How to Be a Pedant

Geek Culture

I vs. meI vs. me

You know already that I’m a grammar stickler. I care about proper punctuation and spelling. I want people to use the right words. I cringe when apostrophes are scattered willy-nilly throughout plurals, and when they’re missing from what should be contractions. I complain.

I’m a bit more forgiving about typos, which are an error of the fingertips. Typos are like stumbling a bit or spilling something — it’s easy to be a bit clumsy sometimes and everyone does it from time to time. You try to be careful, and most of the time you keep from falling on your face. But what gets me are those errors that show you haven’t learned the correct way to do something, because those are like wearing your shoes on the wrong feet. Sure, a kid might make that mistake, but only until he learns to identify and distinguish the shoes.

Sure, its and it’s may look pretty similar (like a left shoe and a right shoe), but once you learn how they function you should be able to tell them apart pretty easily. Adults typically do not walk around with their shoes on the wrong feet. Heck, even older kids rarely do that. If only using the wrong you’re/your in a sentence caused the same sort of mild physical discomfort. Then perhaps it would be easier to learn.

That, by the way, is why I’m an editor at GeekDad. I don’t really give a lot of input on what we post and what we don’t, so if you have a complaint about whether or not a particular Google Doodle is worth talking about, that’s not really my department. But, darn it, that post better be grammatically correct. (Oh, hey, I just noticed it was missing a comma.) Yup, I’m basically a glorified proofreader, but that’s my passion and I take it quite seriously. That’s why, when I was having business cards printed up for the upcoming Bay Area Maker Faire, I decided to have a little fun with it, putting some mini-lessons on the backs:

Business CardsBusiness Cards

The backs of my new business cards (and one front). Click to enlarge.

I can’t guarantee you that I’ll find all the errors; GeekDad writers are a prolific bunch and I’ve got my own writing to do as well. What I do promise you is that I’ll do my best to find and eliminate errors before they’re published, because it really pains me.

But not literally. That would mean something different.

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