Do you find yourself correcting other people due to grammar errors? Do you come across as overly concerned about typos? It’s not ‘their’ but ‘there,’ not ‘compliment’ but ‘complement,’ or ‘you’re’ instead of ‘your.’ It may seem like an innocent gesture, in fact, you may think that you are helping them. However, do you know that science regards you and your kind as ‘JERKS’?
The University of Michigan released a study that states that the grammar cops’ or people who like correcting other people’s grammar are in fact big “jackasses.” It further goes to show that their behavior is due to a specific personality characteristic they have.
For instance, introverted people are more likely to notice and pinpoint typos and grammatical errors in comparison to extroverted individuals. In fact, some will be a little harsh on the mistakes whereas some may notice and simply choose to ignore them.
In a survey that involved 83 participants, respondents were asked to read responses to an email that focused on an advert. They were to do this on behalf of a roommate. The emails were altered to include both typos and grammar mistakes. For example, instead of “make” they put ‘amke,’ ‘its’ instead of ‘it’s,’ ‘abuot’ rather than ‘about’, ‘your’ instead of ‘you’re’ and so on.
The respondents were then asked if they saw any errors and those who said yes were required to elaborate the mistakes. It was noticed that the ones who were deeply concerned or troubled by the mistakes seemed less agreeable about it while the ones who were less concerned were more agreeable.
The researchers concluded that there was a connection between sensitivity to errors and agreeability. Individuals who are generally agreeable are not very judgmental when it comes to grammar errors. In fact, many will overlook them. However, on the other hand, the ones who are least agreeable tend to pay too much attention to the mistakes.
Agreeability forms part of the Big Five Personality Index (BFI), which is a psychological measurement. Individuals who are trusting, sympathetic, generous, and cooperative are deemed agreeable’ whereas the “non-agreeable” people are aggressive and cold.
Julie Boland, a psychology and linguistics professor and lead author of the above study, asserted that their study aimed at showing the social judgments that readers have about an author or writer. It further showed the relationship between the reader’s personality traits and how they interpreted the texts.
It was discovered that participants who were angered by grammatical errors and typos in an email were more judgmental about the e-mail’s writer.
Agreeability was the single personality attribute that chiefly affects the Housemate Scale. More agreeable participants, as per the BFI, seemed to generally rate the paragraphs more positively compared to the less-agreeable individuals. They were also less concerned about the mistakes and even though they did notice them, they were not too troubled about them.
So, next time before you start correcting someone about grammar, pause and ask yourself, is it really necessary, or am I just a real jerk.