15 signs you might be a word nerd

Do you have more than one style guide on your desk?

Are you the one person in your company others call when they have a grammar question?

That book you read before you go to bed at night—how many typos have you found in it?

If you answered yes to the first two questions and more than 10 to the second question, you might be a word nerd. Never fear; no one here will make fun of you. PR Daily readers are a group of like-minded people who—though they have different interests and opinions—share an appreciation for the power and subtlety of words.

Still not quite sure if your love of the English language translates into word-nerdiness? Well, you know you’re a word nerd if:
• You catch yourself correcting the grammar in the stories you read to your kids. “Cookie Monster says, ‘I want cookies.’”

• You subscribe to more than one word-a-day e-newsletter.

• You’ve watched an episode of Writing the OED in its entirety.

• You can quote from Eats, Shoots and Leaves.

• No one wants to play Words with Friends with you. (Cowards!)

• You’ve had more than one heated argument about the use of the serial comma.

• You know when to use “and” and when to use “as well as” in a series.

• Seeing 1990’s or 30’s drives you to drink.

• You know why you should use “an” with words like “historic” and “MRI.”

• You’ve played dueling style guides with a co-worker.

• You know the difference between “defuse” and “diffuse.”

• Hyphens are your least favorite punctuation mark.

• You can spell “minuscule,” “inadvertent,” “supersede,” and “ophthalmologist.”

• You can use the word “decimate” correctly in a sentence.

• You feel an immediate sense of camaraderie with anyone who uses “comprise” correctly.
Readers, any more to add to the list?

A version of this story first appeared on Ragan Communication’s PR Daily.

10 Responses to “15 signs you might be a word nerd”

  1. Dina says:

    “An” does not go before historic. Historic starts with a consonant sound “he” not a vowel sound as in “em”RI. It’s a historic, an MRI, a one-time offer, etc.

  2. Maria says:

    I love this! I have to disagree on #9, though. Because the “h” in “historic” is not silent, it is preceded by “a,” not “an.” 🙂

    • laurajane says:

      Thanks Maria. You’re right about the “h” with historic. I’ve been going around saying “an historic” all this time like a sucker!

      • Maria says:

        I would add: If you correct the grammar in popular songs. “You and me could write a bad romance.” I refuse to sing it that way, and I’ve convinced my 13-year-old, Gaga-loving niece to do the same. Victory! 🙂

  3. Dr. Paul says:

    I beg to differ, quite respectfully, on number nine. The “h” in historic is virtually silent, therefore requires “an” to precede as an article.

    e.g., ….is an historic diagnosis, i.e., based upon patient history…

    Could this be “an enigma?”

    Maybe both “a” and “an” should be allowed?

    • laurajane says:

      Thank you Dr. Paul for the comments on “an historic.” I agree that it’s not correct, I’ve just been using it all these years because it “sounds” right. Minus one on my word-nerd ranking.