I’m one of those people who care about correct grammar, punctuation, spelling and usage, particularly in writing.
I’ve gone through phases concerning grammar in speech. When I first worked at a newspaper, on the copy desk, I consciously changed my speech, removing audible pauses, slang, colloquialisms, lazy language. Sometimes now, when I’m tired, I speak in near-baby talk, intentionally failing to pronounce words correctly, using plurals when they make no sense. Referencing myself in third person.
When I was in high school I used to correct my parents’ grammar whenever they made a mistake, in front of them and their peers, even. I know it bothered Dad.
I read copyblogger‘s post about “Grammatical errors that make you look dumb” today, and I agree with him. Anyone writing anything should make an effort to avoid such mistakes. Eliminating errors from a person’s communications will help his or her credibility.
Some of the people who responded to his popular post, however, act like and even refer to themselves as “grammar nazis.” This behavior — and attitude — it would seem, also can injure the perpetrator’s reputation in the marketplace.
It does not help to present oneself as mean and overbearing and a know-it-all.
In the end, both can be lived out: Write correctly and give grace when you find someone else’s mistake(s). If you must offer a correction, do it tactfully, pleasantly and out of a helpful spirit that takes into account that good ol’ Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
I may not always succeed at offering grace to others, but I have long-since stopped correcting individuals’ spoken grammar in public. I understand that I have weaknesses, too, and I don’t want them thrown in my face all the time.