Don't be a grammar bully

Don't be a grammar bully

Recognize that good grammar is a privilege that not everyone is lucky enough to have.

As someone who reads a lot, and who has (if I may be so bold) a better-than-average grasp on the laws of grammar, I can't help but twitch when I see people doing it wrong. Forget rules about dangling participles and split infinitives; most people on the internet seem unable to use the right your/you're or its/it's correctly. 

But we all know that most tiresome of internet spectacles, the grammar bully. They delight in swooping in to "fix" someone's post. They mock the use of the "grocer's apostrophe." And although they find themselves hilarious, no one else is laughing.
 
First of all, it's plainly obvious that when you correct someone else's grammar, all you're trying to do is score points for yourself. And you're not trying to score points by being helpful or even entertaining. You're trying to score points by showing off how smart you are. No one wants to see that, trust me.
 
Second of all, although most people use the term "Grammar Nazi," I very specifically prefer to use the phrase "grammar bully." Because this sort of thing IS bullying. It may feel good, like the final act of a Revenge of the Nerds movie. But bullying the bulliers is no way to live. It just repeats the cycle of bullying.
 
And it makes you look like an insufferable jerk, to boot. I would rather hang out with a group of homophobic racist 14 year-old XBOX Live players than spend time with someone who corrects people's grammar. That is how bad it is.
 
And finally, grammar bullies are acting from a perspective of unacknowledged privilege, as blogger Chandra details in this recent blog post. She walks the reader through her experience as a "recovering grammar snob." 
 
What transformed Chandra from someone who endlessly pointed out other people's grammatical errors to someone who shrugs it off? Four years spent helping "disadvantaged adults acquire fundamental literacy skills."
 
Chandra learned that having an excellent grasp of grammar and literacy skills is a privilege. It means that you went to a somewhat decent school. That you weren't forced to drop out at an early age to get a job to help support your family. That you were able to study in the evenings, instead of going hungry or suffering abuse. 
 
There are a lot of reasons why someone doesn't learn and use basic literacy skills. And none of them are the kind of thing that deserve getting picked on. Not to mention, it's basically the equivalent of a rich kid making fun of someone's beat-up used car. 
 
It's time for grammar nerds to stop being insufferable, and start understanding that everyone has their own challenges to face in life. In other words: get over yourself.