People Who Constantly Point Out Grammatical Mistakes Are Jerks, Study Suggests

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By Mayukh Saha / Truth Theory

Are you one of those who would love to comment on someone’s English on social media, not taking into account that English might not be their first language? Well then, you are quite the jerk.

Scientists have conducted studies that suggest that people who are more into criticizing others for the way they text or write actually aren’t broad-minded and can be a contemptible person.

A research paper published in 2016, in the journal PLOS One, brings out the theory that one’s personality and characteristics can actually determine how they behave or communicate online. According to the main author, Julia Boland, from the University of Michigan, personality actually decides how you interpret language itself.

The paper was based on an experiment that saw 83 participants judging a writer based on what they were presented to read. The given material was an ad for a housemate and the subsequent emails. They were edited and controlled grammatical mistakes and typos were added, just to see what the readers saw, analyzed, observed, and believed.

These 83 people also reviewed the email based on the attributes of the sender and how applicable and suitable was the person as a housemate. These people were then asked if the typos or syntax errors bothered them.

After that, these people were subjected to a Big Five Personality Assessment– one that determined how open and agreeable and extraverted/introverted they were while communicating online. Apart from that, they were also asked about their birthday, address, and location, and also how they saw language- was it merely a tool for communication, or something more?

Once these were filled, the overall results were that the typos and spelling errors were definitely a nuisance than the ones which didn’t have those typos. But obviously, there were certain personality types that judged the typos more harshly than anything else.

Extraverts didn’t see much of a problem with the typos and let it slide. They wanted to go deeper than those superficial mistakes. But introverts did judge the applicants based on their mistakes.

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Also, people who were more conscientious, but not as open were also troubled by typos, whereas people with less agreeable personalities got offended by grammatical errors. One of the researchers wrote that this could be because people who weren’t more open found it harder to deviate from the norm.

The thing is, the entire test was simply hinged on personality. One’s education or age was not taken into account. Another problem with the research was that the sample size was small. So, we shouldn’t take it very seriously. Rather, we should wait until researchers connect the dots with larger sample sizes and come up with a proper conclusion.

The truth remains that typos and mistakes are human errors and if you judge someone’s intelligence based on that, you are a jerk. Don’t be that guy.


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