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The Soapbox Filipina | October 23, 2019

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Surviving a Grammar-Nazi Attack - The Soapbox Filipina

Pier Angeli B. Ang Sen

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Writing for the web is a Herculean task, for a non-techie and not-so much-of-a-writer like myself. Still, my more-of-a-storyteller-than-writer-self, wanted my brand’s voice heard, a decibel higher.

With renewed commitment to my brand and my soapbox, I aimed at strengthening my on-line presence.

So, engaging in social media, was necessary. Recently, I became active with The Soapbox Filipina Facebook page.  Since, social media, in my understanding was relying on what the younger demographic was consuming,  I stalked young blood. As they facebooked, twi’rred , pinned, and instagrammed, I followed suit.

 

 

But well, on social media, the readers’ reactions are instantaneous. So when they agree or do not agree, with what you wrote or what you posted, they let you know. ( oh boy, they would surely let you know)
( o, follow suit pa?)

 

 

1. One reader, once  said that I should focus on my mommy duties, (like washing the dishes and doing the laundry) instead of talking about things I do not know -like this country. “Wala naman daw akong alam”. 

 

But of course that did not stop me. Besides, many of those who hold public office, also do not know many things about this country.  (we’re even-steven) I am a blogger, a mom and a voter –FilipIna ako.”  

 

 

2. One instance, an admin of one facebook community, did not approve my request to join them. But she was nice enough, to send me a message instead :

“pasensya na po, pero medyo matanda na po kayo, para sa community na ‘to.” 

(“Aray naman, o!”)  Or can any one recommend a very good anti ageing cream? Or I should I just keep on using throwback pictures for my FB profile?

 

 

But truth was, I am all to blame. I was unmindful of the communities I joined. I did not check what I was getting in to.  

 

“Ah basta, join lang ng join, atsaka, create lang ng create ng account.” (with memory enhancing pills and iodized salt on the side -to remember the password for each account) 

O, ayan next time ha? Wag masyadong selfish-trigger-happy at click lang ng click, puede?”  I learned my lesson that way. Now, I only join communities that might need me and will match my profile.

 

 

3 . While there are good deeders  in the web, there is also an abundance of cruel people -cloaked in anonymity and armed with social media.

Some people on the internet,  do not aim to criticize constructively. They just hope for a viral statement via their ugly comments.

 

BUT YOU KNOW, what is or who else is also out there, on social media?

 

 

4. The Grammar Nazis.

 

 

They are the Guardians of Language-Galaxy.

 

 

They are believed to have superior knowledge of the English language. They have placed upon themselves, the responsibility of protecting grammar, from the onslaught of  badly written compositions on the web, whether it is a social media status or a heart-felt written blog post. 

 

 

There are people who send their corrections to others, through personal messages and emails, but the Grammar Nazis will “capture” you,  in concentration camps of screen shots and commentaries.

Unlike educators who teach with encouragement , the Grammar Nazi’s objective is rooted on a vendetta  –avenging the gruesome murder of the English language.

 

The Grammar Nazis are like a bunch of Thursday Nexts, but meaner. They live in their ideal world -a utopia filled with noun and verb agreement, syntax , plurals and singulars, no misspelled words and serial commas. 

They prey on mere mortals like myself,  whose goal in blogging is to communicate with our tribe and search  for individuals with shared experiences.

“Wrong grammar, off with your heads.” 

 

 

As recipient, you get knocked out, without even knowing what hit you.

Then you just wake up, to remnants of your old self  -blown up in super nova fashion, surrounded with the  debris of prepositions, pronouns, apostrophes, commas, dashes, hyphens and ellipses.

 

 

They don’t pull their punches. They have every malicious intent of shaming you and making the public know –forever that you were grammar nazied. And forever is not enough.

 

 

They did not just come across other people’s errors, by chance. They scour the web for mistakes. They deliberately type on google, ” recieve and beleive”  and check who just submitted a post with the misspelled word.  I am paranoid like that.
( “that bad huh?” , you ask.  “Well yeah,  I was grammar nazied…MANY TIMES, I have lost count!) 
I get knocked out, but I  get up again , they never gonna keep me down”. 
The comments that these breed of grammar nazis make, are fatal to a budding blogger or a sensitive mom like me. 

 

In my blogging life, my first Grammar-Nazi encounter, began with a screen shot of my grammar error, ( the works )  captioned with a scathing remark, a succession of hurtful comments and an evil laugh for voice over, I think. 

 

“I was grammar-nazied”. It was a grave threat to my immune system. 

 

It reminded me of a professor in college who told me,  ” You call this report’? Eh, basura yan eh?”  With that class, only twenty-two people witnessed my humiliation. 

 

But with the grammar-nazi attack, “traffic was hostile witness.” It made me wanna close shop. 

 

More on the lines of, I will not blog eeveeeeeer again. ( ayawan na!)  

 

It was only the beginning of my relationship with grammar nazis. The person was just the first. He/she was just one of the many.

But because storytelling is my passion,  being a mom is my occupation and pinoy pride is my intention ,  people like them and instances like those, did not discourage me from blogging.  (kakampi ko si Melanie Marquez, bahala na siya.)

As  they say, ” if one cannot face criticisms on social media, then one is not readyto be anywhere in social media.  So, I choose ready.

Just how did I manage a grammar-nazi attack?

And how should you deal with them, with your sanity intact?

 

 

 

 

First, whatever you do, DO NOT CLICK on her/his facebook profile.

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Don’t take that road. ( parang EDSA lang , “bawal tumawid, nakamamatay.”) It is detrimental to your health. You will be itching to click, on his facebook page. It is because at the back of your mind, you think that he or she, does not have the right to correct you. “You ask, bakit, may PhD ba siya in Linguistics? sa Cambridge?” 

But please, do not click on his FB profile. You will not get over that feeling, once you find out, how young the person who corrected you was. You will feel depressed.

Corrected by: Bhoy of 5-Garnet.. ” Kakasa ka ba sa grade -5?”

The grammar mistakes that most of us make on social media, can be corrected by a fifth grader. (yeah, I know right? I could not  get over a broken heart and a bruised ego, after being corrected by a millennial.  “Ang hirap mag move on.”

 

 

 

 

Second, Say ” Thank you.”

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The person read what you wrote.  He saw that detail which you failed to see. Or, he might just have, corrected a myth that you might have held as fact -all your life. The person went through those  lengths to correct you. ( it still takes effort on his part, “to screen shot” your mistake and post it on his site, when he could have messaged you, you know ) 

Now shouldn’t all those be deserving of  a warm thank you? 

Alright, it is difficult to do that, most especially when the screen shot comes with a comment saying, “oh please, your grammar is killing me.” But do try.

 

 

Third, encourage him/her to keep on visiting your site.

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There might still be other posts on your site that need corrections.  There could be some spelling, grammar and punctuations, you might have missed.

I am no English nor Journ major. It is expensive  to hire an editor/copyeditor for my site. Then, here comes grammar-nazi and free editing.

Oh, please come back to my site. 

I welcome the corrections made, believe you me. This site has been corrected by dozens of people from readers I have never met,  grammar nazis, classmates in college and relatives. 

But my writing style has improved after being grammar nazied. I have gained more, than lost, from a grammar nazi attack.

I made it work for me, instead. 

 

 

Fourth, enroll in a refresher course in English. Sign up for a series of writing workshop, pronto ! NO EXCUSES!

 

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After being grammar nazied, I directed my attention to setting aside, time and money for writing-related workshops.

Yeah, I am always on the look out for workshops that will improve my blogging skills. I thought of improving myself, as a blogger/writer and grammar-nazi survivor.

 

 

What is worst than being corrected?

That would be NOT knowing why you were being corrected. 

 

 

All the while you thought, you had it right. So, you become clueless, of why you are being corrected, in the first place.

 

I have been attending writing workshops since last year. I have been buying and downloading books recommended by speakers from the workshops. Yes, they did say, no one is too old to learn.

 

 

I am preparing myself for future attacks. After several workshops, at least now, I am able to see immediately why my article was being screened shot and mocked. ( bitter lang ) 

 

Fifth, think of him or her, as a potential best friend, someone from grammar school.

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Yeah, you know that feeling ( or may be not, poor me) when you just saw, the nasty comment under the screen shot photo of your grammar error? Kung maka correct, wagas.

You stomped your feet and say ‘”you bleep-bleep, I have a flourishing blog!”  Then you drown yourself in wine and fail to do the laundry, the next day? 

You try to contact your friend who has a friend (NOT YOURS) who is friends with a mambabarangYou call another friend who has a friend ( STILL NOT YOURS ) who is friends with a hacker. 

OR

hey, Grammar-Nazi can just be your new best friend. ( YES, YOURS) 

One of my sisters said, she once came across an article that said Grammar Nazis should not be anywhere near the web. Exactly. ( them cruel like that ) But since they are already there, they can help you big time.

 

For my blog, I have a resident grammar nazi, a reader whom I never met but used to send me screen shots of my grammar errors. The person used to be mean but for now he/she is a bit pleasant when correcting me. I made my peace ( or piece)  with him/her  -who does not want to be named, other than resident grammar-nazi.  ( later, I am going to get corrected by the person, I hope, after I publish this article )

 

 

Never think of yourself as a victim. ( oh well, it still is an attack, yes? )  But be hopeful of the future. Befriend a grammar nazi. Be surprised with what you might gain, today. ( tuma-tagline lang )

 

“My only love sprung from my only hate. “

 

 

Dear Friends, thank you for reading. It means a lot to me. You might want to read posts like this, too. Check them out:

Comments

  1. I love this post Pier! And I enjoyed it so much. My gosh, sa galing mong umingles ng lagay na yan, na criticize ka pa? What will happen to me. I think I need to brace myself for so many angst and pains na in the future, hahaha.

    • thanks Lans,friends talaga tayo… In fairness may screen shot pa talaga yung akin…hahaha HD…at madami sila…pero pinatataba nila yung puso ko kc, they actually “read me.” The nasty remarks have made me write, better.SO THANK YOU, NGAYONG PASKO SILA ANG BLESSINGS KO.. hehehe.
      ( station id lang )

  2. I super love this article! I’ll be looking for English workshops narin, refresher and to improve my blogging style ^_^ Thank you so much for the tips!

    • Hey Genzel! Thanks. It took a while for me to write about being grammar nazied -most especially in a humorous and relaxed tone. It was hurting at first, then I let go. Hahaha.Yes, we have to improve ourselves not for the grammar nazis sake but for ourselves actually. (the grammar nazis just gave me that much needed push) Yes, workshops, we should! God Bless!

  3. Yikes! I wonder how I’d react if I ever get this experience. I’m thinking my first instinct would be to flee and never return. You’re right though, what good does that do? I shall remember your tips for future use. 🙂

    • Yep, my first thought really was to find the ends of the earth..hahaha! Then again, it would be too difficult to do, so I decided to continue blogging instead, hahaha.

  4. Dear cuz, as they say, ‘in every cloud, there’s a silver lining.’ life is a never-ending pursuit for learning. like diamonds, its perfection is only achieved through arduous cuts. so much like in writing. to this day, i share with others what i learned in campus papers early on in life: never fall in love with your first draft. whether we put so much heart to it or risked blood and butter, it would always be subjected to much bludgeoning – to perfect form and content, and check on facts and figures. soon, the process becomes a way of a writer’s life. the beauty in this stems from the fact that writing for an audience is a responsibility. anything written and published for the general public will be subjected to scrutiny, just by anybody. it is the same as selling pancakes. if it is good, you get repeat business. if something’s off, word goes around. feel privileged if people come to you for feedback. it is just the way things are in writing. let not your emotions win over you. you have chosen the path to the public sphere, so there will always be comments. forge on, cuz, write and write, and spread the word in your heart. while ‘corrections’ may come the soft and hard way, never falter in your focus. you are on the right track for embracing writing and re-learning. i’m glad that you are doing something close to your heart. as there are no first drafts in blogging, perhaps, you may wish to sleep over your work first, check and recheck the morning after, and ‘plate’ your piece for public consumption. write on!

    • Thanks Jas. I have also realized that through the years, my site improved so much because of other people. I thank those people for giving their time in reading my thoughts. I thank them also for educating me. However, it was those nasty remarks which I had a hard time dealing with.hahaha. Yeah, I so love what I am doing. I have found my voice and my writing style. I learned to be authentic and relatable. I now tell my stories the way I would tell a friend. I just make a mental count of the number of people who say the sweetest words to me, for they out number the ones who do not. So here I am one million grammar nazis later. I have leveraged the fact to an advantage.

  5. Seriously? Wow, I commend you for seeing the good and humorous side of it. I’ve not been grammar nazied yet, not by people I do not know anyway, and I’m glad I haven’t experienced it because I don’t think I would have responded with as much grace as you have.

    • Thanks May. Oh, but that up there, was right after one intense introspection later. My initial reaction however was totally different – it could have shamed all the gamma ray in Hulk. But well my gamma er grammar nazi saw my mistake so what can I do but to be careful the next time. hahaha! Take care!

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