Is Bad Grammar a Dating Dealbreaker?

WhoopsIts my first time writing a profile, but I guess I’ll give it a shot…

Your gonna laugh when I tell you this, but my favorite thing to do on Friday night’s is play Scrabble!

Their is this amazing pizza place down the street, they’re sauce is the best, and the couple who runs it: there my favorites! I go there alot!

Sure, you could put any one of these sentences in your dating profile, or you could just write “I hate puppies.” Or “The Beatles were fucking hacks.” Or “My biggest problem with George Bush was that he could only serve two terms.” If there is one thing internet daters hate, it’s a typo. In profiles, emails, texts–heck, even if you just use bad grammar in your imagination, it’ll drive someone insane. And if your error happens to involve a member of the Its/It’s, Your/You’re, or There/Their/They’re Holy Trinity, shit is gonna get crazy. Your email isn’t just getting deleted, it’s getting forwarded to me with a caption that I’m too dignified to repeat. OK. I’m not dignified at all. It will say, “Can you believe this fucking asshole?!”, and then I will be expected to respond in kind. But you know what? I’m not doing that. Because I don’t think a couple of typos is really that big of a deal.

If you Google “internet dating turnoffs,” bad grammar is always on the list. (No, don’t Google it now. You’d have to leave this site. NEVER LEAVE THIS SITE.) For a lot of people, it’s a deal breaker. And they’re unapologetic about it. If you write “its” instead of “it’s,” your ass is out the door. And honestly, I don’t get it. Now, admittedly, regular readers of this site will know that I am fond of making a typo or two. Hell, there’s typos in my book. There’s almost certainly going to be typos in this article about typos! And yes, I recognize that the irony is deliciously rich, but not so rich that I’m going to send this piece to one of my proofreaders to make sure it’s error-free. Because typos, for me, are just a thing that happens. Internet writing is about speed, it’s about getting your ideas out there quickly, so if a mistake happens here or there, such is life. So I recognize that I have a bit of a horse in this race, but truly, I don’t understand the grammar nazism. And people will happily use that term…”Oh, you know me! I’m just a Grammar Nazi!” Isn’t that kinda of a tip-off that you’re going overboard, if you gotta use the word “Nazi” to explain your behavior?! No one ever says, “Oh, you know me! I’m just a Don’t-Set-Your-Baby-On-Fire Nazi.” Because we all know we’re not supposed to set babies on fire! You don’t have to be associated with the Nazis to take that super seriously. If the name of the worst organization in the history of the world is required to explain your devotion to a cause, it might be time to consider a few changes. Right? RIGHT.

"Zere is a differenze between ze colon and ze semi-colon!"

“Zere is a differenze between ze colon and ze semi-colon!”

Now obviously, there are different levels of typos. There’s someone who misplaces a word or apostrophe here or there, and there’s people who spit out this nonsense:

So anywae, whats the deal w the last email I sen t yu?!? Did u not geti t or what? Becuz youre pretty FUCKING stuk up if you think youre to important to write me bck…Its like get of youre fucking high horse…Chickz like u are the worst!!!!…That’s why i fuckin hate internt dating….

I mean, that person has to be stopped. And there’s a lot of those persons out there. I get forwarded those emails too, and I’m more than happy to echo the righteous indignation on those badboys. I mean, that reads like something written in cutout letters from a newspaper and sent along with a severed finger. And absolutely, that is not someone you should go out with. I mean, what is that guy’s idea of a perfect first date? Getting filet o’ fish sandwiches and watching Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer with the volume turned up all the way? But that guy and the guy who says “you’re house” instead of “your house” a couple of times are totally different. One is insane, and one made a mistake. The former is not smart, the latter could be if you give ’em a shot. Does a typo suggest carelessness? It does. Does it suggest lack of attention? Sure. But do those things warrant elimination from your dating pool entirely? In my opinion, no they do not.

Essentially it comes down to a question of priorities. What’s more important to you as a dater: proofreading or chemistry? If you meet someone you find otherwise keen, does it really make sense to disqualify them based solely on a few errant key strokes? What really are you accomplishing by doing that? You have not won some great victory in the name of grammar and academia everywhere, you’ve just crossed somebody off your list. If the mistakes are chronic enough to suggest unintelligence, then by all means, let that person go on their way. But sometimes in internet dating, you can get a lot further by giving someone a second shot.

Wait. You can get a lot farther. Further? Do those mean the same thing? Oh, I don’t know anymore. Somebody tell me in the comments.

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78 Responses to Is Bad Grammar a Dating Dealbreaker?

  1. grammar says:

    “Farther” is for actual distance. “Further” is for figurative distance. Your house is farther away than mine. You have to go further in your essay to get a good grade.

    Additionally, there is at least one accidental typo in your article.

    Typos, especially in a dating profile/first impression, also suggest a lack of education and intelligence. Not just a missed keystroke. I’ll pass. I’d rather be alone than with a dummy.

    • B says:

      But don’t you think that’s being too strict? I make typos all the time, and am very well educated and, in all modesty, intelligent-rific. I don’t mean to make this about me, because it’s really not, but I genuinely don’t understand the severity of the typo stance.

      • grammar says:

        I don’t know you but no, it’s not too strict. You and I would not make a good match if you make a typo in most of your everyday writing. It would drive me crazy and I would likely resent you. Of course I realize that limits my options in the dating pool but I’d rather aim high than take what I can get. Not true for everyone but that doesn’t make it wrong.

        And if you constantly make typos it probably points to some issue: lack of education on the issue (because if you COULD you wouldn’t make an error in your blog) or a more severe concern about your reading/writing comprehension.

      • Sgt. Slaughter says:

        This seems like it’s about you. :)

    • Punctuation Nazi says:

      Because if you could, you wouldn’t…

      • suziewong says:

        there are several commas missing from @grammar’s posts….those would be warning signs for me. these varying indices of grammar umbrage suggests that grammarians ought to think twice before dismissing someone via their grammar.

        it’s all very personal and wonky. i’ve known editors who haphazardly unleash typo after typo, and get derisive about certain grammar quirks i might perpetrate myself, unwittingly. in other words, it’s a slippery slope. :)

    • Shelly says:

      The author of this article is like Einstein, compared to men on POF hahaha!
      Only in my dreams would more than 20% of profiles there be as “almost” perfect as this article.

  2. dsantos85 says:

    I love everything about this post because it’s something I’ve had issues with for a long time. I used to be a self proclaimed grammar Nazi. However, I realized that it’s obviously not working out for me if I’m still single! I had to reevaluate my Nazism.

    If it’s a little typo here and there. I need to get over it. If spelling and grammar are the only things keeping me from messaging a guy then I’m just being too picky. I need to learn how to pick my battles. HOWEVER, I totally agree with what you said “If the mistakes are chronic enough to suggest unintelligence, then by all means, let that person go…”

    Oh and I believe it’s further. You had it right the first time ;)

    • sadman says:

      Yeah! Settle!

    • dsantos85 says:

      Oh and…there’s a huge different between a typo and legitimately not knowing. A typo is usually a mistake so you know what the correct version is but you accidentally write something else. If somebody continuously uses the incorrect version of a word then they just don’t know it. And to me…it just shows me that they’re too lazy to actually learn how to use the words correctly.

      • grammar says:

        Ok. So here is a great example. I’m sure dsantos85 is a very nice person and I don’t mean to criticize her here. But she claims she used to be a Grammar Nazi and had to let that go because it obviously wasn’t working for her (of course, that statement alone is enough to cast doubt on my wanting to date her because for someone, anyone, to think that their “tough stance on grammar” is the only reason they’re still single makes me suspicious).

        But in her follow-up post she says, “there’s a huge different between a typo…”. That is a grammatical error right there. And more power to her for letting her guard down and not caring if she spells stuff right. Maybe that will land her Mr./Mrs. Right, but to me it signals that she doesn’t care about how she expresses herself. Or maybe she is typing on her phone and auto-fill screwed her. Or maybe this isn’t her first language. But… listen, online dating is about first impressions. When you use the wrong word or don’t spell words correctly you are simply going to turn a number of people who DO care about that stuff off. Just like if you smoke or don’t bathe every day. People are going to choose what turns them off and a concrete understanding and/or competent skill at our language is going to be on a lot of people’s lists. If you don’t know the word, Google it.

      • B says:

        Yes. That is a great point, Grammar. It encapsulates it perfectly. A newly minted Typo Liberal makes a typo herself. She doesn’t care, I don’t care, but you care very strongly. And I’m sure Sgt. Slaughter does as well. I think it’s totally fine for you to make your dividing lines of acceptability wherever you like. After all, you’re not looking for someone for me, or someone for DSantos, but someone for you, so they should fit your criteria. To me, in all honesty, your criteria is too strict, but again, the mistakes don’t bother me, so that’s no surprise. I strongly disagree with the notion that typos speak to intelligence, unless they’re chronic, but again, that’s no surprise. In a way, it’s similar to the Short Guys question. Some women will absolutely not date them, some have no problem with it, and each finds the other group totally unimaginable. Interesting where we draw our lines.

      • Easy A says:

        But there is a difference, Brian. Short guys WISH they could do something about their perceived “fault”. They’d do anything. You grammar-haters COULD do something about it (like learn the rules of our language) but choose NOT to because you think it’s OK and that everyone else is just being too uptight.

      • B says:

        There is yet another difference. Knowing the rules of the language perfectly well, but not finding vigilance about them to be a big priority. To some, that type of prioritization smacks of laziness or unintelligence. To others, it does not. For me, I’ll take ideas over presentation any day, but I imagine for you, poor presentation speaks to the quality of the idea. I totally understand that, I just don’t agree.

      • Easy A says:

        No, poor presentation doesn’t speak to the quality of the idea. No one said that but you. Nice try, though. It speaks to the priorities of the presenter. Or the education level or attention to standards and norms. An idea can be amazing but have good or poor presentation. And for you to attempt to set this up as an “ideas over presentation” argument smacks of you trying create a false argument for your own benefit. It’s not one OR the other. It never has been. Some of us shoot for both instead of hiding behind a “well, I’ve got great ideas so it shouldn’t matter if I can spell or proofread.” Guess what? In the business/real world it does matter.

      • B says:

        Sigh. Civil chats in the comment threads only, please. I’d love this to be a fun discussion, not an argument. But your point is taken, Easy A. Let us agree to disagree!

      • Easy A says:

        Sorry, Brian. I didn’t mean to be uncivil. I apologize if something I said offended you. P.S. – you are my favorite (by far) writer on this site.

      • B says:

        Ha ha, no worries, Easy A. Not offended at all, just like to keep it light and breezy. The short guys thread somehow got out of my control, and now people are regularly threatening to murder each other. Finally, something we can all agree on: my greatness! Of course, I’m the only writer on this site, but I’m comfortable with that level of competition.

      • dsantos85 says:

        I don’t even know how to respond to all of this lol. I just wanted to clarify that I don’t think I’m single only because of tough stance on grammar. I suppose I could have worded that a little better.

        Also, I did make a typo but I wouldn’t go as far and say I don’t care if I spell stuff right. Of course I care, it was an honest mistake.

      • dsantos85 says:

        ugh. I did it again. There should really be an edit option after you submit a comment. Correction: I don’t think I’m single only because of MY tough stance on grammar.

      • B says:

        HA! I feel your pain, D. This is now my favorite thread.

      • Miriam L says:

        I grew up with a perfect internal editor that usually still works, to the extent that when I read a book I cannot help but notice every tiniest little flaw. I certainly make typos, but when it comes to spelling and grammar I am in the 99.9th percentile.

        I used to think people were stupid if they couldn’t spell or use correct grammar, but I have come to realize what a backwards (and Nazi-like) view that was.

        All I know is my own experience, but for me, my whole brain is always swirling with words, words that even become meticulously divided into groups of 4, Rainman-style. I think this is part of the reason that spelling sticks so well for me; it is simply pattern recognition. What I’ve learned over the years is that not everyone’s brains work the same way. My current boyfriend makes typos and grammatical mistakes all the time, but he has a phenomenal vocabulary and a very high degree of intelligence. I am perfectly willing to overlook his text messaging skillz (yes it is spelled “skillz”) because I see that when it comes to math and science stuff, he is smarter than I am. He’s got an engineer’s brain, not a linguist’s brain.

        I am so glad that I no longer care about people’s grammatical errors. I still notice them as much as ever. Yes, B, I spot yours in every week’s post, and often feel I should have personally edited every book that is published, but I now understand that’s just because my brain is psycho in this particular way. I don’t want to take that out on others. :)

      • B says:

        Well isn’t that nice? Miriam, everybody!

  3. Bryana says:

    I don’t mind typos. They happen to the best of us. Poor sentence structure is really what bugs me. I don’t like having to read a profile or message 3 times just to understand what they’re saying. It makes me wonder if I’ll need a translator just to talk to them in person.

  4. Amused says:

    In a related topic, it bugs me to see a profile that is replete with SMS speak, and there is evidence that the author of said profile has a smartphone with a touch screen.

  5. Sgt. Slaughter says:

    I want this conversation to go on forever.

  6. Jonah says:

    If your ideal match is, say, a copy editor, then I think grammar aptitude is an acceptable yardstick to use. As a general measure of intelligence, however, it’s suspect. I doubt Mensa is revoking membership for occasional dropped apostrophes. ”Stephen Hawking no longer considered genius after succumbing to its/it’s snafu”. Not a headline I think we’ll be reading anytime soon. Besides, would you want to be with a person who thinks misusing their/there is a dealbreaker? Isn’t that behavior in itself kind of a dealbreaker? Do you really think the hyper-critical impulses will end there? ”What? You’re wearing socks from two different dye lots! We’re through! I get the Ming dynasty vase. You can have the dog.”

  7. Paula says:

    Idk why peeps are giving Grammar a hard time. Maybe he’s just trolling, but if he’s serious, he should definitely NOT settle. What woman in her right mind would want to be with a guy who’s going to pick apart every single thing she writes and criticize it? He needs to find someone who first has the same skillset as he does wrt to language and second employs it relentlessly. This is no different from the woman who is superbly physically fit and expects the same in a man. Why would an overweight, out of shape man try to date this chick? Even if she falls for his personality, she’ll end up unhappy. This is a huge mistake daters make. We all actually know what our top dealkillers are, but sometimes allow ourselves to feel pressured by others to “be less superficial.” Then a year or five later when you’re not attracted to your partner and someone new seems oh-so-compelling, everything is completely screwed up. Wouldn’t it have been better to go with your instincts in the first place?

  8. Reblogged this on Smooth ReEntry and commented:
    Read the comments after this article. I question whether the commentor* named “Grammar” a real poster like me that stumbled across this article? Or is she a cleverly placed mole staged for the purpose of illustrating B’s point vividly? –** It sort of has the feel of a reality TV scene that is obviously staged, yet so entertaining the viewer doesn’t care….***

    I am convinced that there is a large contingency of women who participate in internet dating under the guise of finding a match, but in reality they are truly searching for material that allows them to participate in the colossal pity party of online daters. It is almost as if they yearn for the attention and sympathy a victim would find in a support group.**** Yet the only violation they have experienced is having to (gasp!) read imperfect grammar.

    If you have ever read physician’s notes in a patient file, or emails from engineers, or a bulletin from a self-made business man, you would realize that the world is full of intelligent people who do not use perfect grammar. If you are a perfectionist and admire grammatically correct writing skills, good for you.***** But there are many times when you should focus on WHAT the writer is trying to say and not the style in which he or she presents it.

    I have tried to read “Grammar Girl” material to improve my writing skills. My foundation is so poor I can’t even understand her writing tips. For example, I honestly don’t know what a dangling participle or is******. However, just because my educational foundation is for writing is terrible (thank you public education*******), doesn’t mean the reader shouldn’t grant me the courtesy of listening to the ideas I am trying to convey.

    • B says:

      Ha ha, I am faaaaaaaar too lazy to create comment moles.

      • Miriam L says:

        That one would take an extra amount of work, too… since you’d have to make sure all your comments were perfectly edited or lose face. :P

    • Grammar says:

      I’m a nice person but I honestly had to re-read Smooth ReEntry’s post twice to understand some of the sentences. Doesn’t that bother any of the rest of you?

      >>I question whether the commentor* named “Grammar” a real poster like me that stumbled across this article?

      >>However, just because my educational foundation is for writing is terrible

      I’m not saying you can’t occasionally make a mistake. Everyone does. But honestly, comment-makers, tell me you don’t think this person is, at least in some ways, slightly less intelligent than you. If you don’t think that, I guess we just have to disagree. But for me, this is the same red flag as if someone wrote me and said, “You look hott. Lets git togther.” No thank you.

      Or, another way, think of this: two different people make two separate, professional pitches to you. You have to give one of them the job. Both presentations are equal in quality and presentation in every way, except ONE of the presenters has a whole bunch of typos and words used incorrectly. (Obviously, you didn’t spot them, you don’t care about such things but your colleague points them out to you). Are you honestly telling me you would be at a loss as to which presenter to award the job?

      Or how about this? A great test. The author of this site says he is intelligent, educated and knows the rules of our language, he just doesn’t care to prioritize them all the time. OK, here’s the bet. You write your next blog without any mistakes. No catch. You can proofread it, you can go over it, you can use the internet, dictionaries, Google, the works. You do whatever you want, just write a normal length blog and THIS time, prioritize said rules. That will show us all that you CAN do it, you just don’t care to. Then, if you DO make a mistake it shows you can’t do it. Sad. But if you CAN go mistake-free… you’ll see how great it feels to write a professional piece of writing and maybe, just maybe, you’ll strive to do that going forward.

      • I have a better challenge Ms. Grammar. I propose that you post a link to your published works on Amazon. I challenge you to let us readers compare your accomplishments to B’s. Let’s see who has sold the most books, who has the highest reader satisfaction, and who is positively impacting more lives by delivering useful knowledge in an entertaining way.

      • Miriam L says:

        But there is a problem with measuring intelligence this way. Some people who “cannot” follow all the rules properly are not that way due to a lack of education or interest but simply because their brains are not wired to be able to regurgitate structure and rules that way.

        What about someone with dyslexia who literally cannot see words and patterns in the same way that you and I can? I grew up with a friend who could NOT spell to save her life. No matter how hard she studied, she could not physically remember the patterns of words. Did that make her stupid? Not at all! There are many different kinds of intelligence, so being able to spell things and use perfect grammar, or having the highest level of education, is no longer how the world measures intelligence.

        I agree with your point about two potential job applicants, because there are professional standards, and there are also professional editing services people can use to make sure their resumes are flawless. So if someone had a real issue with this and was creating a resume, they should pursue the appropriate supports to make sure it meets professional expectations. Similarly, if I personally had a known issue with grammar and spelling, I would get a grammar-savvy friend to check my dating site profile before publishing it. So I can take your point about feeling like it’s unappealing if someone didn’t make that effort. The thing I cannot stand is your claim that this is somehow an accurate measure of “true” intelligence.

        Albert Einstein was terrible at arithmetic, and frequently had to re-do his formulas and calculations due to careless mathematical errors. Does that mean he was less intelligent than a person whose brain is wired like a perfect calculator?

      • Jesus says:

        It’s ‘wrote to me’, not ‘wrote me’. Classic American fuck up, you write the same errors you verbalise. That is not so different to one using text talk. Funny though that you care so much about proper use of the English language, but can’t actually grasp it yourself. For the record I couldn’t give a shit about grammatical errors, self confessed grammar nazis, however, are very off putting, imagine how pinickity these swines would be in other areas, ugh, perish the thought. Good luck to them though.

      • Sgt. Slaughter says:

        Yes, Jesus, it’s always nice to see people write in a grammatically correct fashion, not like the way we talk. Like this fine example:

        “For the record I couldn’t give a shit about grammatical errors, self confessed grammar nazis, however, are very off putting, imagine how pinickity these swines would be in other areas, ugh, perish the thought.”

        Good stuff. And you can almost find “pinickity” in Merriam-Webster. But I can’t criticize you because you don’t “‘give a shit about grammatical errors” so you can cast stones while remaining immune to any critique. Great job! I just feel sorry for us “swine” and “classic American fuck ups.”

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  10. As a self-admitted grammar Nazi person myself, who also has a few online dating profiles herself, I may have to rethink my strategy! Thanks for the insight.

  11. grammar says:

    I love that someone thinks I am trolling here just because I expect people to adhere to the rules of grammar and syntax. How insane and demanding of me! A high school level of understanding? Never!

    But that’s ok. I am happy to be on the side of the few commenters here who spell correctly. And I love that everyone so against me keeps making errors in their comments. Come on, guys. In your “we aren’t inferior, we know the rules, we could use them if we cared” arguments, could you at least go back and read your post once before you submit it? Additionally, the fewer “lol” and “******” on my side of the debate, the more confident I am in the battle lines which have been drawn here. Enjoy!

    • B says:

      It is hard to argue with your stance on ********’s

    • Touche’ Ms. Grammar.

      Actually, the meaning of the “******” did not carry through to this thread as my reblog comments were cut off. Apparently the reblog system is not designed for comments as wordy as mine. However, even if you did read my sarcastic footnotes you would only gain even more confidence in having me on the other side of the debate…so your point remains very valid.

      Irregardless of how affective my ****** notations is in the promotion of my side, I do appreciate the your point of view and this has also been a not unpleasing thread to participate in Ms. Grammar. ;) LOL

  12. Grammar Stickler says:

    First off, I enjoy the site. Except for your intermittent Republican bashing bullshit.

    Second, there’s a problem with the sentence, “there’s typos in this article.” I’ll assume it is your attempt to be an ironic hipster.

  13. Roy says:

    Albert Einstein was terrible at arithmetic, and frequently had to re-do his formulas and calculations due to careless mathematical errors. Does that mean he was less intelligent than a person whose brain is wired like a perfect calculator?

    I love that. This seems to be about whether or not a person’s use of bad grammar reveals anything significant about them. Significant, yes, if you are a stickler and a grammar Nazi. Not so much if you are just looking for an intelligent person you might like.

    The assumption I just made there is that not all intelligent people have the ability and/or the motivation to strive to always create perfectly constructed sentences.

    I think it’s exactly like clothes. If you need to wear a tux to the symphony, you might be uncomfortable if I sit next to you, even though, probably, we will be humming the same tune on the way out.

    • B says:

      Thank you, Roy, for making me feel better about myself. Although I prefer to symphony in the nude.

    • InDefenseOfGrammar says:

      I just stumbled upon this thread and loved it. Especially Grammar, who is, undoubtedly right in this case. But he/she seems to have quieted down so I’ll rise to his/her defense.

      I read through the comments and all Grammar has said is that bad grammar, especially in first impressions (dating profiles and emails) and published works (blogs, books and professional presentations), is a red flag for lower intelligence. Specifically, it is a red flag for him/her.

      All these other replies about how “we could use better grammar if we wanted to” is ludicrous. I apologize to the author of the site and several commenters but Grammar is right on this one. It doesn’t necessarily mean you are less intelligent, it just points to that possibility with a high correlation. Everyone makes mistakes when typing but to do so every day, or in a similar fashion every time is embarrassing. Or, it used to be, before enough people started defending the practice on the internet. Strangly, the original article was quick to point out one example of poor grammar and he (and other readers) were eager to denounce THAT example as unacceptable. So it’s clear we all agree that SOME bad grammar is reprehensible, you just become much more forgiving when it’s your bad grammar.

      Of course intelligence is measured in different ways. And of course some people are intelligent in some ways while not as intelligent in others. But that isn’t what the people here are saying. They say, repeatedly, they just aren’t diligent about the rules (which they, of course, know). That is also bologna.

      And it’s always nice to see the old “Einstein was bad at math” myth trotted out. First of all, that’s not even true. Just search that along with “myth.” Secondly, even if it was true (it is not), you prove Grammar’s point quite well when you say, “Albert Einstein was terrible at arithmetic, and frequently had to re-do his formulas and calculations due to careless mathematical errors.” You see that? He had to RE-DO his careless formulas because he wouldn’t want careless mistakes published, read by a bunch of people, nor someone he was trying to impress. He just re-did them. That’s all Grammar is asking — not that you type flawlessly every stroke, but that you take the time to check and re-do mistakes before you send them. I can’t speak for Grammar with any certainty but I’m guessing that is what he/she finds a turn-off in dating emails — the lack of knowledge combined with the lack of effort and thinking that this is acceptable behavior.

  14. Poop says:

    Irregardless is not a real word, and double negatives are frowned upon. I am a grammar nazi! Hear me roar!

    • Jane says:

      Those are the two mistakes you are going to point out from that comment?!

      Why not “affective”, “notations is” or “the your point”?

      I’m not a grammar Nazi but the more the non-grammar people talk, the more I agree with the grammar lovers. We have to be able to communicate, people.

  15. Max says:

    This is a rampant thing in the world of internet dating but has its advantages. One time against what I could tell was the heavily proofread profile of a grammar Nazi, I put some subtle grammar controversies in my message. I’m talking about subtle stuff now: split infinitive, punctuation-outside-the-quotes, ending-a-sentence-with-a-preposition, and good-instead-of-well type stuff. She couldn’t resist taking the bait and it led to a reply which led to a date.

    Now as long as your profile is clean I think some honest mistakes in messages can work for you. Absolutely perfect grammar, spelling, and structure screams “form letter.”

  16. CasualCathy says:

    Some of you so-called “grammar Nazis” sound completely rigid. Constant typos also get on my nerves, but who speaks/writes perfect English in all settings? I have done the internet dating thing and I absolutely believe in putting your best foot forward, but is this a casual getting-to-know-you setting or a job interview? I conduct myself in a professional manner when appropriate, but may also throw in a little slang/imperfect English with my social circle which is what we’re striving to extend when we try our hands at dating. Good for you for having high standards, but I could not imagine refraining from letting loose a little because I’m living in fear of someone basing the entire scope of my intelligence on a casual autobiography.

    In addition to that, you are now free to criticize my awful grammatical skills which you’ll undoubtedly criticize.

  17. S says:

    Grammar usage is not a sign of intelligence. It is, however, a sign of effort, attention to detail, and, to a lesser degree, education. On the Internet, your grammar and spelling are the equivalent of your personal hygiene in real life–it is the undercurrent of how you are perceived, and despite what people claim, it *does* affect how you are viewed, rated, categorized, and judged.

    How you choose to “wash up”–how much, how frequently, and to what degree–is entirely your business, and it does not make you a better or worse PERSON. It simply makes you more or less palatable to different people with different tolerance levels. I’ll never get a manicure, so women who want men who get regular manicures won’t be interested in me. This is not the end of the world, nor is it any sort of slam on me. It’s preference. A filtering mechanism.

    If you want to appeal to the widest variety of people, then you will clean up your act, so to speak. If you do not want to clean up your act, then the people you will attract will be people who will tolerate that, or not care about it, or whatever.

    I am not interested in dating people who don’t brush their teeth at least once a day. I am also not interested in dating people who don’t know the difference between “your” and “you’re.” And neither of these people would probably be interested in dating me, either. Fair’s fair, and it’s all good.

    • Well said S! As for me, perfect hygiene and no substance underneath doesn’t interest me. Perfect hygiene and deep substance is probably out of my league, and also a little boring. There is definitely a sweet spot for me with good hygiene, substance underneath, and a little rough around the edges. They have to be rough around the edges to go with me. Like you said, it’s personal preference!

      Again, well said!

  18. betsy says:

    I think the ideal thing to do would be to find a real grammar Nazi, and completely sweep her off her feet with perfect grammar and spelling. Plenty of late night discussions about the past participle in front of a roaring fire, followed up with *******. Continue the relationship for months, even years, and then one day go down on one knee and ask “Will you wife me?”

  19. Let one of these so called Grammar Nazi’s get through Thermodynamics and Heat Transfer, or write up a complex polynomial Mandelbrot Set. There are different kinds and levels of intelligence, and to outright deny someone is stupid, and frankly navel gazing. As if their definition of intelligence is the only one that matters.

    This just in, I won’t date anyone who can’t give me the solved Planck’s law for any black body radiation variables on the spot. BIG WORDS, COLLEGE, SMART!

    Get over yourselves, and maybe treat other people with compassion, understanding and respect. You might just meet someone great.

    • Sgt. Slaughter says:

      But that’s just the point, Lord Darkbrew. You CAN set a rule for yourself. You CAN reject anyone who can’t solve Planck’s law. And that’s totally acceptable. Of course you’ll narrow your dating pool substantially but if that’s important to you, then hold to it. And that’s what these grammar lovers are doing, as well. They just happen to be speaking sincerely when they say that basic grammar and rudimentary communication skills are important to them. Especially in a first impression.

      Obviously, I realize you were being sarcastic about Planck’s law in an attempt to prove a point but you ended up enforcing the opposite. Also, for someone who appears to want people to show compassion, you certainly seem angry and not-super-full-of-compassion when you sarcastically use ALL CAPS and tell people to “get over yourselves.” But best of luck, sincerely.

    • S says:

      Which is bigger, the earth or the sun? If your match answers, “the earth,” that’s absolutely no reason to reject them. Second graders learn the sun is bigger than the earth at the same time they learn the difference between “your” and “you’re.”

      I am compassionate for their lack of education. I understand they may have had challenges in life that prevented them from graduating to the third grade. I respect their choices and life path.

      But none of that means I want to date them.

      • tryndakai says:

        I do enjoy those more logic-based questions among the many random questions on OKCups . . . and am quietly heartbroken every time a cute guy gets one wrong . . . lol. I might still give him a chance, but it’s a mark in the “cons” column at least . . .

  20. tryndakai says:

    Ooh, heated debates about grammar! So exciting! SO nerdy . . . ;D

    The angle of this issue that I find myself contending with in the online dating world is how to advertise my level of grammar-Nazism, as it were . . . I definitely agree that one’s profile is the closest thing we virtual match-seekers can get to a visual first impression, so cleaning up your grammar is as respectful and therefore appealing as refraining from wearing the clothes you slept in last night, however comfortable they may be. (On the other hand, once I’ve known you a while, who’s to say I won’t think you’re extra cute in a more scruffy, distracted, unprepossessing state of dress? Dare I say even sexy?) ;)

    On the other hand, in the context of messages the typos are more acceptable, to a reasonable degree (and let everyone mark “reasonable” where he or she will). I might notice the typo . . . I might not. Sometimes it escapes me until someone else points the offender out. Which, by the way, is why publishing houses tend to have at least three separate proofs done on a manuscript, by three different people if at all possible. Because *no one* catches them all. Even Miriam admits to a .1% error rate. ;)

    Whatever the case, I certainly won’t bother myself over the error, unless it is one among many or, far more importantly, is accompanied by inane and uninteresting banter. That’s what really irks me. I’m in the habit of replying at least once to *everyone* who messages me, because that’s polite, and because I’m not exactly inundated with emails to begin with, so I don’t as yet have to “choose my battles.” But when three messages later you’re still amazing me with such scintillating responses as “yeah, me too. So what’s ur favorit color?” it drives me screaming up the wall. And since the only things I can put in my profile to dissuade such comers are either “please use good grammar,” or “please don’t be a vapid moron,” I figure I’ll try the more tactful approach. Though really it’s the vapidity more than the typos that I shun . . . and then I risk scaring off people who might be perfectly engaging and fun and intelligent and right up my alley, because *they* are turned off by my apparent sticklerism . . . It’s a hard life.

    First World Problems, amiright? ;)

    • Miriam L says:

      Haha! Love it! Thanks for the nod…

      • tryndakai says:

        Certainly. :D I’ve liked your comments so far, too. Clearly intelligent, without needing to go on either the offensive or the defensive about it. :)

      • Miriam L says:

        Aw shucks, ditto to you. And I totally agree with you that it’s the vapidity that really speaks of the intelligence factor. I agree with those who are saying that lots of grammatical mistakes and typos correlate with a lesser degree of education in most cases, but for me it’s the content that matters the most. Like my boyfriend – he makes lots of careless typos, including mixing up “your” and “you’re.” However, he has a much better vocabulary than a lot of guys I have dated, and I love how he will casually use nice big juicy words in texting conversations. And his mind and wit are extremely sharp, so it’s easy to overlook the dumb little errors.

  21. Punctuation Nazi says:

    To me, the issue is not whether having a high standard is good or bad, it’s that…well, if one has a high standard, one should live up to it. Mr/Ms/Mermaid Grammar (whatever) made several grammatical errors in his/hers/its post. And I am but a lowly journalist who is never allowed to print until copy edited.

  22. Myra says:

    I believe that people can have good quality things to say, even if they have poor grammar. But so many mistakes I see are just way over the top. Some man wrote he works in a “where house.” Really? You don’t even know how to spell the place you work at? Most online profiles I’ve seen are just full of mistakes, and are completely devoid of punctuation. Brilliant people can be bad spellers. But there is something called a spell check that people can use. Practice your profile in MS word, get the spelling errors down, then type your profile. I mean…GEEZ, take the time to show you are serious!

  23. Katie says:

    There’s a difference between making the occasional grammar/spelling error. It happens to everyone. We’re only human. But, when someone is just too lazy to spell correctly and use proper grammar, that’s when I go nuts.

  24. Karen says:

    I totally agree with “Grammar” and everything he said!! Why should I settle, or accept, someone in my life if they don’t care to learn the english language! Since the online dating, facebook, and other media sites, I have learned that so many people simply cannot use the correct format of a word and it drives me crazy! If someone can’t spell correctly, or use the correct verbiage in a sentence, when I meet him, he will also speak the same way!! “I seen that!”, or “What was you doing over there?”. my friends say I need to let it go. Why?

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  26. MikeP says:

    My biggest problem with the original post and some of the replies is the repeated misuse of the term “typo” itself. A typo is a typographical error. In this context, the term typo refers to simple duplication, omission, transposition, or substitution of a small number of characters caused by slips of the hand or finger during the typing process. If I meant to type the word “voice” but I typed *vocie* instead, that might be a typo. If I tried to type “you’re” but accidentally left out the apostrophe, that might be a typo. However, the grammar errors, usage errors, and most of the spelling errors mentioned in the original post and near the top of the thread are NOT typos. — Now on to the heart of the matter. I think when you create a profile, you should attempt to make a good impression like you would when writing a resumé. But since nobody’s perfect I can forgive a couple of obvious typos or small grammar/spelling mistakes. However, it’s a complete turn off if a profile is full of blatant misspellings of basic words, your/you’re or their/there/they’re errors, or I see should’ve and could’ve written out as “should of” and “could of.” It might not be the case, but to me that signifies a lack of education and/or intelligence. I know that *would* bother me about the person, so I will definitely count that as a big negative factor when I’m weighing any potential compatibility.

  27. hancocle says:

    I think that the whole concept of being a grammar Nazi is completely ridiculous, because that would, quite literally, take out every single person I talk to online. I would be a complete hypocrite if I judged people on the way they formulated their sentences online, because I have come to learn that most people are lazy. I am not a grammar master, by any means, and lord knows my spelling is atrocious (thank God for spell check). I am, however, a teacher, so things like the whole they’re/their/there conflict and your/you’re conflict is something that DOES bother me. I have often called guys on it, when using it over messages or text messages, its just one of my pet peeves I suppose.The whole it’s/its debacle doesn’t bother me as much. I guess it IS similar to any other type of pet peeve, something that is going to irk you to the bones, is something worth mentioning, or not putting up with.

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  31. amjazdan777 says:

    Grammar Nazi? I really enjoyed reading all your views. I wish I had the brain like Grammar Nazi.

  32. elizabeth says:

    I love how all the grammar Nazis are still single. Just had to point that out.

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