15 signs you might be a word nerd

Ever corrected the grammar in a story you read to your kids? To how many word-a-day emails do you subscribe? Uh-oh, you might be a word nerd. (Join the club.)

Do you have more than one style guide on your desk?

Are you the one person in your company others call when they have a grammar question?

That book you read before you go to bed at night—how many typos have you found in it?

If you answered yes to the first two questions and more than 10 to the second question, you might be a word nerd. Never fear; no one here will make fun of you. Ragan and PR Daily readers are a group of like-minded people who—though they have different interests and opinions—share an appreciation for the power and subtlety of words.

Still not quite sure if your love of the English language translates into word-nerdiness? Well, you know you’re a word nerd if:

  • You catch yourself correcting the grammar in the stories you read to your kids. “Cookie Monster says, ‘I want cookies.'”
  • You subscribe to more than one word-a-day e-newsletter.
  • You’ve watched an episode of Writing the OED in its entirety.
  • You can quote from “Eats, Shoots and Leaves.”
  • No one wants to play Words with Friends with you. (Cowards!)
  • You’ve had more than one heated argument about the use of the serial comma.
  • You know when to use “and” and when to use “as well as” in a series.
  • Seeing 1990’s or 30’s drives you to drink.
  • You know why you should use “an” with words like “historic” and “MRI.”
  • You’ve played dueling style guides with a co-worker.
  • You know the difference between “defuse” and “diffuse.”
  • Hyphens are your least favorite punctuation mark.
  • You can spell “minuscule,” “inadvertent,” “supersede,” and “ophthalmologist.”
  • You can use the word “decimate” correctly in a sentence.
  • You feel an immediate sense of camaraderie with anyone who uses “comprise” correctly.

Readers, any more to add to the list?

Laura Hale Brockway writes about writing and edits about editing at Impertinent Remarks.


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