Are you a serious word nerd? Here are 7 signs that give it away

12 Aug

BrainGain Magazine

BrainGain Magazine started this Word Nerd series in March 2016. Since then we’ve written about Americanisms, the secrets to writing a good sentence, to best way to insult someone, accents, and other oddities of this common language we speak.

For this edition, we thought about the series itself, and its name. We thought too about the person it was named after – that’s you, the reader. And we wondered what it is that makes a word nerd a word nerd. We wanted to write about signs which help us identify you who care so deeply about words. You, who would be interested in finding out that the credit for this widespread use of the word ‘nerd’ goes to Dr. Seuss. He wrote about, “a Nertle, a Nerd, and a Seersucker too,” in If I Ran the Zoo.

And there are signs. We’ve listed 7 of them here. If you score 7, you’re a certified Word Nerd and should, on all occasions, carry a badge to announce that. If you score between 4-6, you’re nearly a nerd and can take it further if you choose. If you score below 3, well, we’re still happy your’re here.

Here are 7 signs that you’re a nerd about words:

1) You have a favourite dictionary

It’s not just that you look up word meaning, etymologies, pronunciations – you even have a favourite dictionary. (Hat tip to good ol’ Oxford)

2) You have at least one word-game in your phone

Because words are fun; arranging them, playing with them helps you relax. We get it. We have that addiction too.

3) You know the difference between then & than, their & there, effect & affect and so on

Not only do you know the differences, but it surprises or annoys you when others don’t. You might point their errors out or purse your lips – but what matters is you know, you know.

4) Typos make you laugh and laugh. As do grammatical errors.

Not only are you the first to spot them but you actively scour the internet for those funny typo listicles. Move over adult humour, here’s funny grammar.

5) Well-spoken people instantly move into your crush zone

Guilty. It’s Tom Hiddleston for us. Him with his love of Shakespeare, his double first in Classics from Cambridge, and his turn of phrase, has us looking at him like the heart-eye emoji. (Yes, he also played Loki but that’s not entirely why).

6) You love language like cats love boxes

Not just the rules but the fun of it. You can be moved (to laughter or tears) by the way a sentence is written, you probably attempt writing yourself – even if it’s long Instagram posts or birthday cards or just your diary, and you enjoy reading – whether on kindle or paper.

7) You’ve reached the end of this blog

Yep. You’re here. You read an entire article when you could have just watched more of a YouTuber’s skincare routine, or played PUBG, or stalked the social media of that friend of a friend. You’re here. And we’re glad you are.


Hey word nerd, check out more on words here:

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