The Grumpy Grammarian

Meet Me

While Autumn Tompkins (AKA The Grumpy Grammarian), the premier copy editor for copywriters, might be grumpy, but it’s not because of grammatical errors — it’s mostly because of awkward social situations like…

  • Talking like Valley Girls. So. Much. Grumpiness.
  • Getting my headphone cord caught in my wheelchair’s wheel. When will I learn to get a pair of wireless headphones?
  • Reading over my shoulder. Personal space, pah-leez!
  • Petting my head like I’m a dog. Don’t make me curse at you.
  • Responding to my text messages with “k.” Would it kill you to add an “o.”

How Did I become The Grumpy Grammarian?

I’ve led many past lives…

  • College student – majoring in fine art but earning my master’s degree in communication
  • Government employee – working for the Department of Defense but going freelance instead 
  • Business owner – starting multiple businesses including a gourmet popcorn shop

But in 2012, I discovered copywriting and copy editing, transformed into The Grumpy Grammarian, and developed espresso-strong opinions about both industries like…

Brands aren’t in business to teach grammar. They’re in business to sell.

Pedantic grammarians pound 400-year-old grammar rules into our heads with their red-pen gavels and enforce them without regard for deeper meaning. Instead of interpreting the rules based on the intent behind the rules (like being clear, concise, or compelling), these sticklers apply grammar rules literally. Even if it flagrantly violates the rule’s intent.

As Christoph Niemann says, “Be a much more ruthless editor. And a much more careless artist.”

And that’s why you, as a copywriter, need to believe in the spirit of copy editing and not the letter of copy editing. It’s your job to write powerful copy that sells your clients’ products and services. This means your copywriting should break grammar rules so it’s persuasive.

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