Scientific Study Reveals That Those Who Point Out Grammatical Errors Are ‘Jerks’

Have you ever found yourself reading a status update and realizing that someone should have said “their,” but they used “there” instead? Maybe you are going through birth announcement and wondering why someone said that “your invited” to the baby’s homecoming party. Some do it in secret and others correct the grammar and grammatical errors of others as loud as possible, but science now states that people doing that are jerks.

A study from the University of Michigan has said that those who constantly correct grammar, or so-called “Grammar Police,” are nothing but a bunch of jerks. The study states that one’s personality influences how someone will react to errors seen on social media or in emails.

The experiment from UM checked out how both introverted and extroverted people reacted to the typos they see in emails. Once all was said and done, they learned that those who weren’t really socially-inclined ended up judging “the person who makes such errors more negatively.”

Julie Boland, a professor of linguistics and psychology at the University of Michigan, and also the lead author of the study, explained that it was used to be helpful in the relationship between social behaviors and writers.

“This is the first study to show that the personality traits of listeners/readers have an effect on the interpretation of language. In this experiment, we examined the social judgments that readers made about the writers.”

The study may have been the best way to figure out how personality influences reactions to spelling errors without causing loss of friendship or fistfights.

In all, 83 subjects were given the task of looking through email responses to an advertisement looking for a roommate. There were emails that contained no errors at all, and some that had some simplified and common errors.

Some of the more common and most-used errors included:

  • They’re, their, and there
  • Your and you’re
  • Then and than
  • Small misspellings such as “abuot” instead of “about”

Once they had read the emails, questions were given to them as to whether or not they had noticed the emails. A positive response led to the questioning continue and they were asked to give more information.

scientific study science grammar nazi grammatical error jerks
[Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images]
Mother Nature Network says that the survey revealed that anyone who was seen as “more agreeable” didn’t normally notice the typos. Those who had a personality described as “less agreeable” not only noticed the typos, but they were generally bothered by them.

In order to determine their agreeableness, The Frisky reveals that the test subjects were given personality tests based on the Big Five Index. Nowhere does the study actually call anyone “jerks,” but it’s the main assumption going around in reports of the experiment.

Some reports take things a bit further and come down on those who take to social media to point out the grammar mistakes of others. They’ll do it by Vaguebooking or even finding the most insulting meme possible and throwing it out there for all to see.

scientific study science grammar nazi grammatical error jerks police
[Image via Amanda Write Now]
In one case, it can be quite confusing to read certain status updates or captions or emails when the grammar mistakes actually make the information mean something else. Some may feel as if a simple typo or mistake could be acceptable, but the Grammar Police are always on top of that and simply not having it.

The University of Michigan study essentially tries to tell people that calling out someone publicly on their grammar mistakes is rude. Many reports have taken the study to mean that, and it seems to be the way things come across.

For the Grammar Police though, they’re insulted by the appearance of a lack of education that typos and grammar mistakes can present.

Grammar mistakes and email typos and how they are received are things that will always be a never-ending argument. Sure, the new study from the University of Michigan may have determined that the Grammar Police are “jerks,” but it’s still not going to stop them from trying to correct others.

[Photo by Giuseppe Cacace/Stringer/Getty Images]

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