It’s not grammar!

Grammar is not spelling. It is not punctuation. It is not syntax or mechanics. And grammar is most certainly not word use. So why do so many people — knowledgeable people — call us “grammar nazis” or point out “grammar errors” that are actually vocabulary errors, as in the video above and the examples below:

The 11 Most Common Grammatical Mistakes And How To Avoid Them

8 Common Grammar Mistakes You Should Never Make Again

10 Common Grammar Mistakes Even Smart People Make

Not as smart as you think, huh, Ms. Desmarais?

If you use the wrong they’re/their/there or it’s when you should have chosen its, that is not a grammar error — you either picked the wrong word or you can’t spell. Likewise if you loose your principals with deleterious affects. A friend recently asked someone online if she “liked piña colada’s” and was accused of “bad grammar.” No, that’s piss-poor punctuation (and a gag-worthy pick-up line, too. Just so you know, Tom).

Using an adverb when you should use an adjective (“I feel badly!“) is a grammar error. Subject-verb disagreement (“We has cheeseburger!”) is a grammar error. You want a common grammar mistake smart people make? Subject-verb disagreement: “Every one of the employees in VeryBig Corporation’s Marketing, Quality, and Technology groups are entitled to free drinks in the canteen on Thursdays.” (In case you don’t follow, the subject is every one, which is singular, so the sentence should read “Every one of the employees in VeryBig Corporation’s Marketing, Quality, and Technology groups is entitled to free drinks in the canteen on Thursdays.”)

We are not “grammar nazis.” That’s not what is about. We’re here to fuss at your awful word usage, your malapropisms, and your ignorance in matters of vocabulary and definition. If you use literally to mean “not literally,” we’ll shake our heads. But we won’t write an article about it. Because it’s not a lexicide. And it’s also not grammar. It’s just stupidity.