The Grammar Geek
Remember all those grammar, spelling, punctuation, and capitalization rules you learned in grade school? Of course you don’t. But I do, because I stay up at night reading style guides.
I’m Dave Nelsen. I’m the Grammar Geek.
Born and raised in hard-working, blue-collar Milwaukee, Wisconsin, I developed a penchant for correcting people’s language at a young age. When I was six, I was already making adults feel inferior by pointing out their double-negatives and incorrect contractions. My grandmother told me it wasn’t polite to correct people, but that didn’t stop me.
I later attended the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee, where I majored in journalism and mass communication and minored in English. While there, I worked for the campus newspaper, The UWM Post, as assistant news editor, and I was one of the founding members of the University’s second newspaper, The Leader.
After graduation, I worked for UWM for a year in various roles, including advising journalism students and teaching journalism classes in a program for middle-school students.
From there, I moved on to a not-for-profit organization, where I assumed the
role of assistant editor on the organization’s flagship monthly magazine. I also
worked on four quarterly trade journals. The subject matter—quality control—
was dry, to say the least, but it certainly proved to be great training grounds
for learning the ins and outs of copyediting. If I could take a 5,000-word white
paper written by a college professor whose first language wasn’t English and
make it into a clear, concise 2,500-word feature magazine article, I could do
After five-plus years at the magazine, I left for the glitz and glory of advertising. I wrote, copyedited, and proofread a variety of materials, including print ads, radio and television scripts, press releases, and very extensive and technical product brochures.
Then, in 2009, armed with a stack of business cards, this website, and a shelf full of style guides, I entered the world of freelancing. I’ve had the opportunity to work on a wide variety of writing, from children’s stories to masters’ theses to get-rich-quick books to cookbooks to high school curriculum. It’s been by far the most fun stage of my career, mostly because I work in my pajamas.
That’s my story. Now hire me.