I’ve had this post in my head for a few days now. Then, the other night, I watched Demitri Martin’s new Netflix special. He tells tells a very funny joke that goes something like this:
Correcting someone’s grammar is an excellent form of birth control.
Being corrected — about ANYthing — is not my strong point. I’m a first-born! I suffered from an eating disorder! I like to do things perfectly! But I also know that this blog and my public-facing Facebook posts need to be “clean” for when I start soliciting publishers for my book. So, I appreciate corrections on that level.
It’s the WAY I was recently corrected that had me in a tizzy. First of all, I don’t personally know the people who pointed out my mistakes; I only know them through other Facebook friends. So, I’m not really sure if they find me brilliantly humorous, mildly amusing or more like the Village Idiot. The form of their corrections, that were posted in public comments, didn’t give me any clues:
Ahhhh!!!! What the fuck!? Just ASTERISKS surrounding the corrected words?!?!?! What does that MEAN??!!?
I’ve seen actual Grammar Police online. Those people are CRAZY! Recently, on an NPR post, the title contained the incorrect form of “its.” YOU WOULD HAVE THOUGHT THAT NPR WAS SHOVING TRANSVAGINAL PROBES UP READERS’ ASSES.
The only time I really pay close attention to grammar is when someone from the opposite political party is misusing it in a comment on a political post. This allows me to judge them as incredibly incompetent and confirm a massive stereotype about how stupid EVERYONE is in that party. I would never correct them, though, because those people love guns.
I guess all this judgment (from me and the GPs) finally caught up with me and had me CONVINCED that those asterisk-surrounded corrections meant the readers thought *I* was stupid.
I’ve created an email template to privately send me grammar corrections in the future, so as to avoid these kinds of misunderstandings.
Dear Lovely Catherine,
I *know* that you know your grammar rules and that you were just moving way too quickly, but you <gently detail my mistake> in the paragraph about the <insert location so I don’t have to troll a 500+ word post for every instance of their/there/they’re>.
In conclusion, you are smart, adorable and — also! — hiLARious. <Additional ego-stroking details, as you see fit>.
The Kinder, Gentler Grammar Police
Isn’t that so much nicer? With these simple words, I wouldn’t immediately assume that the person thought I was a complete fucking DUMBASS, which — at this point in my life — is exTREMEly important, because the fear of being thought of as stupid has fully replaced my fear of being thought of as FAT.
Growing up is hard.
Catherine Bardagy Winchild