What correcting other people’s grammar really says about you

Before we start. Should it be people’s or peoples? I bet you noticed that, right?

I do.

@denise_bryson admits, “I’m such a grammar nazi that if I spell something wrong in a tweet, I have to delete it.”

Of course, Nazi is spelt with a capital N but we’ll try to be good and let that slide.

Or should we?

This is part of the dilemma of loving words, nouns, verbs, prepositions, and everything else that makes language magical.

Do we correct others when they make mistakes or let it go? Does it… depend?

I tend to correct other people grammer, sorry grammar, and their spelling too. The thing is I like to correct (or used to, if I’m totally honest) other people’s mistakes, even though know I shouldn’t. It’s like an itch you have to scratch.

If you find yourself doing the same thing, read on.

Slate has a recent article on how to stop being a grammar bully. Interesting in many ways but one of the things it overlooks – it can’t cover every angle, I guess – it when and how you can correct another’s grammar. Or should you just let it go?

From Slate: “Those who engage in public corrections of this sort often are looking to feel good about themselves, and, according to Benoît Monin, a psychology professor at Stanford University. “Another is to give myself evidence that other people’s language skills suck. So by putting down other people, I can feel better about myself.”

Here’s another example from NPR.

John Hicks-Courant from Palm Harbor, FL, wrote “NPR’s journalists routinely use the word “decimate” when they mean to denote “completely ruined or destroyed.” “Decimate” means to kill every tenth person or soldier as a means of mass punishment.

How in the world can a town or country be decimated? It can’t possibly.”

You can Read their response here.

The problem with being a grammar Nazi is:

It’s partly justified.

People make mistakes. All you’re trying to do is correct them, help them find the right word, phrase, or construction.

It’s just that the timing, when and where you correct, is often misplaced.

For example, you’ve probably seen a well-meaning any father remind his son, ‘Say John and I. Don’t say John and Me’ and then break the rule when talking to their own friends.

These days if if people don’t ask for advice, I don’t give it.

How about you?

Do you bite your tongue when others gets their grammar in a twist?

How do you correct your kids grammar or do you hope it will work itself out?

PS from @CyrisXD – When I see a Grammar Nazi that’s down in the dumps, I give them a hug and say… “There, Their, They’re.”