You Know You’re An English Major When…

English majors: almost everyone knows one or you are one. Here are the tell-tale signs that you or someone you know is an english major.

You are the grammar police

Correcting the grammar mistakes of others comes naturally to you now. You can’t even stop yourself from doing it anymore. You have officially become the person everyone hates for pointing out their use of who instead of whom or their lack of a comma in a run-on sentence. I’m not just talking about correcting written mistakes, you now verbally make known grammar mistakes the moment it hits your ears. 

You may have terrible grammar

It doesn’t make sense, I know, but English majors will have the roughest first drafts you will ever read. It is more like an idea notebook put in MLA format than an essay. It is in the past, present, and future tense all within the same paragraph. We know the difference between their, there, and they’re but we don’t always use them.


People think you are all knowing of all words

Everyone expects you to have the largest vocabulary in the world. Why have you not memorized the dictionary yet? Shouldn’t that be the number one requirement of being an English major? What does this word mean? I have no clue. And most English majors probably don’t know either. We do have a lot of word-a-day calendars that we’ve gotten as gifts but many go unopened or unchanged for months at a time. 

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Shakespeare, best friend or worst enemy? 

You’ve taken Shakespeare. You’ve read the sonnets and plays. You’ve analyzed the text and translated the words. You’ve debated the different sides of the characters that all had similar names. And if you are anything like me, you probably have a love-hate relationship with it. You respect him as a writer but you have no idea what any of the words on the page mean. And if you do, you spent hours being confused and totally lost until you saw the light at the end of the tunnel. But let’s admit that taking the Shakespeare 101 course was not as romantic as we expected.


You are now everyone’s personal editor  

Congratulations on your new unpaid position, it’s a life long job. You read everyone’s paper. Even the friends that aren’t English majors. You are now the official editor to everyone you know. Dad wrote an email? You’re rereading it before he sends it. Friend wrote a text while fighting with their significant other? You’re checking for typos before they hit send. The only way out of this is changing your name and moving overseas. 

A book hoarder

You buy the books with the intention of reading them but they are still left unopened. This could be due to our need to buy multiple books at one time. We can’t have just one. We need them all. Yet we read none of them because our schoolwork revolves around reading the required material for our classes and not the book with the pretty cover we just bought at the store. Maybe after we graduate we will finally catch up on the very expensive hobby that we have. 


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Books are kept in pristine condition or completely destroyed

There is no in-between. Your books are your babies and some hold a very special place in your heart, which is why they are placed in the category of not allowed to let others borrow from you. The corners are not folded, the binding is not cracked, and it is never read while being in the same room as food or drink. Other books, however, are often used as coasters for your drinks. The pages are marked up with notes and highlights. You’ve dropped in the puddle and chapter 3 is torn out but it’s fine, you still love it. 

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You live at South College

It’s your home. It’s where most of your classes and professors are, leaving us to spend most of our time there. You sit in the chairs and cram in reading for the next class or at the tables, staring at your laptop screen, waiting for the words to write themselves. It’s better than the library and the bathrooms are crowded but nice.

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You thought you’d be published by now

And come to find out, it’s a lot hard than it seems. Your masterpiece is scattered on random pieces of paper and you are coming to realize that you probably won’t be finishing it for a while. But maybe you will! If you are one of the lucky few that has been able to produce your masterpiece and get it published, I hope you know that I’m happy for you yet extremely jealous at the same time.

You hate to write

Not always, of course, because that is what you decided to do for the rest of your life. But you only love to write before you have to actually start writing. You love dreaming about writing but it is the moment you sit down, laptop or paper in front of you, that you realize you do not find this enjoyable and you have nothing to say or good ideas to put down. Happens every time. 


You get asked the question 

You know exactly which question I’m talking about. The dreaded, ‘now what kind of job are you going to get with an English degree.’ It’s laughable how often an English major will get this question. To then have the questioner follow up with, ‘probably teaching right?’ WRONG. Not that there is anything wrong with teaching, it is an extremely reasonable position but that is not the ONLY thing an English major can achieve. There is a lot of value in being able to write properly. In a world where autocorrect has taken over and people speak in abbreviations, there is a need for English majors. If you are presented with this discouraging question, you can go down the list of all the different positions such as social media, marketing, publishing, etc. But after a while, you may grow weary after getting continues confusion as to why you didn’t choose to be a doctor instead. It’s frustrating but just know, when times change, so does the required knowledge of a career but proper sentence structure, lasts forever. 

What do you think are some signs that you’re an English major? Tell us in the comments!

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