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March 08, 2009


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Count me in as a fellow nerd, MD. I drive my husband and children crazy on a near-daily basis. If I correct their grammar one more time, I think they're going to toss me out of the house!


You've changed me. I don't use emoticons nearly as much anymore. :-)

Grace aka blackbelt

LOL. You have been more interested lately in doing good for society. Score one for the MetroDad!

Heather P.

Hahahaha. Too funny, MD. Congrats on effecting change!

(P.S. my personal Achille's heel is when people misuse "affect" and "effect.")


Don't let anyone tell you differently, MD. Good grammar is damn sexy!


I recommend Anne Fadiman's book Ex Libris for you. I love the entire book, but especially the chapter about her family making sport of proofreading newspaper, menus, etc.

Papa Bradstein

OK, so why is it "myself" and not "me" in "My obsession with grammar had even started to annoy myself"?

I'm not trying to be an ass. It sounds wrong to me, but I can't figure out why.

This is funny if only because since you first pointed this out, I fixate on those signs.

Musings of a Housewife

That is AWESOME! Love it. From one grammar nerd to another.


Papa B...I think you're right. It SHOULD be "me." Oh well. Even grammar nerds make mistakes from time to time.


AWESOME!!! We are out there... I walk around the local Lowe's and erase the apostrophes that are needlessly written in on the dry erase boards.
Have you seen http://www.unnecessaryquotes.com/


That has always bothered me, too, the "or less" thing at the grocery store. Good for you. A man after my own heart.

There is some TV station right now that promotes "More movies, less commercials." I have written them, and do you think they've written me back? More annoyance, less life, that's what I've got.


Here are two more grammar blogs for you, MD.




GREAT post, MD. As a recent reader, I had no idea that you were such a grammar nerd. I knew you were a great writer but this post only makes me love you more. Way to enact change!


The "fewer" vs "less" always makes me cringe also. Good for you.


Do you think the obsession with grammar is an Asian-American thing? My wife and her sister are both crazy about bad grammar. I always shrug it off but if we're at breakfast together and there's a mistake on the menu, it will drive the two of them nuts for the entire day.

David Goldman

MD. Great story! How does bosslady put up with this obsession?


Not a grammar nerd, so I'll let you two fight it out...


Esther Chang

Oh God! You really are my husband's long-lost twin brother. When we first started dating, I needed to look something up in his dictionary. When I opened it up, I saw that there were highlights all over it. Turns out he used to read himself to sleep with the dictionary. I think you guys would get along famously.

Karen L

I can't believe that I'm delurking for this but... I think "10 or fewer items" would read better than "10 items or fewer."

My peeve is the use of "literally" when its opposite, "figuratively," is intended. The Yankees were literally on fire. ugh. I am also grieving the slow death of the adverb.

Captain Dumbass

My wife is now in love with you. I think I purposely throw some poor grammar into my blogs just so I can hear her mutter and curse. Or maybe I'm just lazy and semi-literate.

Driver B

Oh my god, amazing! You are my hero!

I can only hope it will spread. . .


I'm pretty sure I declared my undying devotion to you when you wrote your original grammar nerd post; this post is a lovely update. My recent WF accomplishment is a spelling success. I got them to change "arrugula" to "arugula". (Maybe pirates like arrrugula.)


Metrodad. I know you have a beautiful family but if you ever find yourself single you sound like the perfect man for me. Make my granmer perfect! Xo


That gives me some hope.


I didn't know the original sign was printed! I love the image of that service rep having a meeting to discuss with someone drawing a new, grammatically-correct sign. You know that intern hates you, but he will never forget the fewer/less distinction. Woohoo!



I agree with Alicia. Good/correct grammar IS damn sexy.

Whole Foods must love their customers. I don't think many stores would've put any thought or time into this. But that they did and came up with a new, grammatically correct sign is great! I love that it looks better, too.

Yes, grammar geeks can mess up sometimes, but the fact that we try when it seems so many others do not.... well, it gives me hope. :-)


This made my day, MD! I think you should embrace your inner grammar nerd. After unhappily and unsuccessfully attempting to suppress my inner grammar nerd back in my salad days, I have come to accept this aspect of myself, preferring to think of it as something more akin to my inner grammar dominatrix/superherione. When confronted by grammar atrocities in the ivory tower where my mild-mannered alter ego teaches, I will leap long dissertations in a single bound, laying waste to incorrect uses of the subjunctive and run-on sentences with a flick of my fearsome red pen. And in my off hours, I have even been known to correct my beloved and long-suffering spouse during intimate, ahem, domestic moments. Hasn't stopped him yet!


Yeah for Whole Foods and yeah for your intervention!

The less versus fewer mistake drives me bananas too. I have to mention it to my husband EVERY time we're in line togther, which I'm sure drives him bananas too.

Tara K.

I'm a total sucker for intelligent men. You'd be surprised how few of them there are out there. Between your obsession with grammar and good manners, I think I now officially have a crush on you, MD!


How cool is it that Whole Foods changed the sign because of your comment? Makes me love that place even more. I can't imagine my local Gristedes ever doing anything like that.

Sarah, GOon Squad Sarah

Wait a second - you can just ask and they will fix grammar issues?

Good for "Whole Foods".

Jen Bloom

Now if they would only lower their prices, I'd be even happier!


Hooray! If only errant apostrophes could find their way home...


"someone in conversation improperly said 'if' when they should have used 'whatever,'"

Was that a typo? Did you mean "should have used 'whether'"?


You are NOT crazy. Those signs have been driving me crazy ever since I first moved to the US. They are everywhere! And they all say the same (wrong) thing!

Kudos on getting your local Whole Foods on board as far as better grammar goes ;-) Would you like to come do ours now?


I LOVE that your comment convinced Whole Foods to change their sign. Way to stick up for grammar nerds everywhere, MD!


One of my favorite t-shirts I own is the one that says, "Bad grammar makes me sic!"

Elaine at Lipstickdaily

Amazing! But how can you stand to read anything on the internet? BTW, what can we do in Pennsylvania about the dropped infinitives . . . i.e., the laundry "needs done"?


I silently stalk your blog but rarely comment. I love the grammar posts by the way.

My buddy took this picture of a sign in WAL*MART. You may find it funny or go into an uncontrollable twitching fit. Sorry if it is the latter.



My personal kryptonite is when people my age confuse "they're" and "their" or "it's" and "its." How do people get to their late 20's or early 30's without learning the difference? It scares the crap out of me.


Love this post!!! My mom was a school teacher and as a kid she would pay me a quarter evertime I found a mistake in a book/newspaper, etc.
I just have to say the latest irritation for me is the IPhone tag line: "The funnest Iphone ever"


Thank you, Metrodad. Incorrect grammar drives me nuts! I hate "Where's he at?", and the lay/lie confusion makes steam come out of my ears.


you are a grammar vigilante! and a successful one. i think lynne truss (author of eats, shoots and leaves) went around once correcting apostrophes.


Here in the UK, local authorities are starting to remove the apostrophes from place names on street signs. So "King's Cross" would become "Kings Cross".

Although it made national radio, sadly it looks likely to go ahead, not least because the Ordnance Survey (who make our maps) apparently stopped putting apostrophes in place names decades ago and none of us noticed!

Sarah Schulte

So, I'm thinking that the newish commercial for the HPV vaccine probably drives you as crazy as it does me. "One Less" is their slogan. Every time I see it, I twitch as if nails are scratching a chalkboard.

Maternal Mirth

You're not crazy. I would be turning cartwheels right about now.


My pet peeve, besides those who drive slow in the left lane, is folks who use "good" incorrectly. "How ya doin'?" "I'm doin' good."

Technically, you can say that, and it's grammatically correct. But, it's never what they actually mean.

"Yeah? How are you doing good? What are you doing to achieve this 'good?'" People just give me this blank stare, with their eyes squinted just a bit, and their head tilted slightly - just like dogs do when they think you're nuts. I think these people are trying to decide whether they can deck me without getting sued. "Hmmm . . . he's a grammar nerd. Probably a lawyer too. Better let it go."

I had a roommate in boarding school who went around correcting peoples' adverbs. "-ly" he would say. "Hmmm?" "That's 'nice-ly,' . . . 'clear-ly,' . . . 'emotional-ly.'" People did deck him.


I thought I was the only person in the world for whom the "10 items of less" was a major irritant.

I love that you got them to change it to "fewer". Thank you. Thank. you. (Oh, I just wrote a fragment. Don't fire off an angry letter at me.)


Christine Ritchie

can you please make "I'll take the following person on line" your next vendetta?


You're my hero!

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