might go out and you may have more bugs to squash, but it is better to play the Zen card. Out of sight, out of mind.

If the person is in-person

Smile kindly and with compassion. this person knows they are inferior to you (even though you may harbor no such feelings yourself) and is signaling this to other sane, rational beings around you in general, if you are lucky to have any that is. This is kind of like a compliment, if you really want to stretch things.

Apologize light-heartedly, agree with them, even if they may be misinformed in their correction. You are sorry, just not for the reason they think.

Call attention to the correction, but in the kindest way possible. Something like, ‘You like correcting people, eh? I have a friend who does that too’

Do you know my writer friend? He is the same way.”

Suggest you pick up the discussion for another day, that of course, will never come, saying ‘I am not carrying my Thesaurus with me, but we can look it up later. For now, see you nara. ‘

You may get an ‘It’s Sayonara’ from the repeat offender, but that’s fine, say a little prayer, as you walk away.

Lastly, say a little prayer, both for the hapless grammar bully you had the misfortune of meeting. as well as your own mental health.

You are now home-free. Just be sure not to ruminate over this while having a late-night latte, fifteen years later.

Hey, it’s happened. We live in lockdown times.


BulliesGrammarGrammar BulliesGrammar NazisGrammar PoliceLanguage