4

Grammar Nazi is usually how they describe someone who corrects other people's grammar (or spelling, or other errors).

Is there any expression that shows such a person in a positive light?

I ask because the person being corrected might actually be grateful about it and want to show this Grammar Nazi in a positive light.

For example:

John Doe is a real ____ . If he hadn't pointed out all the mistakes in my résumé , everyone would think I was a fool and I'd still be looking for a job.

I'm not looking for terms implying generic smartness. This term should specifically imply John Doe is good at English (or any other language).


EDIT: This question asks for an "alternative expression" which should be "funny, slightly reproachful, but not really offensive". It accepts the answer 'Grammar police', and other top answers include 'pedant' and 'fascist'.

I'm looking for a positive term. And those answers aren't applicable here.

  • @FumbleFingers: That OP is looking for something "funny, slightly reproachful, but not really offensive". I'm looking for something positive. Not really the same thing. (Also, I didn't see the question earlier as the title didn't have "grammar nazi") – Tushar Raj May 24 '15 at 14:34
  • 2
    How about "Grammar National Socialist"? – Hot Licks May 24 '15 at 17:19
  • 1
    @JohnLawler: No arguments there! – Tushar Raj May 24 '15 at 17:20
  • 1
    Has 'Grammar Buff' been considered? – Julie Carter May 25 '15 at 1:28
  • 1
    This is an old question, but I stumbled across it because I'm heading into a job interview for a position that involves copy-editing and wanted an answer if they ask "Are you a Grammar Nazi?" Maybe I'll say "I prefer Grammar Ninja." – Shawn V. Wilson Oct 1 '18 at 18:27
3

I'd vote for something like stickler for accuracy. In fact ODO even uses that as an example:

stickler noun
A person who insists on a certain quality or type of behaviour:
he’s a stickler for accuracy
I’m a stickler when it comes to timekeeping

  • Good choice, but I went through google book hits of the phrase. It doesn't seem like this phrase is exclusively used for accuracy in grammar/language. – Tushar Raj May 24 '15 at 14:12
  • "Accuracy" in what sense? "Accuracy in reproducing my opinions" is the usual one. – John Lawler May 24 '15 at 15:59
3

We grammar nazis refer to ourselves as "educated", "meticulous", and "amazing".

I'm assuming you're looking for an idiom; unfortunately none is in common use. I suggest the use of the word "savvy".

John Doe is really grammar savvy.

  • +1 for Grammar savvy. You might wanna add some of these example usages to add credence. – Tushar Raj May 24 '15 at 15:24
  • * sniff * That word smells distinctly like slang. I'm positive I would reprimand the use of it, both in speech and in writing. Educated is more like better, to be honest. ;) – Henrik Erlandsson Aug 7 at 19:04
1

If you wanted to peg such a person in a positive light, refer to them as a grammarian:

A person who studies and writes about grammar.

So: "John Doe is a real grammarian."

Much more flattering than Grammar Nazi.

  • 1
    Yes, but not all Grammar Nazis study grammar regularly or write about it. But they can't stand if someone writes 'your' when they mean 'you're'. Doesn't take a grammarian to know the difference. – Tushar Raj May 24 '15 at 14:24
  • @Tushar: To be meta-nazi a moment, in my experience the target demographic (those that call the educated "grammar nazis") are much more likely to write "you're" for "your". – David Pugh May 24 '15 at 15:39
  • @DavidPugh: Ah! The hypercorrection. That's even more unfortunate. – Tushar Raj May 24 '15 at 15:41
  • 1
    I'm sorry, we grammarians resent having our name taken in vain. Anyone correcting others' speech or writing without being asked to has not studied -- or at least has not learned anything about -- English grammar. Such people are simply ignorant and should be ignored, unless they become aggressive. – John Lawler May 24 '15 at 15:57
  • 1
    @JohnLawler Oh, I think anyone who would diplomatically apply the term "grammarian" to a "Grammar Nazi" would do so tongue firmly in cheek. – Gnawme May 25 '15 at 1:53

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.