The Fall of Grammar Nazi
Written By Aashish Yadavally.
A lot of people get confused with the appropriate use of an apostrophe.
The “Its?”-”It’s?” conundrum often haunts a majority of them, and the few who understand it, tend to believe that they are better than the others. From among the latter rose the Grammar Nazis, who took it upon themselves to correct the grammatical errors that the other people made, because, they believed;
“To err is human; to correct, divine”
The origin of the idiom ‘Grammar Nazi’ is invariably unknown. Wikipedia defines a Grammar Nazi as, “a person who habitually corrects or criticizes the language usage of others”.
This could be the only possible explanation, considering the Nazis were a snobbish lot, believing themselves to be superior, and the others, inferior.
Between these ‘superiors’ and the ‘inferiors’, get caught the ‘philosophical’ kind of people, who are rather beauty-seekers. They like English as a language; learn the nuances of grammar because they like the aesthetics more; appreciate the proper usage of grammar because they believe a correctly structured sentence with no grammatical errors is more soothing to the eyes.
Yes, such people exist too
They don’t like others using a different spelling for names of people, because, well, proper nouns ought to be used the way they have been defined.
Another plausible reasoning for this can be that the person defining it might have liked it this way better.
A ‘Joanna’ is Joanna and cannot be a ‘Jona’ or a ‘Joana’.
For that matter, any usage, other than the one intended would be wrong.
They don’t like people writing ‘John’ as ‘john’, because, well, proper nouns ought to start with a capital letter. They prefer reading ‘before’, rather than ‘b4’, or ‘love’, rather than ‘luv’.
Then came Dean Hachamovitch’s invention, Auto-Correct, to the rescue of this ‘philosophical’ kind.
A part of the Word team at Microsoft, he initially developed it to suggest similar words to the ones that the user has typed, or correct his/her mistakes. It then grew into becoming much more personalized, suggesting similar, context-based words that the user uses more frequently. It was soon incorporated into most word-processors, smartphones, et al.
The “R.I.P English” meme, one of the popular tools that the Grammar Nazis used to ridicule the common folk, soon lost it’s prominence.
There was little work for the Grammar Nazis now, as there was lesser scope for people to make mistakes, thanks to Auto Correct.
Infact, the common folk started using Auto Correct in smartphones for the sake of their own benefit as well, replacing a word deliberately, with a different one, and then correcting themselves in the next text with an asterix followed by the ‘right’ word’, easily blaming the faux pas on Auto-Correct.
The Auto-Correct has had it’s share of humor as well.
People started using it for practical jokes, wherein, the prankster replaced a word in the smartphone/laptop with an extremely hilarious/embarrassing one, so that each time the user typed that word, the word that the prankster replaced it with, appeared.
In fact, there are quite a few websites, such as damnyouautocorrect, recording such mishaps regularly, just to crack you up.
On the whole, the advent of this Auto-correct is a win-win situation for the ‘philosophical’ kind, who now have fewer chances of being branded a Grammar Nazi, and also get to see better structured sentences with fewer grammatical errors, the BEAUTY that they have always longed!
— By Aashish Yadavally