People Who Point Out Grammar Mistakes Are Jerks, Study Suggests

People Who Point Out Grammar Mistakes Are Jerks, Study Suggests

New research has found that people who regularly correct people’s grammar tend to be jerks. The study, published in PLOS One, included 83 participants who all read emails from people answering a potential housemate ad that were either grammatically perfect or had been altered to include typos. From there, the participants judged the email writers based on perceived levels of intelligence, friendliness, and whether or not there would be a good housemate. The results were eye-opening.

1. It was the first study of its kind.

“This is the first study to show that the personality traits of listeners/readers have an effect on the interpretation of language,” explained lead researcher Julie Boland from the University of Michigan. The fact that personality traits have a direct effect on how one reacts to typos was interesting, but not necessarily in a good way.

2. Everyone did notice the grammar mistakes.

While all the participants rated the writers of the typo-filled emails lower than those who had a better grasp on spelling and sentence structure, it was the participants with particular personality traits that were much harsher in their assessments.

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4. Extraverts were much less judgmental.

All participants were asked at the beginning of the study to take a Big Five personality test to accurately determine how they rated on qualities like neuroticism, agreeableness, conscientiousness, and other traits. Incidentally, the extraverts were more laid-back when it came to grammar mistakes while introverts were much less accepting.

5. Those with “less agreeable” personalities really didn’t like the mistakes.

While participants who rated high in conscientiousness were a bit nicer about the grammar mistakes, those who were “less agreeable,” i.e. pretty much jerks, were really not feeling it at all and tended to be much more severe in what they thought of the writers. No surprises there!

Piper Ryan is a NYC-based writer and matchmaker who works to bring millennials who are sick of dating apps and the bar scene together in an organic and efficient way. To date, she's paired up more than 120 couples, many of whom have gone on to get married. Her work has been highlighted in The New York Times, Time Out New York, The Cut, and many more.

In addition to runnnig her own business, Piper is passionate about charity work, advocating for vulnerable women and children in her local area and across the country. She is currently working on her first book, a non-fiction collection of stories focusing on female empowerment.
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