Who was it that said punctuation marks are traffic cops in the flow of language? Was it Lynne Truss? In school I always kept my fascination with punctuation a guilty secret – it wouldn’t get me in with the cool kids, and I suspected it would keep me forever single.
Grammar, too. Like synaesthesia, I can feel a tactile difference between the need for who or whom in any sentence. Correct grammar usage shines in bright shades of gold and silver, incorrect grammar appears to me as dun and puce, and expert experimentation with grammar as a breath-taking kaleidoscope. I have the special edition of Deluxe Transitive Vampire by my bed. Always. Because "[y]ou must beckon the transitive vampire to your bedside and submit to his kisses thirstily."
And don’t even talk to me about etymology. The extent of my schooling in Latin was my grade four teacher having us chant cassio cassus I fall one sweltering Tuesday afternoon. Yet I fell into a swoon over the origins of words from which I have never fully recovered. Don Watson means more to me than Don Bradman did to my father – and that’s saying something.
So you can imagine my delight when I saw Grammar Nazis. Be warned, it contains swearing. Because some of us are that passionate about the rules of language.