I am constantly correcting my students’ bad English. They make basic errors, and they should know better (considering most of them are 16 or 17 years old). I know I’m a science teacher (not an English teacher), but bad grammar hurts everyone and it makes the people who make the grammar errors look stupid. My students are not stupid, so I don’t want people thinking they are because of their grammar errors.
I was taught good grammar when I was in school, and I always felt it was important to put your best foot forward when conversing (not “conversating”) with another person, or when writing to another person. It can get a little tedious, though, when I’m constantly reading and correcting my text and chat messages or poring through my e-mails to make sure there aren’t any glaring errors. I don’t like to seem stupid or uncouth, so I make sure that my communication is as grammatically correct as possible. I also tend to be super-critical of others’ communication with me, and can easily pick out grammar errors in most of them. That being said, my communication in Spanish or Italian is far from grammatically perfect, but that is because I have so little practice with those languages these days and have not studied them for many years. For the same reason, I can forgive the grammar errors of my students who do not speak English as their first language. It’s difficult learning a new language, and all the nuances can be a real bear to remember.
Well, today, one of my students corrected another teacher with one of the grammar tips I had given her. She told the teacher that they should use an apostrophe after the “s” in a name that ends in “s,” and not add another “s.” I wasn’t aware of this act of “grammar policing” until the other teacher came up to me in the hallway and called me the “grammar police.” I asked him what he meant and he told me about his “correction” by one of my students. He also said that this led to a discussion about grammar and the English language and that most of my students were spouting off grammar rules of which even he was unaware. I immediately started to beam with pride. I was proud of my students for remembering the rules I had taught them and I was proud that they weren’t afraid to pass those on to another teacher; an authoritative figure.
I don’t like being the grammar police, but I can’t stand idly by and allow people to use bad grammar when it’s so easy to study up on it and follow the rules. I have posted several times here about people and their bad grammar because it annoys me when people don’t take the time to try to understand the rules of the English language. Links to some of those posts are listed below. So, call me the “grammar police” or a “grammar Nazi,” but know that I revel in my grammatical correctness! I just wish I could get my students to USE those grammar rules I taught them, rather than just spout them off when asked!
Using “Z” to Make Words Plural: https://michaelinmadrid.wordpress.com/2014/07/08/pluralizing-words-with-a-z/