Don't be a "grammar snob"

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On poster

Five people talking. 

Person 1 says, "Actually..."

Person 2 says, "Speak good English!"

Person 3 says, "Don't you know..."

Person 4 says, "I think you meant..."

Person 5 says, "As an English major..."

Don't be a "grammar snob.”

"Proper" grammar is a social construct.  Next time you're about to correct someone’s grammar, consider your privilege.

Class Privilege

This is closely related to educational privilege. People from working class backgrounds are less likely to be able to afford higher education. Critiquing their English is judging their lack of opportunities that upper class people have.


Educational Privilege

Not everyone gets the chance to go to college, and not everyone wants to. Going to college may broaden your knowledge, but it doesn’t make your English “better.”


Racial Privilege

There are many dialects of English, and each has its own grammar structures. Speaking “standard” English is highly attributed to white speakers, so calling a nonstandard dialect incorrect is preferring “white” English.


Ability Privilege

Many people struggle with reading and writing difficulties, such as dyslexia and dysgraphia. Judging grammar can be a way of oppressing those who don’t have the same abilities as the general population.


Native Language Privilege

If you learn English as your first language, you’re going to both understand it better and speak it more fluently. It’s unfair to say that the English of those who are learning it as a second language is “broken” or needs to be “fixed.”

Poster size: 18 x 24 in. Based on a design from Anne Lobeck's spring 2019 ENG 438/LING 402: Language Change and Variation. Recreated by Madison Peyton.