10 more signs that you might be a word nerd

Does ‘irregardless’ drive you up a wall? What about the misuse of ‘less’ versus ‘fewer’? They’re even more signs you’re a word nerd.


In a post on PR Daily, Ragan.com’s sister site, I wrote about 15 telltale signs of word-nerdiness. On the list were attributes such as correcting the grammar in children’s stories and quoting from “Eats, Shoots & Leaves.”

At the end of the post, I asked PR Daily readers to share their word nerd giveaways. Here are a few of those responses:

  • “I love to find typos in books/articles/pamphlets, not because I love that they’re there, but more so because it’s a weird dim-witted victory for me. Strange, I know. Nerd alert for sure!”
  • “My latest pet peeve? The rampant and egregious misuse of ‘fewer’ or ‘less.’ Thank the Gods that my local Wegman’s (and Trader Joe’s) gets it right: 10 items or FEWER. Singular or plural; it’s that simple. Fewer coins, less money. Spread the word, my fellow word geeks!”
  • “I don’t have any style guides on my desk, but have three or four of them bookmarked in my browser. Does that count?”
  • “I work with a PR colleague who consistently says irregardless. Arggghhhh! And I know I’m a word nerd because I edit the grammar on digital road signs. My favorite—’Don’t dink and drive.'”
  • “The use of ‘they’ as a singular pronoun makes you cringe. (Yes, Virginia, there really is a better way.)”
  • “You’re a word nerd if you do crossword puzzles on a daily basis…and start using some of their verbiage in everyday conversation. (‘Have you read this fascinating tome?…,’ ‘Never feed terns at the beach…,’ ‘I finished my lunch ere I went back to work…,’ ‘Honey, would you pick up some oleo at the grocery store on the way home?’)”
  • “Would it be OK if we all used ‘use’ instead of ‘utilize’ … please?”
  • “You giggle while splitting infinitives and know when and why it’s acceptable to do so.”
  • “You read your nephew ‘Horton Hears a Whom,’ you un-friend people for misspelling ‘definitely,’ and you didn’t buy your brother a Christmas present last year because he asked for CD’s and DVD’s.”
  • “I think everybody who commented should join the Grammar Police. I have a paper Grammar Police badge taped to the front of my desk, ‘To Educate and Correct.'”

Laura Hale Brockway is the author of the grammar/usage/random thoughts blog, impertinentremarks.com.

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