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Obsession with Grammar

Language geek

By NIDHI SHARMAPublished 3 years ago 5 min read
Obsession with Grammar
Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

Is anyone else here obsessed with correct grammar, using the right words, correct spellings etc.? Argghhh, I am. It is funny too, I know.

Growing up I never paid attention to such things as grammar or languages or even the correct usage. One might call it naivety or ignorance and c’mon I was a kid. I could care less about all these technicalities of the world. I was on a journey to find myself.

But at some point in life I realized my “language power”.

At school, we had some biased english teachers who gave special treatment to some of the students. When the results of final (very hard) exams came out, all those specially treated students did not even score 90% and I (who the teacher did not even know existed) scored well above 90%, not to sound bold or anything but that's when it hit me, Oooo I am gooood at this!!!

Over the years I have come across various situations and met different people who have opened my eyes more and more about the art of using a language. When I started my first job, we were supposed to take an English course to prepare us for our future in the professional world. I already knew a lot which was being taught but to be honest, I also learnt a lot. From this course, I realized that I have been making so many silly mistakes and never even knew about them. For example,

He might be knowing what she did.

This is such a blunder that I never knew. So to correct it, it should be-

He might know what she did.

During that time we were distributed into batches and I met one of the smartest people, a guy who used to read high class literature and spoke so eloquently. He had a superb vocabulary which was a big deal to me. I wanted to spend as much time as possible learning from him and I did. I would hear a new word from him and keep quiet (to avoid getting embarrassed) and later take out my dictionary to look up what the heck he was talking about. Through this I developed a very good habit- look up for everything I didn't know and try to remember it.

After that I was onto a new phase of my life where I traveled a lot of places including Europe. As they speak a lot of different languages there, it fascinated me so much that I put in a lot of effort to learn german. To be honest, I got really good. But that's where my grammar obsession failed me. German is such a difficult language that it is almost impossible to get the hang of all the genders, prepositions, adjectives blah blah blah. But I did my best.

There I met people who did speak English but not as fluently as their mother tongue. So I used to correct them all the time. They were my friends and they always welcomed my corrections as I welcomed their corrections of my german. So it was basically a tandem exchange.

Once something shocking happened- I was corrected for my pronunciation by someone from Germany. LOL.

I pronounced the word “women” as woman repeatedly in a conversation and this person corrected me by telling me that it is pronounced as “we-men”

That was for sure an eye opener for me as I realized that I still have a long way to go and that languages never cease to surprise. After this incident I also noticed that almost everyone from my country pronounces “women” as "wo-men".

Another example is the word “wednesday”. Many people pronounce it exactly as “Wed-nes-day” but I recently learned that it is pronounced as “Wens-day”.

Again, I went back and checked that in my country they pronounce it as “Wed-nes-day”.

One more knowledge that I came across was the pronunciation of the alphabet ‘s’. If one notices, it is sometimes pronounced as ‘s’ and sometimes as ‘z’.

For example, in the word purpose, the pronunciation is “s”.

But in the words, plays and fans, it is pronounced as a “z”

I do get too excited when I realize such things and then learn the correct usage.

It is also interesting to note how some things get deeply embedded in our brains that we no longer pay any attention to them. All this was never taught to me at school, where the foundations of language are laid. Often we get influenced by the way someone else is speaking and try to copy them, especially when we are young. It could be that this person also does not speak correctly. But as I am growing up, I learn everyday and try to not get influenced by external factors.

It might sound very normal to people whose native language is English, but the other side of the world has to do much more and keep learning. Many people might not give this as much importance, but I do. Whenever I learn a new language I improvise the pronunciations, because I feel there is no other way that a native speaker would understand what I am speaking (or else we would be stuck in a loop of "Sorry, could you repeat that"). I started speaking german and I tried to learn how to not bring my native accent in the new language and did the same when I visited the US.

Sometimes, the grammar obsession becomes too much. LOL. I cannot stop myself from correcting people. Thankfully it is limited to my friends, as I know they won't get offended and they also understand that my intention is not to demean them. It is just an obsession.

Now, I am not saying that I am the world's best English language speaker/reader/writer/listener (was it Shakespeare?!) and I am fully aware that my level of language skill is not perfect because I still encounter many shockers from time to time. To be honest I enjoy them, as they fascinate me about how wrong I was and also force me to learn more and more.

So this was something on my mind and I wanted to put it out there. I just write to pour my heart out here, on Vocal. These words are pure honesty.

Thank you for reading.


About the Creator


Amateur writer

Pouring my heart out through words

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