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Wednesday, January 20, 2010

White People Love Grammar

This morning, a friend sent me a little treat from his daily calendar, "Stuff White People Like." It’s written from the perspective of a non-white person, giving advice to other non-white people on how to make friends with white people. Today’s tidbit discusses grammar.

I fell over laughing when I read it. Mind you, I’m the most grammar-nerdy girl you’ll ever meet. And by grammar-nerdy I mean obsessive compulsive. If you know me, you’re aware that this form of OCD is well beyond the point of quirky or semi-attractive – you know it flirts with insanity. (In fact, there were three spelling mistakes and a few punctuation errors in the tidbit about grammar. So I took the liberty of fixing them for you.)

I realize each of my devoted bleaders can probably identify specific posts in which I’ve made horrible spelling, grammar, punctuation, sentence-structure, and word-usage errors. But please forgive me, because sometimes I’m hurried and don’t double-check my work until later in the day, when it has been published for hours and already perused by some of you. The good news? If you’re one of these bleaders who has noticed an error or two, you’ll find the below excerpt laugh-out-loud hilarious.

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White people love rules. It explains why they get so upset when people cut in line, why they tip so religiously, and why they become lawyers. But without a doubt, the rule system that white people love the most is grammar. It is in their blood not only to use perfect grammar but also to spend significant portions of time pointing out the errors of others.

When asking someone about his biggest annoyances in life, you might expect responses like hunger, being poor, or getting shot. If you ask a white person, the most common response will likely be: "People who use their when they mean there. Maybe comma splices. I'm not sure, but it's definitely one of the two."

Another important thing to note is that when white people read magazines and books they are always looking for grammar and spelling mistakes. In fact, one of the greatest joys a white person can experience is to catch a grammar mistake in a major publication.

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For those of you who are still with me, have you ever noticed an error in a book? One that’s published by a reputable company such as Little, Brown and Co.? I have. And then I've struggled not to crack my own skull open.


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