Introducing Word Nerd Wednesdays

Lia Zneimer  //  Jul 23, 2014

Introducing Word Nerd Wednesdays

I've loved words for as long as I can remember. (Case in point: the below text from my mother.) My colleagues tease me (lovingly, I think) about my enthusiasm for proper punctuation, but let's face it: everyone's got his or her quirks. Geeking out over grammar just so happens to be mine—and what better place to embrace being a Word Nerd than on the Scholastic blog?!  Enter Word Nerd Wednesdays, a weekly look at something from the grammarsphere. Hopefully there are other Word Nerds out there who are able to relate.

Though I've always been an avid reader and writer, I'm pretty sure it was Mr. Morris's 9th grade English class that officially turned me into a Word Nerd. My classmates dreaded Mr. Morris's infamous grammar packet, but as someone who craves structure, I loved its precision and thoroughness. To this day, I still recall snippets of that packet ("Synecdoche: The use of part to represent a whole. Example: The White House regrets any and all errors.") and shudder at the improper use of correlating conjunctions (especially "not only/but also." That's definitely a Word Crime.)

I could probably go on for hours about my favorite things (parallel sentence structure) and pet peeves (hyphens vs. en dashes, anyone?). There is, however, a fine line between loving lanuage and turning into a language bully. Striking that balance can be tough. There's something satisfying (and oftentimes hilarious) about spotting misused grammar. But when do we draw the line? At what point do our corrections become snobbish instead of helpful?

Though I love proper punctuation and the satisfaction it brings, I'm trying to be a little less rigid about it these days. I need those reminders that language is fluid and that it's ok for things not to be perfect. (That said, if you spot a typo in this post, please let me know!)

Are you a Word Nerd? We'd love to hear your story in the comments below, or on Twitter using #wordnerd.