I’m a Word Dork (Word Nerd is Catchier but I Like Dork… or at Least I Did…)

I watched the Scripps National Spelling Bee on ESPN Sunday night. Does that make me a dork? Probably, but that’s okay. The kids in that contest are amazing. They study languages and word origins and memorize words. I’ve always been a good speller. I wish I had done what they’re doing.


Grammar is another forte. One day, when I was 8 or 10 years old, my older sister asked me why I wasn’t playing on the monkey bars with the kids next door. I told her they were mad at me because I corrected their grammar. She explained that this wasn’t a good way to make friends. My response: “but they were saying it wrong”.

I no longer correct people’s grammar, although I do cringe at times, and I don’t know why it bothers me so much. When I had a young writing staff, I insisted their memos and emails be error-free. They chafed at this, and would point out errors in emails from senior-level staff, but I told them that we, as writers, are held to a higher standard.


Other challenges arise, too. I was talking with a woman recently and realized I had used a few words that she didn’t understand. (You can tell by the look on someone’s face.) That’s a conundrum. Do you explain and make them feel stupid, rephrase with smaller words and chance being condescending, or ignore the fact that they have no idea what you just said? I chose the latter.

So, yes, I’m kind of a word snob. I’m also a beer snob but that’s another post. 😊 I consider it a hazard of my trade. Just like walking through a parking garage with an engineer friend who keeps pointing out cracks in the concrete or wants to know what kind of guardrail saved my car from going into a ravine when I was hit on the Ohio Turnpike. What kind of guardrail? Really? Or going to the movies with someone who works in production or direction. They point out all the inconsistences in costume, dialog, lighting, etc.



On the other hand, my wordsmith friends and I believe we are allowed to make up words as we see fit. No one else can do it, just writers! Did I mention I used to read the dictionary for fun? Another dork-like quality.

I’ve worked with literacy councils in a couple different states and taught adults to read. I wonder if parents and teachers feel the same satisfaction I did when their kids sing the alphabet and start sounding out words and reading stories.

Words. Spelling. Grammar. Stories. Reading. Writing. They’ve drawn me in my whole life. Did I mention I also like math? I do. But words have always taken center stage.

Do you have any spelling or grammar stories to share? I’d love to hear from any other self-proclaimed word dorks.

p.s. I just googled “dork” to find the actual definition, and I’m horrified by the second definition so I hope no one else finds it.



7 Responses to I’m a Word Dork (Word Nerd is Catchier but I Like Dork… or at Least I Did…)

  1. Shelley says:

    In an effort to not look like a word idiot, I use the free Grammarly app on my computer. It doesn’t catch everything, but it does give me some funny feedback that I’d like your opinion on. I’m not a wordsmith like you, but according to the feedback from the app, I use 99% more unique words than all of the Grammarly users. That’s sad to me. What do you think? PS – the G app said this reply was all clear of errors and okay to post ;-)!


    • Haha. OK to post. That strikes me as funny for some reason. I’m not familiar with Grammarly, so I just googled it and poked around a bit. The idea that you use unique words — sounds good to me. Maybe you don’t think you use unique words? I can’t give you an informed answer because I don’t know anyone else who uses the app. Sorry. I will say, in the examples on their site, they suggest “don’t hesitate to call”. URGH…… That is one of my pet peeves – using a negative to denote a positive action?!?! Makes me crazy. I hate that phrase. How about “feel free to call”. So, because of my own bias, I don’t like that app. Unreasonable? Yeah, probably. But enough of my rambling. Good to hear from you. Hope you’re having a good day.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Shelley says:

        Thanks – glad you didn’t mind a little laugh for your day with the Grammarly OK. There would be no reason for you to look into an app to correct grammar. You should write your own one to sell! I type as fast as possible, so I’ve enjoyed using the app. I’m not a professional trained in grammar or writing – I just blog for the fun of it. And I didn’t want to be TOO embarrassed by unintended, ‘oops, dang I did it again,’ grammatical errors. Hope you have patience with me when you stop by to read. 🙂 Thank you for entertaining my question. Hope you’re having a great day too!

        Liked by 1 person

        • I hope you didn’t take my words the wrong way — I’m a big fan of spell check and grammar check and editors, etc. We all need those things, even me. Your posts are so enjoyable. And according to your grammar check, you’re unique! Take that as a compliment, from both of us!

          Liked by 1 person

          • Shelley says:

            No, I didn’t take your words the wrong way. I’m a fan of those tools as well. I wish I would’ve had them back in high school and college. The heavy dictionary and thesaurus in my backpack were a pain to carry around. The teachers played the role of editors. Some of them I loved, some I hated.
            Thank you, I appreciate your words of encouragement. It is nice to be appreciated for adding a bit of uniqueness in this world, especially in the blogosphere ;-). PS – I enjoy your posts too!


  2. I too love words, and particularly, I love English words. I am British but have lived in a French-speaking (or Bulgarian- or Spanish-speaking) part of the world for over half of my life. It’s not that I don’t love French words (or Bulgarian or Spanish) but it’s the depth of meaning I miss which I only get while using the language I learned from birth.
    There’s nothing like learning new words or new meanings for words I already know (and yes, I just looked up ‘dork’!) 😂


    • Hi. I’m happy to meet a kindred spirit. That’s so interesting how you differentiate between English, French and Spanish after living in different parts of the world. One of my closest friends is British, and moved back to England from the States a few years ago. Jumper. Dustbin. Hoover. Some of the words she uses that always make me smile. Thanks for coming by!


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