Thursday, September 22, 2011

English Teachers, The Grammar Nazis

How many English teachers that you know who are very humble despite having a commendable proficiency in the language?

Most of them?


I hate to break it to ya, but I think secretly, deep down inside us, we are smug, and we believe we are lightyears away better than you.  In the language only, that is.  Not referring to having better hair, sports or giving/receiving blowjobs in a speeding vehicle.

It may be just me, but, here's a litmus test to all English teachers (in a country where English is a second language).

  1. When listening to someone speaking English e.g. speech, church sermons, do you listen to their language or speech content?  And when they are better than you expected, do you lean in to listen for grammatically wrong sentences and wrong pronunciations?
  2. Do you have the incontrollable urge to correct people's grammar/pronunciation when they talk, just like how you'd do for your students?
  3. Do you secretly feel superior speaking English in public, especially when the salesgirl at a high end boutique didn't bother to assist you initially for wearing shorts and toilet flip flops, until you open your mouth?

If you answer YES for more than two questions, you have Anglo God Complex.

It's the feeling of superiority due to your ability to converse well in English in a society where it is a second language.

And I just made that up.  See, you almost believed me.

We're not saying we're good, or that we're perfect.  We're just saying we are better than you.

And we are willing to help you to improve your proficiency.

That's when we become Grammar Nazis.

No, I didn't just make that up.  Now you won't believe me.

According to, a Grammar Nazi is someone who believes it's their duty to attempt to correct any grammar and/or spelling mistakes they observe.

As if it isn't bad enough that we studied English for more than half a decade AND become teachers.

It's of course what we need to do at work, but it can become a bad habit outside school.

We become a douchebag for constantly correcting other people's grammar/pronunciation, and we missed out on great speeches/sermons just because we were waiting for them to linguistically screw up.  And we can scoff at them for acting like they are so good. 

It's a blessing and a curse.

Social networking sites like Facebook is currently the best executioning ground for grammar nazis.  Most of the time, we'll just be polite and laugh at their mistakes, which takes every ounce of us to fight the urge to fix their spellings because it hurts, oh my gawd it hurts, why has nobody notice this?!  Then we move on to The Sims Social.

But sometimes, we just can't help ourselves.

First it starts within our family circle.

Which is an irony as I typo'd.  See, not perfect.  Just better.

Then with friends.

Then somebody's engagement cake.

But of course, I successfully restrained myself.

So yeah.  I'm not generalising and saying that ALL English teachers have said superiority complex - it could just be me alone.

Albeit under control and will still be invited to weddings and social events, without running the risk of causing a linguistic holocaust.

But if you are the same like me, do let me know you exist.

The Internet is ours to troll.


chegu carol said...

Astaga. Haha!

Berabis lah sia mau triple check my grammar ni tau. Takut kena grammared, :D

Moons ago, I have this friend who loves correcting people's pronunciation. One day she corrected my pronunciation on the word 'determine'...i said di-ter-min. she said di-ter-main.She corrected me twice. I thought Ive said it correctly but I just bit my tongue. Malas mau lawan orang pandai. :P

Amanda Christine Wong said...

carol: haha...jan gitu ba kay...well at least ada motivation jg kan to improve...hehe...omg,that's one of the biggest mistake ni. sian o dia. bagus kasi beli dia dictionary :D

AnnieMing said...

Hey I can relate to this! :D Heheheh..

J. Izenhertz said...

Hmm, I don't mind it when people decided to correct my written spellings and grammars.

When it come to verbal pronunciation it's irksome when someone use their 'high and mighty' voice to correct you.

It all come down to being polite and not condescending.

v said...

*raises one hand* guilty as charged :/

Birthmark said...

I don't pinpoint grammars and spellings, as I'm bad at it myself. But I twist people's statuses. Saja kacau lah...

Does that make me even worse?

Cynta said...

Haha...macam sia pun ada itu Anglo-made-up disease! I'm not into correcting a person's speech tho', I'm prone to correcting spelling errors.

Lizeewong said...

LOL!! Nope nope nope. I am definitely NOT a grammar Nazi. *in denial* ^_^

Lizeewong said...

Btw, sia rasa2 ko sudah (mentally) kasi correct tu *comes *uses kan? kan? Hehehe. Grammar Nazi! :P

Akue Achik said...

shit. i just know it's may be not maybe..darn. haha

Rungitom said...

Feel free to correct me if I'm wrong, ahaha, oh yes I love the cake. :D

Miss Jess_Lyne said...

hahaha, i think there's a Grammar nazi in all of us, especially English teachers. The difference lies in the degree of correcting tendency :p I will never correct someone publicly unless they are my students, otherwise I'll just correct them in my head...hehe

Yen said...

Itu la saya malas mau skiping english klu komen post ko..sbb saya tau ko cigu english..tkut nti kena grammared pla..hehe..

Tapi sa setuju cakap c carol..kadang2 tidak sengaja baitu..twisted tongue@overlooked spelling.

Ada saturang office mate sa ada habit mcm ko ni..pantang org salah ni, sa sendiri pun pernah kena..but it can't be helped since kita urg sabah cakap laju..ada certain words yg kadang2 kita ambil short cut seja mau komfom, fail:fell, paint: pain/pen.

Yup, of course sa pun kadang2 rasa annoyed juga kalau org salah spelling@pronounce ni..but u can always play nice and allow someone else's mistake on purpose..:D

p/s: tips: always put yourself in others shoes :p

Amanda Christine Wong said...

Annie: Hehe..glad I'm not alone!

J. Izenhertz: Agreed. It depends on your tone.

V: haha...kawan!

Birthmark: That makes you a troll.

Cynta: hehe...kira 'mild' la tu :D

Lizee: Lizee! you are a grammar nazi! only when u mention the 'comes' then i realise it. ko lagi GN dari sy! heheh

Akue Achik: Well, u learn something new today :D

Rungitom: Hehe...nda mau la...when it's really glaring baru la :D. yup, cake's really cute.

Jess: Yes! I do that in my head too when im feeling polite :D

Yen: haha...nda la ba i go correcting people in jess, i do it in my head. if sy jadi camtu, teda la kawan sy ni...hehe...

Zen said...

due to my superhuman power of self-restraint, i have been able to restrain myself from correcting other people in many occasions.

is "YOU JUST GOT GRAMMARRED?" a meme already?

if not, it should be one, since seeing your comments pop out at awkward moments seem so meme-like hilarious.

Daniel Chiam said...

just to be save... sa guna bahasa pasar lah len kali sa post something. ahahahaha I like grandma nazi! miahahaha spot it spot it!

Lizeewong said...

Hey! I love the new layout! It's wicked in a True-Bloodish kind of way hehehe. But I prefer your old font :)

Amanda Christine Wong said...

Zen: Well good for you! Hm, maybe we can start a meme then.

Daniel: hahaha...utk lebih selamat ah...

Lizee: astaga lizee, sy cuba2 sj ba ni..n i forgot to save my previous template :/. so im stuck with this one till i found a better one..

chegu carol said...

Manda, the previous template is much-much nicer :(
How can you forgot to save it??

Nda bah...hehehe, harap2 ko jumpa balik tu blog template la ah.

Eric Constantine said...

hahah... i love to commit mistakes, and i enjoy doing it...such a curse for me to be an English teacher.. my cup of tea.. anyway, if you are the grammar nazi, i have met Principal of English... she's pretty allergic to grammar

Amanda Christine Wong said...

Carol: i know right? ergh...

Eric: ahaha...principal of english ah...ada jg!

Momo said...

Love the post!

I totally relate to this. So... I guess I'm justified to point out one itty bitty mistake I saw on your previous post then~: 'I THREW A KID'S BAG FROM THE FIRST FLOOR, AND HE SPITTED ON THE FLOOR'.

I think you meant SPAT.

Thanks for making it OK to be Grammar Nazi, Manda~ :p

Momo said...

Uhh... uii, sa tidak pigi scroll ko punya previous posts check grammar aa. Sa nmpk ini dlu2 ba tp malu mo ckp. haha I may be a Grammar Nazi, but I'm not a douchebag. ^^

Amanda Christine Wong said...

Momo: OH! damn,why didnt i think that the past tense for spit is spat? Thanks Grammar Nazi! Haha...Just opening an avenue for y'all to come out of the closet not a douchebag either...i think.

Memer said...

I am tempted to correct something in this blogpost but nevermind :p

Amanda Christine Wong said...

Memer: hey, if it's eating u inside, go ahead! i'd understand :D

Blackcurrant said...

I am not an English teacher, but when I see people doing grammar mistakes [which I am certain are mistakes] I really can't help it.. I have to, correct.. them..

Amanda Christine Wong said...

Blackcurrant: haha! that makes u an uncertified grammar nazi :D