A recent study suggests what we’ve long suspected all along about the people who obsessively correct others’ grammar on social media platforms. The research found they aren’t as nice as the rest of us.
For the study, researchers Robin Queen and Julie Boland, from University of Michigan, asked 83 people to read email responses from an ad in the newspaper. They had been invited to point out the grammar and spelling errors and were given a rating system to give to the writer of the ad.
They were shown three types of ads: emails without errors, emails with typos, and emails with grammatical errors. In addition to reading the ads for the study, the participants were asked to complete an assessment.
The results are in.
According to Mashable, the participants were given a five-point personality index, which rated their level of sensitivity to grammar errors: not sensitive to grammar errors, those who were moderately sensitive, and those who couldn’t restrain themselves from correcting such errors as to/too and its/it’s.
The study found that how you respond to grammar errors was directly related to your personality type. If you are an introvert, you are more likely to correct someone’s grammar or typos than someone who is an extrovert. Apparently, they found those who were outgoing were much more likely to overlook the grammatical errors.
“More extroverted people were likely to overlook written errors that would cause introverted people to judge the person who makes such errors more negatively. Less agreeable people were more sensitive to grammos, while more conscientious and less open people were sensitive to typos.”
According to an expert, Gregory Guy, of the New York University of Linguistics, said the findings aren’t out of the ordinary, and exactly what he’d expect.
He explained that those who pick on grammar errors tended to be judgmental and quick to pick on others and find fault with people with differing language skills. Guy stated that this field is a relatively new area, and not much is known about it yet.
“This ideology of standardness and correctness — seeing everything that is not standard as deviant — is constantly confronting [the] linguistic reality which is of a lot of [language] diversity, so I would imagine that personality traits would correlate with language attitudes. Impressionistically, I could imagine that a more fastidious personality type would be inclined to have a more judgmental view of deviance from perceived linguistic norms.”
Many people have the false belief that if you are a writer/editor, you may be overly critical of people’s grammar errors. The study found that those who were most critical were introverts that lacked friendships in their daily lives.
“This is a relatively new field, to talk about psychological characteristics and their influence on your attitude toward language and your linguistic behavior.”
The study found that if you are an extrovert or perfectionist, you may or may not lose your cool if someone interchanges the words lose for loose.
The study admitted that it is a new field, so it is entirely possible that some of the data may not be completely “accurate.” The idea is that a perfectionist would have difficulty relating to others or accepting their grammar mistakes because, in their mind, their way is the only way. If nothing else, the study is interesting, and a great conservation piece.
Are you surprised by the fact that introverts (perfectionists) are the most critical of grammatical errors and typos? Voice your opinion about the study in the comments section below, and come back later for more news and updates.
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