What kind of a word nerd are you?

Take this fun quiz to determine whether you’re only somewhat grammar obsessed or if you’re completely off the deep end.

There’s only one thing more annoying than having a “selfie-obsessed” friend on Facebook: having a friend who is constantly taking those “What kind of ______ are you?” quizzes and sharing the results.

I’ve seen: “What kind of best friend are you?”; “What kind of cupcake are you?”; “What kind of coffee drink are you?”; “Which ‘Little House on the Prairie’ character are you?”

What’s next? “What kind of fungus are you?”

However annoying it is, this phenomenon has inspired me to develop my own quiz. It’s called, “What kind of word nerd are you?”

For those Ragan readers who’ve been wondering exactly where they fall on that scale, this one’s for you:

What kind of a word nerd are you?

Step 1. Answer the following yes/no questions. (Be honest. This is a judgment-free zone.)

1. Do you subscribe to one or more style guides (or have one or more style guides on your desk)?

2. Do you catch typos all around you, even when you’re not looking for them?

3. Do you find yourself correcting the grammar in the books you read to your kids? (“Junie B. Jones” is the worst.)

4. Can you quote from “Eats, Shoots and Leaves”?

5. Have you had more than one heated argument about the use of the serial comma?

6. Does seeing 1990’s or 30’s drive you to drink?

7. Do you feel an immediate sense of camaraderie with anyone who uses “comprise” correctly?

8. Can you spell “minuscule,” “inadvertent,” “supersede,” and “ophthalmologist” correctly? (Could you have done so before we just showed them to you?)

9. Is the hyphen your least favorite punctuation mark?

10. Do you use the word “decimate” correctly?

11. Do you giggle when you end a sentence with a preposition and know why it’s acceptable to do so?

12. Do people refuse to play Words with Friends or Scrabble with you?

Step 2. Count the questions you answered “yes.”

Word Nerd Elite

You answered “yes” to 10 to 12 questions.

You are in the upper echelon of word nerdiness. Very likely you are the primary person in your department or company that others ask when they have a grammar or punctuation question. You may have even played dueling style guides with a co-worker. Finding typos on signs or in movie credits might feel like a victory for you. Welcome to the club. We meet for drinks every month on penultimate Wednesdays.

Word Nerd Moderate

You answered “yes” to 5 to 9 questions.

You exhibit a few of the telltale signs of word nerdiness. You probably know and use one style guide very well. Though you know the arguments for and against its use, you’re lukewarm on the serial comma. You have a pretty easy time keeping your composure when playing Scrabble.

Word Nerd Lite (or should that be light?)

You answered “yes” to 0 to 4 questions.

Other than one or two minor eccentricities, you’re not really a word nerd at all. You leave it to others to find typos and argue about word usage. Perhaps you’ve read “Eats, Shoots and Leaves” and you remember the joke about the panda bear. You haven’t quite memorized your style guide, but you have a few key sections highlighted.

Ragan readers, how did you rate on the quiz? Did I leave any questions out?

Download this free white paper to discover 10 ways you can improve your writing today.

Laura Hale Brockway is an Austin-based writer and editor. Read more of her work at impertinentremarks.com.

This article first appeared on Ragan.com in June 2014.


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