Now for something completely different. Let’s talk about Grammar Police, those people who take glee in pointing out and correcting your mistakes. It could be spelling, grammar, usage, or anything. You know the type.
I don’t like Grammar Police, because they appear to be more focused on showing you that you misspelled something rather than comment about the content. Sure, I’d like to be a perfect speller, but I’ve gotten lazy, since modern operating systems now auto-correct mistakes to what it thinks is the right one. I used to check. Now I don’t.
I do try to focus on my grammar, and word usage. I was once criticized and complimented for using the Harvard comma (called the Oxford comma in non-American English speaking countries), which is a very formal way of separating a list of conjunctions. My usage style is quite formal, and I write at the college educated level (according to the Flesch reading scale), which is automatically tracked by my blogging software.
But that doesn’t mean I’m perfect. My lame excuse is that editing what I’ve already written is difficult. I already know what I’m trying to say, so I accidentally overlook some errors.
However, my intentions are to communicate an idea, and unless my writing style or spelling errors destroy the effectiveness of communicating complex and nuanced points, I don’t care all that much.
On the other hand, my personal rules about joining the ranks of Grammar Police in comments are quite simple:
- If something written is confusing, and I don’t easily comprehend what the author is communicating, I’ll ask. Sometimes people, myself included, will accidentally say “pro-vaccine” instead of “anti-vaccine,” and, of course, that can be confusing. But if I know the author, I try to be polite, and ask for clarification.
- If I want to troll truly incompetent or unscientific junk, I will point out grammar errors just to make my overall point. Yes, I can be a card-carrying member of the Grammar Police, just to mock an anti-vaccination cult member. But that’s rare, I don’t comment frequently on the internet.
Otherwise, I don’t really care. I see spelling errors and grammar mistakes all the time on blogs, in high quality well-edited newspapers, and even published books. As long as I get the point, I don’t care. Seriously, I have better things to do with my time, like counting my shill payments from Big Pharma.
On the other hand, some people really make it their (or is it there) life’s objectives. Let’s take a look at the personality of these Grammar Police individuals. Continue reading “Grammar Police – reactions to written errors”