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The Moral Of The Story: Making Fun Of People Is Not Nice

If you do not spend a lot of time online, especially reading blogs, you will probably find this entry either (A) Boring or (B) Overly excited. If this is you, I apologize and suggest you ignore the entry entirely.)

Awhile ago I was alerted to a mistake I had been making repeatedly in blogging. I had been saying things like, “It didn’t even phase her…” when I should have been saying, “It didn’t even faze her.” (God, I hope I got that right this time.) Two different – very kind – people alerted me to this at the same time. Which was odd in the timing, and also a little embarrassing.

Okay, a lot embarrassing.

Once I read their information, I knew it was true. But I tell you this: At no point in typing “phase” in those instances did I actually know it was wrong. I use the wrong words a lot or spell things incorrectly when I’m typing fast and my brain is just not taking the time to re-read what I’m typing. No biggie. But this time? A total shocker.

I’m very glad they – very nicely – told me. One of them was even apologetic, like she knew it would be embarrassing and she really didn’t want to tell me. I appreciated that because..OMG…so embarrassed.

And in a similar situation, if I’m making the same obvious mistake over and over again. I want to know. If it was apparent that I didn’t know the proper spelling of something due to repeated errors, or some mistake I made over and over again. I’d want to know. Even if I was to be embarrassed by it.

BUT – there are two times I don’t want to know:

1) If it’s a periodic mistake because I’m not proofing what I write
2) If it’s a grammar concept not everyone knows or understands

That last one is going to bother some people.

Here’s the thing – I’m just as annoyed when I am reading a real article and I see someone use apostrophe’s wrong. (See what I did there? THAT’S FUNNY.) To me – that’s a simple concept we all learned a long time ago. Professionals with editors should not make those mistakes. But if they do it incorrectly on there blog (SEE? AGAIN WITH THE FUNNY.) I’m just not going to be bothered by it. In their facebok status? Nope. In an email? Nah. I just feel like the more casual the medium, the less worked up I can get about typos and proofing errors.

(Sidenote: I still want to see manners and courtesy. I completey HATE the fact that so many people email from their phone and therefore leave out courtesies like a greeting or salutation just becuase they don’t feel like typing it. I’d rather someone leave out apostrophes all together than to leave out something like, “Hey, Kim!” Or “Thanks, Frank.” I just like those courtesies in email. )

But not seeing perfect grammar or spelling on a blog or on a Facebook status? I’m fine with. And you know what? I think people who snottily critique another person’s grammar? Are just not nice.

There. I said it. NOT NICE.

I know this is personal because I’m not a grammar expert – but what do you expect me to do about it? Do you expect me to memorize some grammar rules just for my blog? I’m very intimidated by grammar and verb/tense//noun/adverb/conjunction/whatever agreement. I’m educated in many things – but grammar is not one of them. AND THIS IS DAMN OKAY. Please quit making fun of me. And please quit making fun of typos and misspelling on casual platforms. Do you see it on a Wet Seal t-shirt? THEN MOCK IT MERCILESSLY. But if it’s someone’s Facebook status, or personal blog, give them a break. Allow the periodic (or even frequent in my case) mistake that is obviously just a proofing error. These are CASUAL PLATFORMS.

(Sidenote: There is a line. TXT SPK IS ONLY OK WHEN TXTING IMHO)

And if someone (like me) is using commas incorrectly repeatedly, or never displaying proper verb/whatever agreement, please don’t make fun of me. Somehow, making fun of writers online and their incorrect grammar use became funny. And it’s starting to bug me. I would love to look at a sentence and know for a FACT that it was perfect. But I don’t know how. And when I try to examine it, or listen to edits and such, I get overwhelmed by how little I know.

BUT I KNOW A LOT OF STUFF. Just because I don’t know exact grammar rules does not make me dumb. And only grammar snobs think that. The rest of us? Don’t associate intelligence with perfect grammar. I have degrees in sciences. I work with computers and design and code. None of these educational paths led me to intense studies in grammar. It was freshman comp in 1993 and that was the LAST TIME anyone taught me anything grammar. Don’t judge me because of that.

I just like to write. I like to share my stories and my life. I write as I speak, so talking to me would probably annoy you too. (Except I have a much thicker drawl in my speech, of course. The southern accent doesn’t read well.) And if there was a Grammar For Dumbies book I might try to read it. Someday. But maybe not because I’m not sure if I care. Because, often, the people who are bothered by my crappy grammar, are also making mean-spirited jabs. Do I want to stress out about pleasing mean people? No.

Some of us just want our thoughts to be heard in an understandable fashion. Sometimes that means we forget an apostrophe or we use the wrong TO/TOO/TWO. Sometimes these errors are accidents and sometimes we actually don’t know the rules. But why is it okay to mock someone for not using punctation properly, but not okay to mock them because of their weight? If I saw people make snide comments about someone’s weight as often as I do about their grammar skills – I would not follow/read/correspond with those people any more.

It is never nice to make fun of people. PERIOD.

The two people who I mentioned earlier were perfect. They noticed a mistake that I made consistently – indicating I just didn’t know it was a mistake. They knew it was easy to explain and not a difficult grammar concept. They approached me kindly and gently. They never made fun of me. I thank them for that.

So, it’s okay if you don’t know all of the rules of grammar. I don’t either. It won’t stop me from reading you. And you’ll never hear me make fun of you. As a matter of fact? Your incorrect comma use won’t even faze me. I promise.

55 thoughts on “The Moral Of The Story: Making Fun Of People Is Not Nice”

  1. My stepmom ALWAYS does this, Facebook, texts, you name it. She is the grammar, spelling police. Drives me crazy because I have a degree in English Literature and sometimes I just forget or it’s a typo.

    I totally agree with you.

    Although I do have a friend on Facebook that cannot spell. EVER. And he doesn’t know the correct way to use grammar. EVER. So I have to ignore a lot of what he says because sometimes it gives me a headache to even try to interpret it. But that’s my deal, not his. I don’t correct him.

  2. Kim, I’m just happy that you post as frequently as you do. I love reading your blog. I’m a voracious reader, and you post almost every day, which for me is total WIN. So, I just want to say “thank you” for sharing your life with the world. Typos and such don’t faze (ha, ha) me in your writing, (not that there’s a lot of that here) because I’m always happy to see a new post from you in my feed reader.

    PS: Facebook, oh brother. I can’t say anything nice, so…

  3. Faze? Really? It seems so WRONG. I totally just googled it to see if it could possibly be true because I think this is the first time I’ve seen the word ‘faze’ at ALL. Good to know.

  4. I have an inner grammar and spelling nazi which is sometimes ironic because I would have said “Phase Her” instead of “Faze Her” as well simply because it isn’t something I usually type and my brain would have defaulted to phase. I have annoyed everyone in my family with my grammatical corrections but it just comes back to bite me in the ass when I say something incorrect and I hear, “OOOH Ms. English Major” blah, blah, blah. BTW, correct grammar doesn’t matter in comments either. I fought back the urge to submit a relatives’ Facebook status updates to Failbook the other day because they were so misspelled, I could barely make out what she was trying to say. But I didn’t so maybe I’m sometimes nice.

  5. As you might guess, I’m relieved you felt my correction was a kindly one. However, I will admit that this past summer, after reading multiple posts by multiple bloggers using certain phrases incorrectly, my facebook status was: For the record the correct phrases are your reputation precedes you, you are waiting with bated breath, and nothing fazes you.

    Suffice it to say you were not alone in the use of phase instead of faze.

  6. Yikes, I am ashamed to admit I didn’t know “faze” was a real word. I would have used phase. Like you I am educated, however, English Lit and Grammar I need to brush up on. I write as I speak, and maybe to the everyday person that is annoying; it’s who we are, not what we are.

    Making fun of someone is another form of bullying. Little snickers, snide comments, and making embarrassing comments is just NOT NICE. I seldom correct someone unless they are my employee and it’s something that has MY name on it or company issue. Blogs are personal entries that are not graded materials and mostly produced by talented, passionate individuals that want to share. If it torks someone off that someone uses bad grammar or misspells it’s really their problem, not yours.

    Great topic, cannot wait to ask my Freaky Girls what they think, you give me so much conversation material to keep our discussions interesting!

  7. Yours should have been in possession I think… Dang, now I am going to have to get a grammar book!

  8. I so agree about TXT SPK. I am a non-traditional full-time college student who graduated from high school twenty years ago. I am taking three online classes that require answering discussion questions that are set up in a chat board format. It drives me crazy to see some of the students post in text speak–no punctuation or capitalization. Thank goodness I am in upper level classes this year and the text speak is not as frequent. I think that if you are going to college you should be able to write a well thought out response that uses proper grammatical skills.

  9. Kym – These comments get emailed to me in order they were submitted but they don’t tell me if they’re in response to something and I totally thought you had come back to correct MY grammar on something. HA! I was like, “Surely that’s not what she did, let me go see. That would just be strange.” 🙂

  10. Hey, I didn’t say the URGE to make fun is mean. Sometimes you can’t control those. I’m the one with the involuntary eye-roll. 🙂

  11. I didn’t know about the phase/faze thing either (Like Kami). Oh well. Many times I have written something while at the same time wondering about whether or not it was correct.

    It is your blog and I love reading so continue on 🙂

  12. You are not alone with the phase/faze thing. I thought it was faze, but I see phase so often I started to doubt myself. It will be one of those things that is just modified by popular usage over time.

    I’m horrible with grammar, but I get really frustrated with some glaring mistakes I see. Like you said, the articles that should have people proofing and editing, WTF? But I also get really frustrated with the to/too/two, your/you’re/yore, they’re/there/their stuff. We all have typos sometimes (I’ve typed to instead of too before and wanted to kick myself), but I think in most cases people just don’t care to learn. It’s something they have to memorize, so they don’t bother.

    I guess that’s my thing – a minimum of effort. Stuff that’s accepted online soon ends up in business communications and that kind of irks me. So I just like to see people make an effort. It bothers me when people just brush it off as too hard or something stupid to worry about, because it’s how we communicate, ya know?

    (I blame my phone for any weird typos and lack of coffee for the general weirdness of this comment 😉 )

  13. I admit to submitting a bad one to Failbook, BUT the guy was running for Board of Education and it was his campaign page. I think that is a time when coherent Facebook statuses matter!

    (If he was a friend, I would have corrected. But he’s a former co-worker that I don’t think should have been running, so Failbook it was! Yes, I am evil.)

  14. It bugs me to no end to see so many people using improper grammar everywhere. I would embrace the tern “grammar Nazi,” except that I keep my thoughts to myself most of the time, because as you noted, people don’t take kindly to unsolicited criticism. But yes, I DO judge people’s intelligence by how they write. I can’t help it. If they can’t write properly, they sound stupid. Period. And if they’re a professional writer, bill themselves as a journalist, or are a teacher (i.e., someone I think should know better), then I hold them to a higher standard.

    I learned correct grammar growing up. My parents used it and politely corrected us when we were little, but I distinctly remember being taught correct grammar in elementary school, and having it repeayed in junior high and high school. So even people whose parents didn’t teach them from the get-go could have learned proper grammar if they were paying attention. Aren’t these rules taught in public school (i.e., way before college) anymore? They were when I was going to school, and if they aren’t now, it’s a shame. I don’t think “not having intense studies in grammar” (in college?) excuses one from being able to spell and write correctly. To me, it shows that either you don’t care, or you’re unable to learn “grammar school” concepts.

    I am not an English major. My degrees are science degrees, too. Whether or not you understand science, or have scientific degress, is irrelevant, imo.

    Sure, I make typos now and then, and I’m sure there are some words I don’t know how to spell (most of the time I’ll either try to find a synonym or look up the word). Nobody’s perfect. I just wish more people would stop writing about how they want to “loose” weight (what, they want to be jiggly?), or refer to their “oldest child” (when they only have two), or use apostrophes for something that is plural.

    So yes, call it a character flaw, if you will. If someone can’t or doesn’t write correctly, and bills himself as an expert in any field, I will find it difficult to give anything he writes any creedence.

    If I like the writer, and believe they might be receptive to being told of their mistakes, I might tell them privately. But I’m not going to publicly call them out, because that’s mean.

    I love you, Kim. But I’m a crazy woman who chafes at poor grammar.

  15. I would like to say that I know plenty of intelligent people who don’t speak properly, but maybe that’s because I weigh intelligence differently.

    But that’s not the point. Whatever you think about grammar, that’s fine. My point is I don’t believe it’s okay to make fun of people, period. But for some reason I’ve seen a lot of people mocking another’s speech/writing and just being mean about it. And I wanted to put it out there that – no matter what you think – I don’t ever think making fun of someone is funny. Somewhere down the line making fun of someone’s writing/speech became okay and humorous and as someone who has been on the other end of that? I just wanted to say that it’s not funny, in my opinion. No funnier than it would be to make fun of someone’s weight. Or fashion choices. I just don’t like it.

    Judge however you want – we all do that. My point of this entry was just that I don’t think it’s funny to openly mock people for not knowing the things you know. Does that make sense? I’m not saying people who judge another’s writing are mean, I’m just saying if they then link to it and post it on facebook or openly call them out somewhere making fun of their grammar, THAT is mean.

    And this is all my opinion, of course.

  16. I love this!! A few things:

    1. Yes! I think it’s nice when people make gentle corrections of consistent mistakes.
    2. Somehow I had never put it together in my head that you’d have a southern accent. This just increases my desire to hang out with you someday. (Probably will never happy, I have lots of social anxieties, too.)
    3. I love, love, love that your general point here is that it’s NEVER nice or ok to make fun of people. I really wish more people would understand and live by this. In fact, every once in awhile I’m guilty of it, too and I need to STOP.

  17. Man…I catch myself sometimes too. No one’s perfect. But I always feel like such crap later because all of my past issues with being made fun of come back and haunt me and I want to punch myself in the face.

    (Therapy, anyone? ;))

  18. Oh I GOT your point, no need to reiterate.

    But you made several points, and I was admitting that I can’t help but judge (in my mind)when I see errors I think there’s no excuse for making.

    Yes, there are “intelligent” people who don’t speak properly. They don’t SOUND intelligent, and probably are mis-judged because of it.

  19. I’m a professional copy editor, but I never think badly of the people who write the blogs that I read when they make mistakes (you included!). In fact, I barely pay attention when I’m reading for pleasure. I hate being in “correct mode” all the time. Plus, I make mistakes in email (AT MY JOB) all the time! We all do things too quickly sometimes, and it happens. Plus, even though it’s my job and I think about grammar all day long, I’m still learning new things. For example, a blogger taught me that it’s “for all intents and purposes” and not “for all intensive purposes.” There are just so many freaking things for us to know, and we learn so many of them aurally, not visually, that we’re bound to make mistakes when writing them. I agree that people shouldn’t be made fun of for these things. Although I do make an exception for George W. and Sarah Palin.

  20. Because of my job (I’m an English professor), I most definitely notice people’s writing online. But my thing is this: I get paid to correct my students’ writing; I don’t get paid to correct the writing of people on the internet. I spend enough time doing that at work!

    It doesn’t matter to me if people make small errors in their blogs or on FB — things like phase/faze (which is a very common thing), too/to/two. It doesn’t impede my reading.

    I don’t read blogs that I don’t think are written well or that I don’t think are interesting and engaging. So whether or not someone makes a typing error or a word use error, it’s not important. I read your blog because I enjoy your posts and photos!

  21. I hear what you are saying, but…it’s contradictory. You want to be corrected when YOU don’t know it’s an error and YOU don’t find it hard to understand. How can anyone else know, for sure, if those are true are not?

    There is one design blog I read regularly where she is consistently incorrect in her use of “their/they’re/there”. She is a brilliant designer and amazing photographer, and she is prolific in her work. She is an inspiration. But every-time I see “we went to they’re house”, I cringe. I just mentally change it and move on.

    A sciency-type myself, I am not a perfect writer (I love commas and parenthetical phrases more than I should), and my effort does change with the platform (I proof more on my Restaurant Review blog than my personal blog), but I am also getting more interested in doing better. I’d love to understand the rules of comma usage better because I have a feeling I abuse them. And just the other day I learned that compliment and complement are both valid words with different meanings and now I try to make sure I use the right one.

    So…I won’t crucify people who have improper grammar (esp on commonly confusing things–effect vs affect anyone?). And I don’t think people should be mocked for it. But I also think writers should put some effort into improving their communications. Because no matter how amazing someone might be, it makes them look less intelligent.

  22. I don’t think I was contradictory at all. I just said I appreciated that, but don’t like being made fun of. That’s not contradictory, is it?

    And I just think it’s up to the writer of the blog, if they don’t want to put effort into it, then people who don’t like it just won’t read it. One of my favorite writers doesn’t use capitalization and it drives me CRAZY. Sometimes I think about not reading her, but the content is so great I just over look it.

    My only point is – read or don’t read – I just don’t like it when people make fun of others. And it doesn’t sound like you do that at all. I wasn’t trying to be contradictory. I thought I was clear, but maybe my grammar makes it confusing.

  23. I would say this – sometimes grammar rules scare me. Maybe if someone sat me down with one of my entries one day and “graded” it and explained right and wrong, I might learn something, but when I’ve tried to look stuff up I just get intimidated. Math? No problem. CSS and HTML? No biggie. Comma splicing? AAAAAAHHHHHHHHH.

  24. Do you think it’s always black and white, being a professional? Is grammar always easy for someone like you to critique or are there gray areas? I think that’s what’s tough for me, sometimes I feel like I get two different lessons about grammar and I can’t always figure out the exact rules.

  25. Since I have a Masters and Bachelors in English, and I teach it to high schoolers, I feel the need to leave a comment. One of the things I teach my students is that there are different types of communicating due to the fact that we have different mediums – facebook, email, texts, formal papers, blogs, verbal, etc. We speak with incorrect grammar ALL THE TIME. Seriously. The way I teach grammar is to take all the life lessons they need to know for real life (because like you’ve EVER been asked to find the direct object of a sentence in your career field) and they are constantly shocked that what they say is different from what needs to be written. That being said, there are informal writings and blogs are one of those. One of the things they taught us in graduate school is that it is important to write – whether you write correctly or not. Every other day or so my students do journals where they are not graded on spelling, puncuation, or grammar of any kind. You don’t become a better writer by writing formal papers – you become a better writer by WRITING. Period.

    I like how you related this to making fun of someone’s weight. Nice.

    Oh, and as for commas, everyone splices the hell out of everything so don’t think you are alone in this. Shoot, I know I do it on my blog and you know why? Because I can. It’s MINE. No one is grading it.

    By the way, this book is REALLY funny and it teaches you all the grammar rules. I would love to teach this book but it uses some adult examples that I couldn’t get away with in high school.
    http://www.amazon.com/Grammar-Snobs-Are-Great-Meanies/dp/0143036831/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1296844355&sr=8-1
    There’s no kindle version, but I would gladly share my copy 🙂

  26. Yeah…the basics that are just memorization? I think that would bother me if I saw it even in casual business correspondence. Those are things that are just rules to learn. It’s the comma, semi-colon, dash usage that I go crazy about and most assuredly incorrectly. Heh.

    You know what else I’ve noticed? That people’s vocal communications are going down the crapper lately. What happened to basic respect/manners? I had a weird encounter with a grown-up teacher recently where he snottily told me I couldn’t come through the doors he was at (I wasn’t, I was just peeking in for my son) but he prefaced it with, “I love you, but…you can’t come in here.” Didn’t know that guy AT ALL. I think social networking stuff makes us way more casual with strangers when sometimes it’s just rude. I don’t want someone that casual with me unless we’ve at least been introduced, you know? It was weird.

  27. I LOVE YOU COURTNEY. That is exactly the book I need. Ordering it now.

    And seriously – if I want to indicate a pause like I would in speech, what is the grammatically correct way for me to do that; besides with a million commas? (Do you like what I did there? Threw in all three ways to indicate a pause, all incorrectly? I’m funny like that.) But seriously – is there a grammatically correct way to insert a pause JUST BECAUSE you would want to in speech? That’s what get’s me. I just want it to read on paper like it sounds in my head. ha!

  28. I actually had a “friend” (which I put in quotes because I only know her online, and even then through another online friend) send me an extremely haughty email once reprimanding me for using an abbreviation on Twitter… something akin to 2 instead of 2. For God’s sake, it’s 140 characters, and it’s TWITTER. Relax.

  29. There are some things that are pretty black and white, but so much of what challenges me in my job is deciding on the gray–and there is a lot of it. It is not always easy for me, and I spend a lot of time consulting style guides for the exact rules. Ultimately, after correcting the easy stuff, my job becomes about clarity of meaning. Is the writer getting their point across? Would making something grammatically perfect interfere with that? If so, I’ll leave it alone. Grammar is important to making something clear. Mistakes can often lead to confusion or misunderstanding. But any copy editor will tell you that you can do more harm than good with enforcing every rule. The Chicago Manual of Style has this great monthly Q&A that you can sign up for. I’m not sure if it’s available to people who don’t subscribe to the online version, but if so, it’s an easy way to get little tips each month. Can I take this opportunity to provide my own tip? So many people were taught that it is incorrect to end a sentence with a preposition. I am here to tell you that those people (and their teachers) are totally wrong. There are a million resources that will back me up on that, including CMS. People who try to rearrange their sentences to avoid ending them with a preposition usually end up with awkward sentences.

  30. I love this:

    “Mistakes can often lead to confusion or misunderstanding. But any copy editor will tell you that you can do more harm than good with enforcing every rule”

    I think that’s a valuable lesson.

    And the preposition thing? REALLY. I’ve always ignored that rule, but I at least knew it! 🙂

  31. According to Casagrande, she says, “that questions of whether to use a colon, semicolon, or dash are often just judgment calls…Dashes are flexible. They can signal an abrupt change in though or tempo of speech…Dashes are also good for setting off ideas or lists or groups within a sentence.” Really though – it’s just up to you.

    You’ll have to keep me updated on the book! I hope you like it. I think it’s SO funny! The chapter I just got that section out of is titled “Semicolonoscopy.” HAHA…but I’m a nerd.

  32. @Courtney I heard about this book “Grammar-Snobs are great meanies; thank you for the link, I am going to buy it, and not because MissZoot is buying it (LOL); I want to visit several blogs and red marker them. 😉

  33. @Zoot regarding the Yours should have been Your’s I think. I was so paranoid on my post I had to come back and edit. I would NEVER send a comment, email or note to someone online about their grammar unless they were going to send me a check and misspelled my name! I am learning on this commenting, as you stated, you get sent the responses as they come in, not as they are related to the original post. Bare with me, I am trying. ;0)

    I still think the point you hit home is; regardless of the situation, correctly politely, but please do not make fun. It’s not nice to make fun of people for any reason. Maybe I am a little sensitive on this subject. As a kid in the first grade I was called to the office while they discussed Vietnam, the teachers thought it would be better if I weren’t there so I didn’t get my feelings hurt. They thought I was Asian, (back then they called me Oriental). My Father is 100% French and my Mother is Irish/German and Italian.

    Moral to me is; it’s not nice to make fun… it could happen to them.

  34. I’m freakishly excited about the preposition thing. I always thought that made sentences sound so jumbled.

  35. That’s weird. Very weird. And not in the ‘southerners can be overly friendly sometimes’ way either.

  36. I had no idea it was faze. Oops. Makes sense, I just never thought about it.

    I am with you about 90% here, and that is why I HATE re-reading old posts of mine. I find so many typos and errors that are, of course, glaringly obvious NOW. It makes me scared to write without proofreading, and then I don’t blog at all.

    BUT. The apostrophes thing. I can’t let that go. I agree that facebook is not formal, but there are so many people on there who put an apostrophe on every word that end’s in S (ha – see what I did?). Even words that are not plural, where the S is just part of the word! I think they think it look’s fancy. It drive’s me CRAAAAAZY.

  37. I feel like I need to comment because I was discussing this on facebook the other day. I have pet peeves, I absolutely do, but unless I’m talking to a fellow grammar nerd about them it doesn’t come up in discussion.

    That is to say, I get annoyed by certain grammar fails, but that doesn’t mean I am annoyed by the person making the mistake, if that makes sense?

  38. Oh, driving you crazy? You can’t control that. There are mistakes that drive me crazy too (Probably the There/Their/They’re on, although I make it sometimes when I’m not thinking while I type) I just do my best not to THEN turn around and snark in their comments section or do a screen grab and make fun of them on a website. I probably mumble to myself, maybe commiserate with a close friend who won’t judge me (grin) but the openly mocking/making fun? Just makes me squirm.

  39. That makes PERFECT sense, actually. That’s a GREAT way to describe it. Hate the sin, not the sinner! 🙂

  40. Well, then we are 100% in agreement! Although there is one girl on Facebook (I don’t like her to begin with, she is a whiny brat) who puts two periods after every sentence. I have come close to chiming in her comments section that it’s either one or three, never two… but I know it would never make a difference anyway.. She loves her two periods..

  41. I am so stoked to know the ending with a preposition thing is baloney. My boss calls me out on that (very nicely, for the record) and I’ve never quite figured out WHY it was wrong or how to write the sentences so they sounded correct without doing so. : )

  42. It’s not contradictory to want to be corrected gently. I was just saying that your criteria for when you don’t like to be corrected are very vauge:

    1) If it’s a periodic mistake because I’m not proofing what I write
    2) If it’s a grammar concept not everyone knows or understands

    I make the “it’s” typo ALL THE TIME. And I’ve had people gently correct me because they thought I didn’t know. I do, my fingers just go faster than my brain, but there is no real way for someone else to know that.

    And what constitutes a grammar concept that not everyone knows, well, varies by who everyone is. To me, everyone should know that “weary” and “wary” are not the same word, it’s basic and simple. But it’s also very commonly confused. *shrugs*

    My point was more of that there is no good way to know if you helpful pointer is going to be received well.

    BUT, I totally agree with you that mocking is never okay. Read it, love it or hate it, and move on. Mocking people doesn’t do anyone any favors.

  43. I know I have told you about errors before, and I hope I’ve never been a big jerkface. I’m not really even sure of myself very often. (In fact, I’m quite certain there’s something iffy about that last sentence.) My best friend is a lovely person, but not particularly strong in the areas of spelling and grammar. Most of the time, I manage not to be an uptight ass, but when the writing in question is something for school or her portfolio, I will quietly let her know. (As in, I wouldn’t leave a comment on her blog saying it, but send an email instead.)
    Anyway – this is a fairly big thing for me, but I try to let most of it go, and when I do correct someone, to be as kind as possible, and retain the understanding that they are perfectly free to ignore me and my well-meaning but OCD-like corrections!
    (Also – I know you are very smart in ways which I can’t even fathom, and I promise I never, ever think you or anyone else is stupid for making a spelling or grammar error. Sometimes it makes me a little bit sad, though, when people I know are intelligent seem less so because of a silly mistake.)
    I really like G’s way of putting it, about being annoyed by the bad grammar but not the person!

  44. I have been reading my son Lemony Snickett recently. We just finished book 3, where Aunt Josephine (who is a grammar nazi) is eaten by leeches. I didn’t really feel bad for her…

    My MIL is all about correcting other people’s grammar, especially mine. Drives me crazy. I wonder if there are any leeches around her…

  45. That’s me oh dear! lol. I spell check and grammar check my friend’s statuses – I try and not to do it so I don’t embarass them and stuff but sometimes I can’t help it.

  46. To quote Geoff Nunberg ( linguist contributor to NPRs Fresh Air)

    “It’s nice to know where a semicolon is supposed to go, but it’s nothing to swell your chest over. The artistry is in being able to write sentences that require one.”

    …or as Richard Pryor counseled Eddie Murphy regarding criticism from Bill Cosby.. “Tell him to have a Coke and a Smile and shut the f*** up”

  47. I’m no grammar queen. And spelling bees aren’t my thing either. So I tend not to correct people unless it’s glaringly obvious. Especially on Facebook, where you’re likely to come off as a jerk. But sometimes I worry that FB is making some errors more prevalent. For example, I recently saw a post about a cute puppy followed by “Awe.” I was fine skipping it once. Then I saw the use of “awe” instead of “Aw or Aww” as an expression on a couple of other FB posts. Though mightily tempted, I refrained.

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