Apparently Grammar Police Like Myself Are Actually Jerks

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I can’t help it – I hate when people make mistakes like confusing “you’re” with “your” or make silly typos. Now, I’m willing to let things slide in emails or texts, but if I read something online with these mistakes, it makes my skin crawl. I blame my seventh grade English teacher, Mrs. O’Brien. I guess that makes my job as an editor pretty fitting, but apparently it also makes me a bit of an asshole.

According to a recent study out of the University of Michigan, people who judge others based on their writing are typically jerks.

In their experiment, the researchers asked 83 participants to read email responses to an ad for a housemate. The responses either contained no mistakes or had been altered to include typos (like tpyos) or grammatical errors (you’re instead of your). They were then asked to rate the email writers in perceived intelligence, friendliness, and other traits.

The final stage, however, was a personality assessment on the participant.

They were asked if they noticed the errors and if so, how much they were bothered by them.

Turns out extroverted people are likely to overlook typos and grammatical errors, which is a bit surprising as they are thought to be more direct. Introverts were more likely to notice the mistakes and unfavorably judge the writer.

“In addition, less agreeable people are more sensitive to grammatical errors, while more conscientious and less open people are sensitive to typos,” according to the report.

So the next time “theirs” a mistake in “you’re” grammar, just let whoever points it out know that they’re a close-minded, less agreeable jerk. Science says so.

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