I’m a Nazi, you see, hence the Goebbels reference.
Just kidding. I’m not really a Nazi. I love gypsies, with their cheeky little faces, public brawls and thieving attitudes.
But I am a Grammar Nazi. It irritates many people around me. I point at signs in the street and waggle an index finger at poor spelling. I scowl at leaflets for restaurants which contain bad grammar. I’ve even been known to email large companies – who should know better – and have a whinge. I mean, look at this. What the flip.
The thing is, it’s difficult to correct someone’s spelling or grammar without sounding like a pretentious moron. People assume that just because you know the difference between their, they’re and there you’re some kind of stuck-up snob. Truth is, I am stuck up. STUCKING UP FOR THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE! (That didn’t work.)
Hold that thought. Tonight my wife and I attended a meeting at my son’s school to talk about his graduation from reception into Year One. We filed into the classroom and manoeuvred our buttocks onto tiny child-size chairs with the care and precision of a satellite docking with the International Space Station. On our chairs was placed a leaflet, handily listing the structure of Isaac’s next year in school.
I open my leaflet, and my pedantic snobbish eye is drawn to a sentence along the lines of: ‘pupils will loose house points for bad behaviour’. On the opposite page reads a sentence such as: ‘Welcome to Year One we hope your pupil will have fun here we appreciate your input’. My head whips back and forth, not at all like Willow Smith but almost exactly like someone in a horror movie, eyes flitting from mistake to mistake as I leaf through the pages, the stabbing violin sounds of Psycho jarring through my brain.
I turn to my wife. ‘How are they going to ‘loose’ points?’ I ask. ‘And have these people ever heard of commas?’
She tuts and rolls her eyes. ‘You’re so irritating.’
Perhaps so. But surely people who are responsible for my son’s education should know how to spell?