I was born into a family of Nazis. Grammar Nazis that is. (I am thankfully from a German heritage which sought to defy Hitler.) We are so passionate about grammar that there is an infamous sweatshirt, which admittedly hasn't been seen for a while, that would get passed around at family gatherings. It was a hideous thing sporting terrible grammar. Make a grammatical error, and in our family, you had to wear the sweatshirt and the stigma that comes with it.
My family is full of grammar Nazis who, upon seeing incorrect grammar on a sign, will stop in front of the store, gas station, restaurant, or even, dare I say, church. The freaks in my family must inform someone that a mistake has been made. It is not unheard of for two aunts to pass the same offending sign in one day and for both to make a stop, unbeknownst to the other.
So, I guess you could say I was indoctrinated into being a grammar freak. However, there came a time when I had to decide for myself if I really did want to be a grammar Nazi. In high school, I found out it wasn't just because of my family - I really was in love with grammar!
In ninth grade, my English class was taught by a man who cared more about teaching us how to write well than giving us lessons in literature. We read some, of course, but the majority of the class focused on writing and learning how to edit. I ended up with the same teacher for my 10th grade English class, and it was more of the same. I actually remember feeling jealous that in October, other classes were reading The Scarlet Letter while we were still working on perfecting our summer writing assignments. However, I loved it. I loved it so much that my senior year, I jumped at the chance to be in his Enriched English Literature class. Perhaps they should have simply named it "Enriched English," because we did not read one piece of literature that semester. As luck would have it, I also had this teacher for the Shakespeare class I took. We read Hamlet and Twelfth Night. That's it. The rest of the time was devoted to writing.
My love of grammar was also spurred on by my Spanish classes. Sure, I love the language, being able to communicate with Spanish speakers, and learning about Hispanic culture, but I mostly love that a whole new world of grammar was opened to me!
That's how it all began years ago. Now, here I am, diving into the freelance editing business. Hopefully I can put my inner grammar freak to good use.