Breaking News: There Is Hope for the Grammar Police

Grammar Police

No matter how refined your writing may be, there is one thing you as a citizen journalists should fear more than anything – the grammar and spelling police. You could literally be the only reporter to take note of a huge asteroid about to strike Earth, and one dangling participle would throw these linguistic sharks into a feeding frenzy of appropriateness, making them oblivious to any other circumstance. You have all fallen victim to them at one time or another. But, now there is hope. New studies indicate that their maladjusted enthusiasm for correctness may have a cure.

For my part, I have little trouble with the “core constituency” of grammar storm troopers out there. My contingent of textual terrorists have aligned themselves to irradiate spelling and typographical wrong doers, for which I am certainly the poster child. It seems unforgivable I know, for anyone who has been so prolific in writing for the Web, but I somehow cannot bring myself to either type from the “home keys”, or spend too long editing my own verbiage. I am sorry, I write for those who can look past the handwriting into heart of matters. I know too that other journalists, with a proclivity to greater grammar malfeasance, are likely gladder :) than I to see a remedy to this situation.

The grammar police actually have a website too. Did you know that? Well, actually several websites. I was not aware until today that the “organization” was anything more than a random school of barracudas swimming beneath the surfed Web. Ah well, there is merit to their chastizement of us all in all honesty. Where would any of us be without our English 101 professors any way? I think the problem with “grammar gods” is the way they put things really. Ever notice how blunt and rude they can often be? Well this is an indicator of just how important the rules of writing are to them. The video above is really the most appropriate and well thought out multi-media revelation about these people I have yet seen. The suggested tolerance and new methodologies therein being great ways to have a “meeting of the minds” between writers and, Uh, readers?

Any way, I would also like to suggest the following methods/remedies for grammar patrolmen in need of release, and or, therapy.

  1. Stop Reading Other People’s Work – Yes, one remedy for you and the unsuspecting victim of your paranoia is to stop reading those who cannot type or otherwise infringe upon your tender “grammatical sensibilities.”
  2. Enter The Fray – I suggest grammar policemen write articles and then send them to other “brown shirts” in order that they might be chopped to pieces.
  3. Soften The Blow – No, I do not mean to chop your cocaine into smaller bits, I mean; “Make it easier to tolerate you.” I suggest adding some kind words about the effort and time an author took to relay information, no matter how trivial. You know, tell them thanks for the effort, but you spelled tipo wrong.
  4. Have Bad Linguistic Sex – Find someone who can barely speak your language correctly, who is dynamite under the sheets. I know this sounds crude, but identifying with people who are good at one thing, and bad at another is good therapy.
  5. Extreme Measures – Finally, if you just cannot mediate your own self aggrandized grammatical superiority, try smashing your thumb with a hammer every time you feel the need to overly criticize others.

 police grammar rain
Failing all other measures, or feeling needful of more therapy, watch the video again and try to mediate your fervor at least a little more. We are human beings too, and we do understand. But, if I can answer idiotic comments all day long, and tolerate an indifferent world, then the “grammar gods” out there can certainly deal with mistyped words. I know, a piece of written work with errors is akin to serving and New York strip steak no a dirty plate. But then, rude and unfriendly behavior is like someone throwing the plate and the steak at you.

We understand though, we really do. When the indescribable stench of all those misguided segues rises to choke your perfectionist sentimentality, you find yourself grasping and clutching at your keyboard, trying to hold back the rage. That little something, tugging tremulously at your inner peace, propelling you longingly for some release, finally to post that cutting and seemingly appropriate comment. Take that Mister Anderson! All the while wishing you had Agent Smith’s power to control the Matrix and to silence Neo once and for all. But then, from a linguists point of view, who is Neo?


  1. says

    It’s George’s fault that I am having a laugh! It drives me crazy when I see unneeded apostrophes, but I don’t make a citizen’s arrest. I just reviewed a computer game that was full of grammar problems, typos and even the subtitle had an extra apostrophe… I can’t imagine what the grammar cops would do.

    • Phil Butler says

      Hi Meryl, LOL for me too. Ironically, I am much better at editing copy than at writing it. I too go nuts over problems in people’s verse, especially the agreement of it and the way it sounds when read aloud. But, like you, I just let it go most of the time. For me, I am the world’s crappiest typist. I am either too lazy, or too impatient to keep my fingers on the right heys. Then, in a fit of haste, out of having typed 5 times as many words as needed, I just have to GET DONE. I should not out of respect for readers, but my rationale is that I put some much energy and time into the damnable articles, I am due something! :)

      As for the grammar cops. Well, I have yet to have one really tick me off, whom I could not find something in their offerings worse than even mine. The NYT’s to Reuters and way beyond are gold mines of errors too. Someone has to police us though. I just wish they would read instead of scanning for out of place letters. Cheers!


  2. George Angus says

    Oh my goodness. I am still laughing about this! GOD Complex. Too funny.

    Grammar flubs (to some extent) give my writing character and sets me apart. And so what if I start a sentence with “and” now and then? If it sounds natural then I say, “Sally-Forth”!!

    Awesome post. Twittered and stumbled it I did…



  3. says

    LOL. I love the term “textual terrorists” to describe wanton wordsmiths.

    I can tell you from personal experience that from time to time something egregious slips through, making me look like a complete doofus.

    As if I don’t feel bad enough, a certain cadre of self appointed editors will swoop in shouting their howls of delight that I, too, have failed.

    Who needs ’em?

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