Many times in life, you’ll meet people who spend a lot of their time criticizing other people. These people might spend the majority of their interactions with you nitpicking details about things that you or someone else has said. Here are several words that you can refer to these people by.
The preferred terms for someone who corrects others are “censorious”, “chronic critic” and “obsessive compulsive corrector”. All three of these refer specifically to the phenomenon of constantly making criticisms, be they small or large, and convey that idea accurately. These aren’t necessarily negative terms but can often be.
Perhaps the best word you can use to describe someone who spends all of their time correcting others is “censorious”. It’s a word that immediately brings to mind the idea of someone who is making criticisms constantly, no matter if they’re fair or not.
The Cambridge Dictionary defines “censorious” as “often criticizing other people”, which displays why this is the right term to use. The word emphasizes the frequency of the criticism before anything else, which is a big factor with people who are like this.
Here are a few examples of sentences that use the word “censorious”:
- That guy is absolutely censorious, he’s always nitpicking everything that I say.
- You should probably strive to be less censorious, I don’t think it’s a very positive thing to be.
- She’s become really censorious in this last year, I don’t know how it got started.
- He’s a really censorious boss so you ought to be really careful around him.
If someone is a “chronic critic”, it means that they feel an urge to have an opinion on everything, and said opinion will probably be negative. This is a term in the field of psychology, and it’s incredibly helpful to describe people who are always correcting others.
The Cambridge Dictionary defines “chronic” as something that is “continuing for a long time”. A “chronic critic”, therefore, always keeps up their criticism for long periods of time, and is constantly making new criticisms.
These are a few example sentences of how to use “chronic critic” in a sentence:
- I really wish he’d be less of a chronic critic, it can get really exhausting.
- He thinks that I’m a chronic critic, but I happen to think my complaints are valid.
- You should avoid being a chronic critic, because people find it to be very grating.
- She’s a chronic critic so you should be prepared for that.
Though this term might seem unwieldy at first glance, “obsessive compulsive corrector” is an honest and accurate description of the ways in which many people constantly make criticisms that are not productive, and seem to be made just for the sake of criticizing something.
If someone is an “obsessive compulsive corrector”, it means that they are genuinely obsessed with making corrections to things, and it’s something that is even out of their own control.
Here are some example sentences that showcase how to use “obsessive compulsive corrector” in context:
- You have always been an obsessive compulsive corrector, but I’ve grown used to it.
- She’s an obsessive compulsive corrector so you should brace for that, at least.
- I disagree that he’s an obsessive compulsive corrector, I actually like his criticisms.
- We should all strive to be less like an obsessive compulsive corrector, I think.
“Nitpicker” is a very straightforward way to refer to someone who corrects others. After all, “nitpicker” naturally refers to someone who nitpicks, which is of course a type of criticism. This makes it a great word to refer to anyone who is always correcting others.
The Cambridge Dictionary defines “nitpicker” as “someone who finds faults in details that are not important”. Therefore, this is a great word to use for someone who is always making meaningless criticisms and nonsensical complaints.
These examples will teach you how to properly use “Nitpicker” in a sentence:
- I really think that if we want to properly work together, you have to avoid being a nitpicker.
- I’m a nitpicker, it’s just a factor of who I am, and you will have to deal with it.
- He used to be a complete nitpicker, but thankfully he has gotten a lot better about it.
- You have to understand that people don’t like nitpickers because they can be annoying.
An interesting alternative word you may use to describe someone who is always correcting others is “self-righteous”. Though it might not be your first option, someone who is “self-righteous” is really confident about their ideas, and will therefore always correct others if they consider those ideas to be worse.
The Cambridge Dictionary defines “self-righteous” as “believing that your ideas and behavior are morally better than those of other people”. If someone in fact believes this, then it makes sense that they will make constant criticisms of other people.
Here are a few example sentences that will teach you how to use “self-righteous” in a sentence:
- I wish you would be less self-righteous, it’s not at all charming but grating instead.
- I can be a little self-righteous sometimes, but I’m trying to get better about it.
- She’s really self-righteous so it’s hard for me to properly work with her because of that.
- In life you have to be less self-righteous or people just will not like you, no matter what.
When someone is a “perfectionist”, they will always strive for the highest level of quality that they can, which can sometimes have detrimental effects. Someone who is a “perfectionist” might make a lot of corrections of what they perceive as mistakes by other people.
The Cambridge Dictionary defines a “perfectionist” as “a person who wants everything to be perfect and demands the highest standards possible”. Many people who want to meet those standards will make a lot of criticisms and corrections.
These examples will showcase the proper way of using “perfectionist” in a sentence:
- He’s always criticizing the work I turn in, because he’s such a perfectionist.
- I don’t think that he’s too much of a perfectionist, but he might make a couple of corrections.
- You have got to meet him, even though he’s a huge perfectionist I really love him.
- When you’re such a perfectionist, you can get lost in your corrections and fail to improve.
If someone makes a lot of criticisms and corrections, that might be very annoying behavior for the person on the receiving end. Because of this annoying behavior, such a person could accurately be referred to as a “peever”, which makes it a good word for someone who always corrects others.
The Cambridge Dictionary defines “peeve” as a verb that means “to annoy someone”. If someone is a “peever”, this means that they are the person who annoys someone else, in this case with a lot of corrections.
Here are some sentences to get you to be familiar with the use of “peever” in conversation:
- She’s such a peever, because she always finds something wrong with my work, no matter what.
- I don’t think that you’re a peever, because most of the criticisms you make are not annoying.
- You’re a peever, but it’s behavior that I really believe you can improve from, with effort.
- We’re all peevers but it’s because our corrections are small but necessary.
A word for someone who corrects others that doesn’t exactly get a lot of use is “exacting”, which is an adjective you can use to say that someone requires a lot of special effort or attention. Therefore, working with someone who makes many corrections is an “exacting” experience.
The Cambridge Dictionary defines “exacting” as “demanding a lot of effort, care, or attention”. If someone is exacting, they will probably make a lot of corrections and criticisms of your personal work.
These are only a few example sentences that will show you how to use “exacting” in conversation:
- Working with her has been an alright experience, except for the fact that she’s so exacting.
- You’re a really exacting person to work with and it can get really tiring many times.
- I want to be less exacting this year, to make an effort to be easier to work with.
- You have to be a little less exacting if you want the team to all like you.
When someone is “hypercritical”, it means that they are a person who is significantly more critical than the average person, or than what is warranted for that particular situation. Someone “hypercritical”, therefore, will probably find many issues and make a lot of corrections of you and your work.
The Cambridge Dictionary defines “hypercritical” as “extremely critical (= too eager to find mistakes in everything)”. If someone is very eager to find mistakes in everything, they will most likely correct others quite a lot.
Here are a few examples of the way you can use “hypercritical” in different contexts:
- He’s a really nice guy, but he’s also very hypercritical and it can be hard to work with him.
- I should be less hypercritical but all of the criticisms I make are valid, I think.
- She’s very hypercritical which is why I avoid hanging out with her generally.
- You have got to be less hypercritical this upcoming semester, please.
Martin holds a Master’s degree in Finance and International Business. He has six years of experience in professional communication with clients, executives, and colleagues. Furthermore, he has teaching experience from Aarhus University. Martin has been featured as an expert in communication and teaching on Forbes and Shopify. Read more about Martin here.