During Newhouse “boot camp,” the summer program before the official start of my master’s degree in journalism, the professors who taught news writing warned us that if they found a single fact error in one of our stories, the assignment would get an F.
Years later, I still make sure to double-check facts, names, numbers, URLs, etc., when I’m writing and editing. (With a last name like mine, I know the frustration of seeing your name spelled incorrectly.) I also have an eye for spotting typos and other mistakes, and I see them everywhere: menus, signs, ads, books, newspapers, etc.
I keep a running mental list of my grammar, spelling, and punctuation pet peeves, such as misplaced modifiers, incorrect parallel construction, and the grocer’s apostrophe.
I am fiercely loyal to the Oxford comma. Also, Save the Subjunctive!
I’m not a big fan of the term “grammar Nazi.” What would a good substitution be? Grammar geek? Grammar goddess? Star of Battlestar Grammactica? “An abnormal and malfunctioning human”? But I digress.
I am also one of the approximately 17 people who still use the spelling “doughnut,” and I have no plans of stopping.
NOTE: Despite my strong feelings about certain grammar conventions, I’ll certainly follow clients’ style guides without complaint (or at least, without any complaints that can be heard outside of my brain).