“Blogging is not writing, it’s graffiti with punctuation”

I heard this in the new movie Contagion, with Matt Damon and Kate Winslet.  Not exactly what you’d call a comedy (in fact, it’s scarily unfunny and I walked out with an even more germophobic approach to human interaction and general personal space issues… take some hand sanitiser along if you go to see it), but the quote made me giggle.

How appropriate!  Not that I could ever picture myself vandalising some wall, spray can in hand… (I’m not really what you’d call a rebel – I actually like rules) *gasp*

But the punctuation bit?  Guilty as charged.  I would rather overpunctuate than neglect a comma (my precioussss) and can spend at least double the time typing a text message, just to make sure I like what I send into cyberspace.  I feel a (somewhat) uncontrollable urge to edit anything and everything, from subtitles to forward e-mails, other people’s Facebook updates and random billboards.  I’ve been known to send back sms’es I receive in teenage gibberish, so that the original sender can retry in proper language.  If I had a virtual red pen, I’d use it profusely.

I might be mistaken, but I suspect I’m a perfectionist.  And maybe a tad weird.

Ok, fine.

If there were such a thing as The Grammar Police, I’d be their first rookie.

It’s not that I consciously try to find flaws in other people’s texts!  And I would never correct someone’s mistakes just to insult them.  In fact, more often than not, I keep my linguistic opinions to myself, so that I don’t hurt the writer’s feelings (or I try, at least, and sometime’s fail).  After all, I make mistakes too.  And being so particular about it makes for a lot more effort when I write anything myself!

But wow, it can be quite amusing.  It’s like attending my own, personal screening, of a comedy no one else has seen.  I have a few friends who share this quirky trait with me and we often find mutual giggles in random places, but it’s mostly just me, grinning on my own like a mental patient.

As irritating as typos can be, they’re also an endless source of entertainment.  I think I’d find a grammatically correct, perfectly punctuated world an absolute drag!

A friend of mine once said that she has to think carefully before she sends me a text message, because she’s scared that I’d judge her, but that’s actually not at all the case!  I don’t mind if my friends make spelling errors.  To me, it’s a matter of priorities.  Being a linguist and earning my bread and butter with languages every day, spelling is a big deal to me.  But if it’s not for you, that’s perfectly fine too!  As long as you don’t judge me on a netball court (and believe me, there’s a lot to be judgemental about there…), I’ll keep my snooty opinions to myself.  If you ever want my help, though, you know where to find me.

Word-nerd, that’s me 😉


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