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Grammar Corrections are Douchey, Right?
August 9, 2013 4:10 PM   Subscribe

like when someone posts: "To be honest, the income difference doesn't phase us....." I wouldn't respond with "faze", right? Even if *I* like to be corrected?
posted by DMelanogaster to Etiquette/Policy at 4:10 PM (223 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite

Good ol' Faze.
posted by planetesimal at 4:12 PM on August 9, 2013 [18 favorites]


Correcting someone publicly is not usually the best way to garner their goodwill, no.
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 4:13 PM on August 9, 2013 [35 favorites]


Please don't.

If you feel you absolutely must, you can reach out to them via MeMail or social media in order to notify them of their error. If the prospect of correcting someone's grammar privately and personally makes you uncomfortable, you probably shouldn't be correcting them in front of an audience.
posted by divined by radio at 4:18 PM on August 9, 2013 [3 favorites]


Yeah, my own inner editor goes nuts sometimes too, but....if the conversation is going generally well, and it's just that one word, I'd just let it go.

Mind you, if they jump on someone ELSE'S grammar or spelling, then I give 'em both barrels. (With the understanding that I am myself a target if I also screw up because seriously.)
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:19 PM on August 9, 2013 [4 favorites]


Is this in response to something in particular?
posted by kagredon at 4:20 PM on August 9, 2013


*almost explodes in attempt to resist urge to make grammar joke about starting sentences with lowercase words*

I dunno. I feel like it is, er, 'douchey' to correct someone's grammar, but things like your example also drive me quietly nuts. I wouldn't correct someone publicly, but I'm not entirely against in general it if it's done kindly.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 4:20 PM on August 9, 2013 [6 favorites]


Free Faze!
posted by Ad hominem at 4:23 PM on August 9, 2013 [2 favorites]


Actually someone once corrected me here on phase v. faze and I felt like a dumbass. Even dumber than when I spelled soupcon as sous cent because I thought ios spell checker had my back.
posted by Ad hominem at 4:24 PM on August 9, 2013 [2 favorites]


Can you tolerate 'free reign' in place of 'free rein'? Seperate instead of separate? To in place of too? If not, you have a new hobby. Go ahead correct us, but should you risk going to meetups?
posted by Cranberry at 4:37 PM on August 9, 2013 [2 favorites]


I struggle with this only when I'm cutting and pasting part of a comment for my own comment.

If the quoted material contains something I think is an error, it's not a problem if I like what they're saying and that's clear, but if it's not clear, I worry they'll think I'm quoting that piece in particular to point up their mistake, yet if I correct it, they could think I'm mocking them.

So I basically can't cut and paste anything I think has a non-trivial error.
posted by jamjam at 4:41 PM on August 9, 2013 [6 favorites]


"To be honest, the income difference doesn't phase us....."

In that example, it's a statement of assholishness that makes any grammar/word usage/etc. error mostly irrelevant. Address what counts.
posted by oneswellfoop at 4:41 PM on August 9, 2013


(Psst, oneswellfoop, it looks like the post is referencing a comment about earning differences within a relationship, so not a case of assholishness.)
posted by kagredon at 4:45 PM on August 9, 2013


I'd just like to give you all permission for open season on my grammar, spelling, and word choice. Writing coaching for free? _Hell yes_.
posted by bfranklin at 4:51 PM on August 9, 2013 [4 favorites]


It's kind of incredible to me that anyone could think that kind of thing (correcting someone's grammar/diction) would be appropriate behavior in a good faith conversation.

Correcting their no-good, dunderheaded, dum-dum opinions, however? Have at it!
posted by Atom Eyes at 4:51 PM on August 9, 2013 [3 favorites]


IMO MeFi had far fewer misspellings back in the day. I think the biggest factor has been the advent of shitty touchscreen keyboards and autocorrect.

My bugbear: "defiantly" in lieu of "definitely". GRAR!
posted by five fresh fish at 4:53 PM on August 9, 2013 [18 favorites]


grammar corrections are generally douchey, yes, although I honestly am not sure about faze in British English. I don't think Brits use "faze", do they?
posted by GuyZero at 4:57 PM on August 9, 2013


So if you reply with the same word or phrase, you should continue to use the incorrect version, because feelings? I think people can get over themselves.
posted by Ideefixe at 5:00 PM on August 9, 2013 [2 favorites]


This isn't some oblique message to the person who used the word "phase" in his or her answer, is it? At least I sure hope it isn't.
posted by MoonOrb at 5:01 PM on August 9, 2013 [2 favorites]


Yeah, when a thread is moving or about a contentious issue, corrections like that are totally a damp squid.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 5:02 PM on August 9, 2013 [14 favorites]


Here's some wisdom from Dale Carnegie from a relevant AskMe.
posted by griphus at 5:03 PM on August 9, 2013 [8 favorites]


corrections like that are totally a damp squid

Wait - is this a call-amari-out?
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 5:06 PM on August 9, 2013 [9 favorites]


If you have to ask, it's better that you don't.
posted by bleep-blop at 5:17 PM on August 9, 2013


The only time I think correcting someone's spelling or grammar is appropriate is when an excerpt from a university application or a CV is included in an AskMe question and it contains an obvious, fixable error.
posted by avocet at 5:17 PM on August 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


Wait - is this a call-amari-out?

I think that comment was more about putting spelling and grammar on a pedal stool.
posted by Johann Georg Faust at 5:19 PM on August 9, 2013 [10 favorites]


I don't think Brits use "faze", do they?.

No, they use "fase."
posted by jjwiseman at 5:26 PM on August 9, 2013 [7 favorites]


It's kind of incredible to me that anyone could think that kind of thing (correcting someone's grammar/diction) would be appropriate behavior in a good faith conversation.

In Mefi conversations when cutting and pasting somebody's comment, I've sometimes substituted correct spellings for what were clearly typos, or words that I figured were wrongly auto"corrected." Not to slap anybody in the face for their failings, but because I thought it was so obviously what they meant to write. Somehow it felt like cutting and pasting their mistake was the douchey thing, like, drawing unnecessary attention to it.

Apologies to anybody I've offended or inadvertently made to feel belittled. Totally not my intention. In the future, I will leave typos etc alone.
posted by cybercoitus interruptus at 5:28 PM on August 9, 2013


Set your fazer to autocorrect...
posted by blaneyphoto at 5:29 PM on August 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


I don't know, Navelgazer took it pretty well when I corrected his grammatical error.
posted by UrineSoakedRube at 5:37 PM on August 9, 2013


Can you flush out your question a bit more for us? I'd literally like a straw man.
posted by humanfont at 5:38 PM on August 9, 2013 [3 favorites]


And I think that correcting spelling and/or grammatical errors is completely defensible when it might lead to confusion when the correctee or others might want to Google a certain term. The phase/faze thing isn't an example of that, but I've seen other situations where it's worthwhile to make sure that the mistake is corrected.
posted by UrineSoakedRube at 5:42 PM on August 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


This thread has been prefect so far, from the error in the opening paragraph of the OP to the groan-worthy squid joke!
posted by marienbad at 5:53 PM on August 9, 2013


Here here!

Hear hear!

Hear here!
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 5:58 PM on August 9, 2013


I am against pointing these things out. Metafilter - especially the Blue - is already intimidating to a lot of people. How many first posts have we seen where people apologise for anything they may have done wrong just by posting. Heck, I do it in Askmefi a lot because I have seen enough people jump on the poster for some weird turn of phrase they use. Correcting grammar just adds to the pressure some of us semi-lurkers feel. Especially some of us who skew below the level of education that the rest of the members seem to have.

Throw in auto-correct and not everyone having English as their prime language and it starts to just become more of a barrier to entry to enjoy the site.
posted by kanata at 6:01 PM on August 9, 2013 [7 favorites]


It is permissible to beat yourself up over grammar and typing mistakes though.
posted by cjorgensen at 6:02 PM on August 9, 2013 [2 favorites]



I'm someone who mixes up words that sound the same or similar all of the time. I also spell things wrong. I know I do this which is why when I'm writing something for publication or for something more permanent I proof read it several times and if it's really important get someone else to go over it.
When I'm writing on discussion boards this goes by the wayside quite a bit because I decide to trade timely responses to the conversation going on with a few mistakes.

I know what the proper words are. I know the difference between their, there, they're and know that no and know mean two different things.

I have a mild form of what I was told is a dyslexia type of cognition thing going on where I transpose words and numbers, especially when I'm writing quickly. Another example is that for some weird reason I mix up 7s and 2s. I see a 7 and think 7 and write 2. I am also one of those people that has problems spelling which is related.

So yeah feel free to correct me all you want if it makes you feel better. I've learned not to care or be embarrassed anymore as it has nothing to do with not knowing the correct way. My brain does what it does. :D
posted by Jalliah at 6:19 PM on August 9, 2013 [8 favorites]


You're incorrectly using the majuscule in your username. It's D. melanogaster and specist to suggest otherwise.
posted by The White Hat at 6:19 PM on August 9, 2013 [2 favorites]


I'll often delete comments that are just FTFY types of typo corrections. It's derailing and sometimes makes people feel shitty. Yay in public, boo in private.

If people make big glaring errors in their FPPs we'll sometimes correct them or ask them if they want them corrected because I know our twitchy nerds sometimes have a hard time getting past that sort of thing, but generally, yeah, picking at people's grammar/spelling isn't so great for community cohesion.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 6:40 PM on August 9, 2013


I don't think Brits use "faze", do they?

It's not a particularly British idiom in my experience, so I doubt it comes up much.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 6:42 PM on August 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


Yay in public, boo in private.

OK, this is weird to say under the circumstances, but did you mean that the other way around?
posted by Horace Rumpole at 6:47 PM on August 9, 2013 [7 favorites]


She left it in, for the twitchers.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:48 PM on August 9, 2013


Yay in public, boo in private.

OK, this is weird to say under the circumstances, but did you mean that the other way around?


I think it was meant that we cheer each other on in public, but criticisms should be given privately.
posted by kimberussell at 6:48 PM on August 9, 2013 [4 favorites]


Oh, I see, I was reading it as: this is a thing which is to be cheered (or not) when done publicly but booed (or not) when done privately.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 6:51 PM on August 9, 2013 [2 favorites]


Good ol' Faze Fonz


FTFY
posted by HuronBob at 6:55 PM on August 9, 2013


I used to want to fix grammar and especially "eggcorns" more (ugh) but now that I write on my iPad I'm more into just getting thoughts out so I figure others are same.
posted by sweetkid at 7:00 PM on August 9, 2013


I'm not sure I want to be lumped in with the twitchers. (nsfw or small children)... in never ends well, never.....
posted by HuronBob at 7:03 PM on August 9, 2013


It's fine, as long as you preface each correction with "I MUST BEG YOUR PARDON, O KING OF THE FOOLS, BUT YOU WILL LITERALLY, PHYSICALLY DIE UNLESS I INFORM YOU OF YOUR GRAMMATICAL INCOMPETENCE! LISTEN WELL TO MY WISE-CHEEPINGS! OPEN WIDE YOUR EAR-ANUSES, TO ACCEPT MY SUPPOSITORIES OF LANGUAGE-KNOWINGS!"
posted by Sticherbeast at 7:09 PM on August 9, 2013 [9 favorites]


I corrected another user's word choice just the other day, and though I tried to do it gently I felt bad as soon as I hit post. I should have used memail, and I instantly regretted my mistake. I'm sure it embarrassed the person I corrected and made me look bad in the eyes of other users.

This post is definitely making me feel worse about what I did, but I'm close enough to rock bottom that feeling worse can't amount to much. I am a shitty person.

I have nowhere to go but up.
posted by Ice Cream Socialist at 7:13 PM on August 9, 2013


Previously.
posted by audi alteram partem at 7:19 PM on August 9, 2013


Please don't ever do it to me. Additionally:

you can reach out to them via MeMail or social media in order to notify them of their error

Double please don't do this. I once made a jokingly hyperbolic comment on Ask.me in response to a question (my answer was sincere, but the hyperbole was a joke). Not one, but like I think three maybe four different mefites were unable to resist privately memailing something along the lines of "Haha, funny comment! FYI you probably don't know, but one of those hyperbolic metaphors you used wouldn't actually work because of X, Y, Z."

It was a real wtf moment for me, that not only more than one person was so obsessed with correcting minor errors that they felt compelled to reach out, but that they assumed my metaphor-abuse was unintentional and not just part of a jokey moment, and that they needed to school me on it.

Those memails captured a unique cocktail of pedantry, condescension, obliviousness and lack of humour.

I get it; my professional job is working on internal communications, but going around correcting people, especially people you don't know, especially in non-professional setting, just makes you look like silly.
posted by smoke at 7:27 PM on August 9, 2013 [7 favorites]


I think it was meant that we cheer each other on in public, but criticisms should be given privately.

Yes, that. I was possibly too glib.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 7:38 PM on August 9, 2013


The saddest example of this for me was this question of mine, in which I was at the worst of my at the time untreated anxiety and depression.

A few people were like "ok, relax, take a break when you proofread" but a lot of people lectured me about my "bad grammar" ( I posted DON"T like that, with double quote, because that's what happens when you are scared and anxious and holding down the caps key when typing "don't.") and got a bunch of comments about how shit I am at grammar because of the double quote.

It was really one of my lowest moments ever and people were snarking about how I needed a copy of Strunk and White, When I reread my own frantic comments and compared it to reality and what was going on in my life at large, I realized I needed therapy and started on that road. But no thanks to those jerks in that thread.
posted by sweetkid at 7:43 PM on August 9, 2013 [39 favorites]


> I feel like it is, er, 'douchey' to correct someone's grammar,

douché
posted by jfuller at 7:43 PM on August 9, 2013 [8 favorites]


I don't care what any reddit dongtards say, Anna Gunn is just great as Skyler White.
posted by planetesimal at 7:57 PM on August 9, 2013


The need to do this in public, I think, is more often done by those that have something to prove (namely, that they are good at grammar). It doesn't really serve a public good, but is a disguise for showing off.

This isn't always true, of course, but here's a test: would someone be just as content sending a private correction as having a public discussion? If not, then the motives are wrong, so don't do it. If yes, then (if it really needs to be done) send the private message. In either case, public correction always loses.
posted by SpacemanStix at 8:04 PM on August 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


all y'all grammer natzis needs to rain yourself in and understand that the content and ideas of a comment r more important than the syntax.
posted by double block and bleed at 8:07 PM on August 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


>Here's some wisdom from Dale Carnegie from a relevant AskMe:

The raconteur mentioned that the quotation was from the Bible. He was wrong. I knew that, I knew it positively. There couldn't be the slightest doubt about it. And so, to get a feeling of importance and display my superiority, I appointed myself as an unsolicited and unwelcome committee of one to correct him. He stuck to his guns. What? From Shakespeare? Impossible! Absurd! That quotation was from the Bible. And he knew it.

The storyteller was sitting on my right; and Frank Gammond, an old friend of mine, was seated at my left. Mr. Gammond had devoted years to the study of Shakespeare, So the storyteller and I agreed to submit the question to Mr. Gammond. Mr. Gammond listened, kicked me under the table, and then said: "Dale, you are wrong. The gentleman is right. It is from the Bible."


"And then I pulled out my iphone and did a quick google search for the quote in question and put an end to all of that nonsense."

Just kidding. That's a great story, and some very sound advice.
posted by SpacemanStix at 8:14 PM on August 9, 2013 [3 favorites]


Okay, this isn't really grammar, but I'm going to piggyback on the topic...could everyone go back to saying 'contact' instead of 'reach out to'? Maybe even just for one day? Pleasepleaseplease?

*runs*
posted by Salamander at 8:51 PM on August 9, 2013 [8 favorites]


It’s annoying to be corrected about something about your thought or your argument that is unrelated to the content of your thought or your argument.

Also, it is smug, classist, and unhelpful to publicly humiliate the illiterate. This is what makes the privileged white male commentary on the Your Grammar Sucks youtube channel offensive. Let’s leave that shit out of Metafilter. Things like that are not nice, not friendly, and do not build community.
posted by oceanjesse at 8:53 PM on August 9, 2013 [15 favorites]


Also, it is smug, classist, and unhelpful to publicly humiliate the illiterate. This is what makes the privileged white male commentary on the Your Grammar Sucks youtube channel offensive. Let’s leave that shit out of Metafilter. Things like that are not nice, not friendly, and do not build community.

I mean, I agree with your point in principle, but I don't think that's really what's going on here. I think by and large, MeFi users are relatively highly-educated, and that the errors people are discussing here are mostly the minor brain-farts that even people who have the benefits of education and English as a first language occasionally run into.
posted by kagredon at 8:59 PM on August 9, 2013 [2 favorites]


Although, another thing that people often don't consider when correcting these kinds of things are learning/visual/cognitive disabilities, though I've found people who do have disabilities that interfere with language seem to also vary considerably in how they feel about being corrected (some people don't care one way or another, some people actively encourage it, some people experience anxiety or upset as a result and would probably prefer you don't, etc.) as the general population.

I don't know. On the one hand, I don't really care that much about corrections directed at me, on the other hand, I don't know that it necessarily adds that much to a conversation. In my case, my main brain fart takes the form of transposing numbers and not noticing, which is a thing that tends to obscure meaning, so feel free to correct me on that anytime.
posted by kagredon at 9:04 PM on August 9, 2013


I don't mind when people address my main point and then in smalltext point out a typo or malapropism. To me that just seems editor-y, not mean; people seem like they're being picky or pedantic (or mean) when they address ONLY the errors. But I spent some years working on a newspaper, so I don't mind being edited ... and I know other people do mind. If the post is clear enough to understand and the error is not hilariously funny (because those deserve highlighting for humor value), I try to skip over it myself and squish my inner editor. Half the time it's an autocorrect error anyway.

But nobody should say "mute point" ever. Ever. It's MOOT. MOOOOOOOOOOT.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 9:07 PM on August 9, 2013 [4 favorites]


Once in a question from a person who wanted to know how to keep peaches from going bad so fast in a 'small, darkish room just off the kitchen', I began my answer by quoting that phrase and writing 'aka the pantry' because he was obviously very sophisticated, and I thought he thought we might not be quite sure what a pantry was and that it was wiser to spell it out for us, which I saw as a little condescending, and also because it was a very nice compact description of a pantry that made me realize that light was excluded by design to prevent greening and sprouting and so on, which had never occurred to me before.

When he came back into the thread, he mentioned that English was a second language, and seemed a bit put off by my pedantry-- as well he might have been.

I didn't try to explain myself and apologize, though perhaps I should've.
posted by jamjam at 9:17 PM on August 9, 2013


I have one huge, twitchy cannot-help-myself-it-must-be-corrected pet peeve. Which I've seen and spoken up about a couple of times.

Sorry.

But yeah, even knowing that it could possibly sound bad, I'll no doubt do it again.

If it were me, I'd rather be corrected than keep making the mistake.
posted by zarq at 9:19 PM on August 9, 2013 [2 favorites]


EAR-ANUSES

QFT
posted by domnit at 9:24 PM on August 9, 2013


I really hate when people write "weary" when they mean "leery."
posted by apricot at 9:41 PM on August 9, 2013 [3 favorites]


I always assumed they mean "wary," but same difference, I guess.
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 9:44 PM on August 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


Yeah, the weary/wary thing makes me crazy. It seems to be relatively new, too. The other night we saw a broadcaster say the word "weary" in place of wary. ::sigh::
posted by oneirodynia at 9:47 PM on August 9, 2013 [2 favorites]


But nobody should say "mute point" ever. Ever. It's MOOT. MOOOOOOOOOOT.

Is moo point out, too?
posted by SpacemanStix at 9:50 PM on August 9, 2013 [7 favorites]


Grammar and spelling mistakes make my teeth itch. I have to remind myself that I am not a teacher any more, and assume that people are merely typing on their phones.
posted by MissySedai at 9:55 PM on August 9, 2013 [2 favorites]


I used to be a lot more grammar nazesque about things like this, but like a lot of these online clashes, I just can't care anymore. (I'm also doing my darndest to rid myself of my worst snarkishness, but that's another battle.) There is absolutely no point to it.

You're certainly not going to make the commenter feel better, and the rest of the discussion group now likely thinks you're an asshole.

You are never going to stanch the torrent of grammatical and spelling mistakes in the world, and since you are not an English teacher in a classroom, it isn't your place to do it.

If you're quoting somebody else, just leave their mistakes be. There's no need for smarmy [sic]s or other mention. Make sure your comment is correct, and you needn't bother with anything else.

If it is an egregious enough mistake that you genuinely want to make sure the commenter is clear that they aren't saying what they think they are (I can't think of a purely English example at the moment, but false friends like embarazada in Spanish come to mind), a private message is more than sufficient.

You get no gold stars or other meaningless points for being right. Other people shouldn't be subjected to abuse because you have a compulsion.

Wheaton's Law covers it, really. Grammar Nazis aren't referred to as Nazis because it's a nice, friendly, or clever thing to do. DBAD.
posted by Celsius1414 at 10:07 PM on August 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


I am on a tablet, have crap eyesight and a medical condition. I try to proofread, etc. I am still mortified at the gibberish that sometimes gets through. But, in most cases, telling me what I did wrong would be a waste of your time. I usually know better. I sometimes just can't get it to come out right due to technical difficulties and physical issues. (I am also becoming moderately dyslexic with age. And I grew up in a bilingual home, so I do have a few writing quirks rooted in writing Germish. Sigh.)

On the other hand, if someone genuinely is just baffled by said gibberish and honestly wants to know wtf I was trying to say, I would be happy to clarify.

I used to campaign against the Grammar Nazis elsewhere. I think it depends a lot on how it is done but most of the time, people nitpicking this stuff are, in fact, being jerks.
posted by Michele in California at 10:15 PM on August 9, 2013 [2 favorites]


SpacemanStix: "Is moo point out, too?"

Cows meeting to discuss grazing conditions may have moo points. That is acceptable.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 10:39 PM on August 9, 2013 [5 favorites]


Clearly, mute points are those made without words.

This whole discussion brings me back to checking out library books with grammar corrections written in, and the occasional penciled diatribe disagreeing with the author. Ah, library books.
posted by yohko at 11:09 PM on August 9, 2013


I used to campaign against the Grammar Nazis elsewhere.

Oh noes! We have fallen into their trap!
posted by yohko at 11:12 PM on August 9, 2013


You know, if we are gonna restrict the edit window JUST to typos...we might as well make it accessible for other peoples' posts. Crowdsource the proofreading!

Irregardless, I don't mind corrections because they help me right better. It just stinks when someone trys to leverage it in an argument as if making a mistake means you don't ultimatly have your facts straight. Usually that isn't how people do it around here, so I dont see it as a big deal.
posted by Drinky Die at 11:17 PM on August 9, 2013 [4 favorites]


I can't find it now but someone once corrected my spelling on a single word in a comment and then I went on to point out several other errors in the same comment. It was hilarious at the time; in my head at least.

Eyebrows McGee: "Cows meeting to discuss grazing conditions may have moo points. That is acceptable."

No a moo point is the same as a cow's opinion; it just doesn't matter.
posted by Mitheral at 11:20 PM on August 9, 2013 [5 favorites]


Irregardless

*twitch*

You got me.
posted by Literaryhero at 11:40 PM on August 9, 2013 [2 favorites]


You know, if we are gonna restrict the edit window JUST to typos...we might as well make it accessible for other peoples' posts. Crowdsource the proofreading!


Nuh-uh. It would lead to open warfare between the prescriptive and descriptive grammarians, and god save us if a hyphen Nazi lurks among us.

I'm against public and private grammar callouts--seems to me a better policy overall even if there are people who don't mind being corrected. Such callouts don't add to the debate, and nobody's ever died from wincing delicately at other people's grammar mistakes and misspellings. If the occasional mistake here is that bothersome, boy, do I have an internet to show you.
posted by peripathetic at 11:44 PM on August 9, 2013 [2 favorites]


Another gear-grinder, especially when I'm reading technical documents: "utilize the hammer to drive the nail". Grar! That's the ordinary use for a hammer! "Utilize the hammer to pop open the beer", sure. That works. And then use the hammer to drive nails.
posted by five fresh fish at 12:20 AM on August 10, 2013


Correct grammar by setting a good example.
posted by pracowity at 12:36 AM on August 10, 2013 [3 favorites]


grammar.metafilter.com
posted by yohko at 1:01 AM on August 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


Correct me all you want. I could probably use the help. But know that as you do, I'm imagining you in stilettos, fishnets, pancake makeup and really minimal, tight leather...
posted by paulsc at 1:04 AM on August 10, 2013 [2 favorites]


If it's important enough to correct my friends, which is basically only when I know for sure that their chronic misstatement is causing others to have a lower than superlative opinion of them, I will hesitantly say so in private, quickly, with an emphasis on the validity of what they are actually trying to say and as little as possible on any error. If I understand what they meant, and everyone else seems to also, their language has served language's purpose, and correcting them can only undermine them.
posted by Errant at 1:17 AM on August 10, 2013


Some of the smartest people on this site can't or won't grammar it up for shit.

Some of the most insipid people on the Internet, meanwhile, are extraordinarily precise grammatically, know a ton of long words which they can place unnervingly into the exact parts of a sentence where words should go, and will tell you, should you inquire, that an impressive use of language is the product of an impressive mind.

If you know what somebody means, you don't need to point out whatever insignificant flaws their message might have. The exception is if you're somehow invested in their coming off as respectable, and that exception only exists so we can mock friends and loved ones willy-nilly about their poor spelling.
posted by Rory Marinich at 1:37 AM on August 10, 2013 [4 favorites]


I remember correcting spelling once. The word in question would have been important for searching for more information, and an incorrect spelling would have prevented that.

I do worry that having incorrect spellings of things out on the net, perpetually uncorrected, means that a) it will be more difficult for people to find information by searching for specific words in the future, and b) people will start coming to think of a variety of spellings as "normal" (Alice and 1 billion people will think it's spelling 1, Bob and 1.2 billion people will think it's spelling 2, etc.), and this increasing linguistic entropy will make communication, particularly written communication, that much more difficult in the future.
posted by amtho at 1:40 AM on August 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


I don't think calling out grammar and spelling clangers makes much sense on MetaFilter - we're having a nice wee chat, not writing essays for publication. I'm sure I've done it in the past, of course.

I really struggle to avoid correcting the insanely fucking annoying US English redefinition of 'anymore' to mean 'nowadays', though.

It's even worse than saying you could care less when you mean you couldn't care less!

(I know Northern Irish people have been doing the positive anymore thing since forever, but for some reason it seems right when they do it and nails-on-a-blackboard horrifying in any of the other Englishes.)

I honestly am not sure about faze in British English. I don't think Brits use "faze", do they?

We do, but because its modern usage is a US import and 'faze' looks very American because of the 'z', you see 'phase' a lot, maybe more than 'faze', even in newspapers that should know better (and the Grauniad). In Middle English it was 'veze', then it was 'feeze' for a long time - Americans were spelling it like that up to the 1920s - but Shakespeare preferred 'pheese'.

Most folk in the UK would say 'phase' is wrong, I think, but there's always been lots of lovely ways to spell the word.
posted by jack_mo at 1:48 AM on August 10, 2013 [3 favorites]


I doubt that an internet stranger is in a great position to figure out whether any particular instance of bad spelling/grammar:

a) was just a typo/cognitive misfire made by someone who does otherwise know their spelling and grammar OR

b) was made by someone who doesn't know any better but doesn't care OR

c) was made by someone who doesn't know any better and would like to learn.

You can argue that correcting mistakes will help all the readers, but really, it's going to feel personal to the person being corrected. Only in the case of c) would calling out errors would be helpful, and even then it's better to do it privately. So I say leave it alone.
posted by pianissimo at 2:22 AM on August 10, 2013


I've corrected spelling errors while quoting because otherwise I would have been compelled to add [sic] which is too obnoxious even for my extreme correctasaurus tendencies.
posted by aubilenon at 2:43 AM on August 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


I was once corrected by a senior colleague at a lunch with a visiting speaker about my grammar. Thing is, despite the fact that he'd lived in Ireland for years, he'd been mispronouncing Irish place names since I'd met him, something on which I'd never corrected him on because I thought it would be rude (neither of us is currently in Ireland). Five minutes later he mangled the name of a rather large Irish port which he was saying he'd driven through every couple of months; my restraint in correcting him was notable by its complete disappearance.

Moral: Don't correct people publicly because they'll lie in wait just biding their time until they get their revenge. Also, it's really a cheap shot, unless you're saving them from huge shame and embarrassment further down the line or you've been hired by them to do just this.
posted by lesbiassparrow at 3:08 AM on August 10, 2013 [3 favorites]


Everyone talks about correcting grammar but no-one ever corrects grannpar - WHY? Because MeFi is sexist. Wake up and stop doing prejudice against old women, Mathowie and the Mods.
posted by the quidnunc kid at 4:40 AM on August 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


I don't think Brits use "faze", do they?.

No, they use "fase."


We pronounce it "Twistleton-ffoulkes Bigglesworth".
posted by arcticseal at 5:20 AM on August 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


Hyperbole and a Half handles it alot better.
posted by Rock Steady at 5:37 AM on August 10, 2013 [2 favorites]


Mind you, if they jump on someone ELSE'S grammar or spelling

I saw one of these this week that really made me want to do this. The writer was dismissing someone else's writing, talking about them putting 'grammar through the ringer'.

I wanted to put their typing fingers through the fucking wringer in the hope I'd never have to read anything so annoying ever again.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 5:49 AM on August 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


I will correct someone's grammar or spelling only if they ask me to and/or if I'm being paid for it. I do reserve the right to wince privately at the error, though.
posted by rtha at 6:37 AM on August 10, 2013


I have the same problem when quoting - to correct or not to correct? But in terms of publicly correcting spelling or grammar, I think it's mostly done by people who are trying to imply that the person who made the spelling mistake is an idiot on other matters as well.
posted by corb at 6:51 AM on August 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


Wait, lesbiassparrow, are you saying that someone couldn't pronounce Dún Laoghaire?
posted by ambrosen at 6:55 AM on August 10, 2013


If I really examine my intentions closely, there was in fact some passive aggression at play earlier this week when I made the correction I mentioned upthread. Even though I specified in my correction that I didn't intend to add to a pile-on, in fact that's exactly what I was doing.

I have a keen sense of guilt and shame. I remember lies I told when I was five, and I now cringe at my life of cruelty and deception. I say to myself that I'm a better man now, that I know right from wrong and that I can always act to improve the common lot, but it's in specific instances where I fail. What good is trying to help everybody in general when you still sometimes try to hurt somebody in specific?

I was a big kid, and to be fair I was a real sheepdog, stepping in to protect the little ones from hungry wolves. I had a sense of justice. I also had moments of severe aberration, beaning other kids with softballs, pissing on sandwiches, making a game of slapping the defenseless on the tops of their heads. I had a tendency to, in a flash, turn into that which I hated most: a bully.

Aside from correcting word choice the other day, there have been times when I've made comments that were hyperbolic and mean enough to be deleted by the mods. I've lost contacts because of this, for what that's worth. Most days I think I should send that person a note of apology, or make my apology more public, but I think that ship has probably sailed. Maybe I need to leave things the way they are, to let the consequences stand, so that I might for once in my life learn a lesson I've been taught.

I brought up my childhood to show that Ive grown up, but in thinking and writing about it, I realize it shows just the opposite. I have always lacked self-control, and what has changed isn't how likely I am to make bad choices. What has changed is the weight of the guilt and shame that I feel when I do look back and realize I've erred once again.

At this point I should make this specific. Vibrissae, I'm sorry I corrected your word choice. My intentions were not pure and my behavior in doing so was obnoxious and poorly considered. Pracowity, I insulted you earlier this year in a Metatalk comment that was deleted. It was disgusting and unwarranted, and I have regretted it for months. At the time someone suggested that I really should be apologizing to the rest of the userbase for subjecting them to such rotten behavior. At the time I didn't care, but the more I reflected on it, the more I knew he was right.

I have always hated bullies. And now I realize that on occasion I am one. I've always been this way.

It may ease some of the anger people have shown in this thread to know that I hate myself for the condescension, pedantry, and cruelty that I have piled up over the years. Maybe other serial dicks feel this way, too. I hope my apologies help, because I'm full of regrets and I'm deeply ashamed of myself. I have insulted, hurt, and upset people.

I will try my hardest to be kind in the future. I hope I can keep my rudeness under control. It sucks, and I'm sorry.
posted by Ice Cream Socialist at 6:59 AM on August 10, 2013 [22 favorites]


It was done to me by a respected MeFite. To this day I go grrrr when I think of it, especially considering that, according to the grammars I consulted, she was wrong.
posted by francesca too at 7:08 AM on August 10, 2013 [2 favorites]


If it were me, I'd rather be corrected than keep making the mistake.

Correction does not necessarily change writing behavior. See Patrick Hartwell's "Grammar, Grammars, and the Teaching of Grammar" [pdf].

but I don't think that's really what's going on here. I think by and large, MeFi users are relatively highly-educated, and that the errors people are discussing here are mostly the minor brain-farts that even people who have the benefits of education and English as a first language occasionally run into.

Yet "brain-farts" don't merit the type of response correctors are often compelled to issue. As Joseph Williams writes in "The Phenomenology of Error:"
But if we do compare serious nonlinguistic gaffes to errors of usage, how can we not be puzzled over why so much heat is invested in condemning a violation whose consequence impinges not at all on our personal space? The language some use to condemn linguistic error seems far more intense than the language they use to describe more consequential social errors -- a hard bump on the arm, for example -- that require a sincere but not especially effusive apology. But no matter how "atrocious" or "horrible" or "illiterate" we think an error like irregardless or a like for an as might be, it does not jolt my ear in the same way an elbow might; a between you and I does not offend me, at least not in the ordinary sense of offend. Moreover, unlike social errors, linguistic errors do not ordinarily require that we apologize for them.4 When we make media a singular or dangle a participle, and are then made aware of our mistake, we are expected to acknowledge the error, and, if we have the opportunity, to amend it. But I don't think that we are expected to say, "Oh, I'm sorry!" The objective consequences of the error simply do not equal those of an atrocity, or even of clumsiness.
posted by audi alteram partem at 7:10 AM on August 10, 2013 [2 favorites]


Spelling and grammar are signalling mechanisms, and if someone asks for critique then by all means, but unsolicited advice is saying "I want you to conform to my clique". Language is a shared, mutable, and mutating thing, and often what we're communicating is not just the words, but aspects of our culture and upbringing.

To the "phase/faze" example, if Samuel Clemens was spelling the word that likely descends from the Middle English fesen as "phase" over a century ago, then the only reason to "correct" someone to "faze" seems related to the urge to say "but 'begs the question' doesn't mean ..." what most users nowadays take it to mean.

And since language is about trying to share experiences, the question is: Do you want to be the one lone voice saying "wait, 200 years ago usage was different and we should cast that usage in stone", or do you want to be the one asking for clarification only because the message isn't being communicated?

posted by straw at 7:15 AM on August 10, 2013


People are (or pretend to be) "viscerally" offended by grammatical "errors" because most of them are markers of social class-based dialect variants.
posted by spitbull at 7:16 AM on August 10, 2013 [7 favorites]


I don't disagree with you in a general sense but that's not really what I see so much on MeFi unless the it's/its, your/you're, there/their/they're stuff falls under the social class dialect heading?
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 7:26 AM on August 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


We learn only through the death of the ego. Losing face is terribly painful for some; for others, it is easy to shrug and move on with a lesson learned. I am embarrassed to recall how late in life I mistakenly believed the word 'vicinity' was actually spelled 'vincinity' and I am grateful to whomever pointed that out to me.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 7:37 AM on August 10, 2013 [3 favorites]


I'm imagining you in stilettos, fishnets, pancake makeup and really minimal, tight leather...

Yes, please. Don't leave me in suspense… what happens next?
posted by five fresh fish at 7:52 AM on August 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


Another derpy grammar mistake that I've noticed is becoming an accepted standard: "Don't be so bias!"

"Biased" has lost its "-ed". I think that's very weird.
posted by five fresh fish at 7:56 AM on August 10, 2013 [3 favorites]


that's not really what I see so much on MeFi unless the it's/its, your/you're, there/their/they're stuff falls under the social class dialect heading?

It isn't so much the content of these corrections but the act of correcting itself that is connected to the policing of social stratification, and such policing, like many instances of social privilege, is likely unconscious. The corrector sends a signal, intentionally or not, that they are savvy in a prestige dialect (in this case Standard[ized] Written English), the rules of which the person being corrected has violated.

I'm sure MeFites who offer corrections do so for the most part in good will and with the conscious aim of clarifying and improving communication. Yet, we can't help but bring into our discussions here the baggage that comes with language use, including its social normative functions.
posted by audi alteram partem at 7:59 AM on August 10, 2013 [10 favorites]


With the rise of auto-correct, Swype, and other mobile device text input mechanisms, in my circles I'm just assuming that most of the its/it's and their/they're/there is due to laziness. Kind of like (*cough*) closing HTML tags with the wrong tag and looking like I forgot to close my HTML tag.

Though I do come from a family where my sister just sent me this bumper sticker, even though said niece is only a few months old...
posted by straw at 8:03 AM on August 10, 2013


I don't have scientific data to back me up, but my gut feeling is the overwhelmingly vast majority of grammar errors are not done in ignorance but in simply typing to fast or not taking enough time to proofread one's message. Correcting somone publically would be frowned upon even if it the error was done in ignorance. The fact that 97.3% of the time it is a typo and not a grammar error means there is even less reason to correct someone.
posted by 2manyusernames at 8:06 AM on August 10, 2013 [2 favorites]


Favorite tweet from last week: “Uhhh, I’m not *actually* a Pedant. My species is Homo Correctus.”
posted by infinitewindow at 8:42 AM on August 10, 2013 [2 favorites]


I have to correct it when people use words incorrectly, but then I've got OED.
posted by MuffinMan at 9:02 AM on August 10, 2013 [4 favorites]


I mean, I agree with your point in principle, but I don't think that's really what's going on here. I think by and large, MeFi users are relatively highly-educated, and that the errors people are discussing here are mostly the minor brain-farts that even people who have the benefits of education and English as a first language occasionally run into.

That may or may not be so, but can you tell just by looking at someone's user name whether or not they fall into that 'majority'?
posted by scrute at 9:18 AM on August 10, 2013


Editors should adopt the policy of their freelance photographer friends: no free work.
posted by nestor_makhno at 9:29 AM on August 10, 2013 [4 favorites]


There are a lot of over-abused words and bits of wretched grammar that annoy me. If I felt strongly enough about it, I could make it a Project, and if I created a canonical list of the worst spelling and grammar errors on Metafilter, someone might post it to the front page, for the edification of the masses. I can't be arsed. People are wrong on the 'Filters every day. Wrong opinions, bad advice, ill-informed statements. Furthermore, people have bad haircuts, wear stupid shoes, and have appalling taste in clothes. They drive idiotic cars, or ride bicycles and wear their helmets wrong. They don't train their pets, and don't even get me started on how they raise their children. People walk too slowly on the sidewalk in front of me, they clog the isle with their grocery cart, they drive too fast, too slow, in the wrong lane, and they don't have the faintest idea how to merge into traffic. I am far, far too busy being pissy about all these things to correct spelling and grammar errors.
posted by theora55 at 9:34 AM on August 10, 2013 [4 favorites]


Well, let me way in with my two sense worth.

On MetaFilter, the thread is what's important, so I don't think it's worth it for us to be in high dungeon about a few grammar mistakes. If we're in the mist of a discussion, it's a bad idea to walk off the beat and path to lamblast a guy for a word choice mistake. It could cause not only a derail but also possibly a pylon. (For all intensive purposes, Mefy is one of the most civil online communities, but once in a while it does seem to go all "no holes barred" on someone.)

Another words, I guess I'm just saying I'd just assume let an eggcorn like "faze" go than to argue pedantics all day.
posted by ignignokt at 9:38 AM on August 10, 2013 [10 favorites]


five fresh fish, have an old fashion ice tea.
posted by spitbull at 9:38 AM on August 10, 2013 [2 favorites]


Also, jessamyn, I wasn't referring to autocorrect/lazy writing errors on mefi. I mean when people say they are deeply offended/bothered/squicked out/otherwise moved to revulsion by someone else's speech or writing (as in "nails on a blackboard" or "I cringe every time"), that is typically a sign of a class-based affective orientiation, in which "revulsion" at someone's grammar is a metonymic displacement of revulsion at the person speaking or writing.

Otherwise, it's all just dialects of one underlying human capacity for language. And it's all just prescriptivism.

See yinz around.
posted by spitbull at 9:42 AM on August 10, 2013 [12 favorites]


Ah, gotcha. I always assume high anxiety (from various sources ranging from "had a bad day" to "on the spectrum") in the reader, but that may just be projection on my part.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 9:47 AM on August 10, 2013 [2 favorites]


I try not to correct other people, but when someone starts a question on the green with "Me and my friends were wondering..." I have to summon all my willpower to refrain from responding "Me think you should try...."
posted by Pater Aletheias at 9:50 AM on August 10, 2013 [5 favorites]


Whenever someone uses "beg the question" in an FPP (always the... non-traditional way) I always stop into the comments to see if someone has pointed it out yet.

I am almost never disappointed.
posted by supercres at 9:58 AM on August 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


Ugh when people call their fiancé their finance.

It's incorrect word choice that bothers me more than typos/grammar/spelling.
posted by sweetkid at 9:59 AM on August 10, 2013 [2 favorites]


I think the number of times I've cringed at someone else's mistake is about equal to the number of times I've missed the edit window and cringed at my own.
posted by billiebee at 10:06 AM on August 10, 2013 [4 favorites]


Hey, some of us write in the vernacular. We write for the people in the streets. We don't have fancy degrees in commenting. We came up the hard way, commenting our ass of on slashdot, homing our craft till we made the big time. Maybe we use the wrong words sometimes or spell soupçon wrong, but we have heart, the can do spirit that made America great.
posted by Ad hominem at 10:22 AM on August 10, 2013 [10 favorites]


God is always making errors - that's how genes mutate, and if they didn't then bacteria wouldn't have evolved into people and people wouldn't have evolved into Wolverine and the other X-men. So if you don't want to follow God's example, I guess you don't like errors in spelling and grammar either. And you hate mutants, which is just racism. But before you correct someone's spelling, ask yourself this: do they have heat-ray vision or an adamantium skeleton? You know, like Jesus? He could fuck you up if he thinks you're getting pissy.
posted by the quidnunc kid at 10:23 AM on August 10, 2013 [13 favorites]


It's "X-Men", FFS.
posted by KokuRyu at 10:25 AM on August 10, 2013 [7 favorites]


Five fresh fish, I always get confuse when I see that.
posted by Too-Ticky at 10:28 AM on August 10, 2013


can you help me download my inbox on my I-pad
posted by planetesimal at 10:39 AM on August 10, 2013


Over Bluetooth?
posted by Ad hominem at 10:40 AM on August 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


300 BAUD IPAD MODEMS 4 SALE
posted by mintcake! at 10:43 AM on August 10, 2013 [3 favorites]


no, just skip dinner and get straight to the nasty
posted by planetesimal at 10:43 AM on August 10, 2013


"Yes, please. Don't leave me in suspense… what happens next?"
posted by five fresh fish at 10:52 AM on August 10

That depends entirely on how egregious my error was, and how big the largest fish your fishnets can capture might be.
posted by paulsc at 11:01 AM on August 10, 2013


This ain't Bangkok, this is Metatalk.
posted by planetesimal at 11:02 AM on August 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


Ugh when people call their fiancé their finance.

When we were engaged, my wife delighted in calling me her financier.
posted by arcticseal at 11:18 AM on August 10, 2013 [3 favorites]


One night in MetaTalk makes a hard man humble.
posted by Ad hominem at 11:19 AM on August 10, 2013 [7 favorites]


On the other hand, before we had the edit button I always thought it was kind of charming when people would be quick to correct their own mistakes which were clearly typos or due to auto-correct.

This is the one place on the internet where I assume most spelling and grammar mistakes are typos or due to auto-correct.

"Whenever someone uses "beg the question" in an FPP (always the... non-traditional way) I always stop into the comments to see if someone has pointed it out yet."

"Order of magnitude" is another one.
posted by Room 641-A at 11:22 AM on August 10, 2013


When we were engaged, my wife delighted in calling me her financier.

When Jay-Z got engaged, he was a feyoncé.
posted by MuffinMan at 11:51 AM on August 10, 2013 [12 favorites]


"defiantly" in lieu of "definitely".

I have definately never seen this.



(My inner editor has tantrums every day. My inner non-native English persona then throws him a nice large water balloon to catch, while my inner typo-slop-artist sneaks up from behind and trips him, while he, the inner editor, takes a step back to catch said balloon.

In short: nope, never. If you feed the universe with crud, it will throw more crud back at you.
That said, "like when... douchey," grumble, grumble...)
posted by Namlit at 11:58 AM on August 10, 2013


God is always making errors - that's how genes mutate, and if they didn't then bacteria wouldn't have evolved into people and people wouldn't have evolved into Wolverine and the other X-men. So if you don't want to follow God's example, I guess you don't like errors in spelling and grammar either. And you hate mutants, which is just racism. But before you correct someone's spelling, ask yourself this: do they have heat-ray vision or an adamantium skeleton?

So ..... Monsanto is behind the X-men??

I should have realized.
posted by jamjam at 12:08 PM on August 10, 2013


What a bunch of loosers! This boarders on the rediculous.
posted by NoMich at 12:09 PM on August 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


go all "no holes barred" on someone.

That is hilariously disturbing.
posted by Rock Steady at 12:13 PM on August 10, 2013 [2 favorites]


All prescriptive grammatical rules are socially and historically contingent expressions of solidarity and power.
posted by spitbull at 12:14 PM on August 10, 2013 [3 favorites]


A man.
posted by clavdivs at 12:43 PM on August 10, 2013 [2 favorites]


The discussion here reminds me that I was one of the top three students of my graduating high school class. This means that from kindergarten through 12th grade, I was routinely held up by teachers as an "example" of what the other kids could become if only they tried harder or as an example of what a great teacher he/she was, neither of which was remotely true. A lot of those kids worked harder than I did yet still could not compete and much of what I knew was unrelated to anything the teachers did. So the end result was that I was merely made a target for hatred from the entire student body. I had few, if any, friends. Everyone knew who I was and it mostly got me hostility. There was no way to be "nice" enough to not be hated on, thanks asshole teachers, may you all burn in hell.

In self defense -- as the only defense I could fibd -- I got into the obnoxious habit of correcting other people and routinely proving that I was "better" than them. It is a hard habit to break, in part because I still am mostly a social outcast. Being chronically ill, having an abusive childhood, winding up deeply in debt and homeless -- none of it seems to be sufficient to satisfy other people that I have suffered enough or some crap. I still get hated on. Their bitterness at what public school did to them as kids apparently runs as deep as mine does, perhaps deeper.

My first serious involvement on the Internet was with gifted lists -- email lists for parents trying to figure out how to cope with their bright kids when regular parenting books failed them and school gifted programs were not enough. Those lists were initially just horrible social environments. Getting 300 people together who were all used to being the smartest person in the room meant that the default assumption was that if you disagreed with them, you were obviously both wrong and stupid. It was a very long haul getting to the point where people could engage in meaty discussion with their peers. Most of these people had met damn few intellectual peers in life. These parenting lists ended up being growth experiences for the parents who found themselves coming to grips with how shittily they had been treated as kids for the crime of being bright and learning for the first time ever to listen to the other side of the argument and not just assume the person making it was simply too stupid to understand what was "obvious" to them.

I see a similar thing go on pretty much every time I join a new forum. This issue of grammar correction seems to come up routinely and strikes me as part and parcel of that process. I still struggle at times with wanting to helpfully correct people. The fact that medical issues..etc...have made my typing so very bad helps me let it go. I still find myself wrestling with other areas where I want to be helpful. The reality is that it mostly just convinces people I think they are stupid or something. I still don't know how to escape that trap. It still feels like everyone hates me for wanting to help. I still do not know what the socially acceptable way is to tell people there are better answers available and they don't have to suffer so much. But, somewhere along the way, the desire to be obnoxiously critical of grammar and spelling errors got beaten out of me.

I will offer corrections at times, though I try to use good judgement about when and how. So I don't think it should be simply Verboten but definitely the Internets needs to get over itself and realize a lot of it is typos, not evidence that you are still the smartest person in the room, by god.
posted by Michele in California at 12:50 PM on August 10, 2013 [3 favorites]


Celsius1414> If it is an egregious enough mistake that you genuinely want to make sure the commenter is clear that they aren't saying what they think they are (I can't think of a purely English example at the moment, but false friends like embarazada in Spanish come to mind), a private message is more than sufficient.

Why? If someone -- in the open discussion on this site, which is read by everyone -- has made what you think may be a mistake which makes the meaning of what they said unclear, then why should a request for clarification occur through private channels?
posted by UrineSoakedRube at 1:07 PM on August 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


Could we also stop pointing out when I haven't read the link? There's no need to highlight my ignorance there, really.
posted by ODiV at 1:45 PM on August 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


And just to head this one off, maybe let's not point out when a joke of mine isn't that funny.
posted by ODiV at 1:47 PM on August 10, 2013


Also, it is smug, classist, and unhelpful to publicly humiliate the illiterate assume that poor people or people of color are incapable to mastering standard English spelling and grammar.

Fixed.
posted by LarryC at 2:17 PM on August 10, 2013 [3 favorites]


Ah, yes, "standard English spelling and grammar", as handed down to us in immutable form by the gods.
posted by kagredon at 2:27 PM on August 10, 2013 [2 favorites]


fiancé their finance

what a gaffé...

it also gets my goat when people write about chevré cheese. It's the official Swedish spelling, kinda, unless they write chévre. È! whatever.
posted by Namlit at 2:52 PM on August 10, 2013


That may or may not be so, but can you tell just by looking at someone's user name whether or not they fall into that 'majority'?

Just look at the user number. Lower is better.
posted by five fresh fish at 3:07 PM on August 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


Also, it is smug, classist, and unhelpful to publicly humiliate the illiterate assume that poor people or people of color are incapable to mastering standard English spelling and grammar.

Fixed.
posted by LarryC at 5:17 PM on August 10 [1 favorite −] Favorite added! [!]


Is someone doing that? I learned to read before I was three and have excellent spelling and grammar, though not always on Metafilter. I think this has to do more with my class than race though (especially the early reading part).
posted by sweetkid at 3:28 PM on August 10, 2013


There's "there." T-H-E-R-E. "There are the donuts."
Then there's "their." T-H-E-I-R. Which is the possessive. "It is their donut."
Then, finally, there's "they're." T-H-E-Y-apostrophe-R-E. A contraction meaning they are. "They are the donut people."
posted by byanyothername at 3:46 PM on August 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


I almost always flush with embarrassment when someone corrects my grammar/typos/whatever. This is temporary. I also think the person is kind of an asshole. This is permanent.
posted by space_cookie at 3:59 PM on August 10, 2013 [17 favorites]


Ugh when people call their fiancé their finance...It's incorrect word choice that bothers me

There's all sorts of relationships out there. Maybe they find that word to be closer to approximating the situation.
posted by yohko at 4:25 PM on August 10, 2013


Ad hominem: "One night in MetaTalk makes a hard man humble."

Not much between despair and ecstasy.
posted by jquinby at 4:52 PM on August 10, 2013 [3 favorites]


What a bunch of pendants!














Sorry.
posted by naoko at 5:11 PM on August 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


Wait a minute, proper spelling is a symptom of white privilege?
posted by KokuRyu at 5:14 PM on August 10, 2013 [4 favorites]


I try not to correct other people, but when someone starts a question on the green with "Me and my friends were wondering..." I have to summon all my willpower to refrain from responding "Me think you should try...."

Methinks you shouldst try...
posted by ActingTheGoat at 5:21 PM on August 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


Wait a minute, proper spelling is a symptom of white privilege?


I hope so. I'd like some.
posted by peripathetic at 5:31 PM on August 10, 2013


This gentleman will gladly help everyone with their grammar.
posted by vrakatar at 6:07 PM on August 10, 2013


Wait a minute, proper spelling is a symptom of white privilege?

Well, it's certainly a symptom of privilege, but not necessarily white. Because here's the thing about spelling -- Proper according to whom?
posted by Etrigan at 6:55 PM on August 10, 2013 [4 favorites]


Cautionary ghost.
posted by drjimmy11 at 7:01 PM on August 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


"Biased" has lost its "-ed". I think that's very weird.

I am glad to have that pointed out because it adds to my running list of a whole pattern of dropped "ed"s. People also say "prejudice" as in "don't be prejudice." More obvious words that have lost their ed's:
Popped corn
Iced tea
chopped steak = chop steak
I've seen people write "bake potato"..
At some point, it stops being an error and becomes the word, or a variant of the word. Now I want an iced cream cone...
posted by third rail at 7:09 PM on August 10, 2013 [2 favorites]


Proper according to whom?

What's good enough for Samuel Johnson is good enough for me.
posted by KokuRyu at 7:12 PM on August 10, 2013 [2 favorites]


What's good enough for Samuel Johnson is good enough for me.

I dunno. Johnson had some pretty bad habits...

I have some visual issues, and, unless I have time to closely double-check the comment, it's not unlikely that I'll have some typo or autocorrect issue. Anyone is welcome to point them out, but it's best if they're hilarious.

Also, I almost wrote "double-cheeked the comment," which would be something else.
posted by GenjiandProust at 8:42 PM on August 10, 2013


Well, it's certainly a symptom of privilege, but not necessarily white. Because here's the thing about spelling -- Proper according to whom?

I think Cave Johnson is often considered a trusted authority on these issues.
posted by SpacemanStix at 8:42 PM on August 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


In this doggy-dog world you got to hone in on the message irregardless, cos people could care less.
posted by Segundus at 10:13 PM on August 10, 2013


The kid behind Your Grammar Sucks is white, and attended a private university. He is a privileged white person. His Youtube channel is my example of near-ultimate grammatical dickery.
posted by oceanjesse at 11:01 PM on August 10, 2013


I'd just like to give you all permission for open season on my grammar, spelling, and word choice.

I’d like that deal too. I’m not that easily insulted.
posted by bongo_x at 11:39 PM on August 10, 2013


Bongo_x uses Yahoo answers.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:50 PM on August 10, 2013


I dunno. Johnson had some pretty bad habits... - he had some good ones too.

There is nothing which has yet been contrived by man, by which so much happiness is produced as by a good tavern or inn.
posted by arcticseal at 1:54 AM on August 11, 2013


I liek 2 rite gud. I don caer if ppl dun wana rite gud.

So yeah. It's totally showery to point it out. (I wanna make that a thing.)

Thing is, language is ever evolving. Faze is a great example-- it was originally spelt 'feeze' and originated in American West. As it is, I've never heard it that much. I am a weird hybrid and interchangeably use US/UK spelling though. I don't want to be corrected. I don't want to get stabby when someone tries to tell me 'tee hee, 'spelt' is a type of grain' or something.

Besides, I only have 4 and a half minutes to check my spelling and grammar before I can't fix any typos. Mefi's law states: 'Any glaring error in a post will be noticed after the editing time has expired.' So it's inevitable that I often either completely mess something up, or alternatively I leave something
posted by Dimes at 3:08 AM on August 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


Thanks to this thread, I just woke from a dream in which a friend was discussing his "suspension of belief" when watching narratives and I took him to task.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 3:45 AM on August 11, 2013


Thanks to some other Mefi threads, I dreamed last night that cortex and I were both working for the NSA or similar (as wee cogs, not big wheels) and there was some outreach thing where people from the public were invited to our offices and we had to give up our work stations for them to sit around and view the presentation, and when it was over, I discovered that my laptop had been stolen, so I went to security to ask if anyone had turned it in, and the guy was like, "no, but someone turned in this MacBook Air that nobody has claimed, doesn't it look like yours? *wink wink*?"
posted by taz (staff) at 4:13 AM on August 11, 2013


Interesting - I feel very different about corrections:

1) When they change the intended meaning
and
2) When they are in the quoted content, not written by a MetaFilter member.

Like, in this thread I had to double-check whether the uninterested/disinterested substitution was being made by the poster or in the content being quoted. Having established that it was indeed a direct quote from the article the correction felt worth being made, because it changes the meaning of the payoff line of the article quite a lot - I think the point of the article actually depends on the hypothetical comic book reader having an interest, but being uninterested. So, either I've misunderstood the goal of that sentence, and by extension Tim o'Neil's argument, or that's a mistake that goes against the intention of the article, which it's useful to parse out.

If that had been a comment in the voice of a member, I don't think that would have been a correction worth making, because it wouldn't be the focus of the FPP - and a substitution like phase/faze, there/their, its/it's never seems to be worth correcting, because the meaning is clear and unchanged.
posted by running order squabble fest at 4:51 AM on August 11, 2013


To be a pedantic corrector, the term "faze" did not *originate* in the Amercan west. It comes from an Old English verb "fesen," or "to frighten," or so sayeth the OED.

Of course if you just lost a battle with Captain Kirk, you might not be fazed, but you were probably phased.
posted by spitbull at 5:05 AM on August 11, 2013


Also, is MeFi (by which I mean LarryC) ready for an explanation of hypercorrection and covert prestige?

Because if we really want to have a 5000 comment MeTa on dialect variation and privilege (class, race, or gender), we have to go there.
posted by spitbull at 5:12 AM on August 11, 2013


As far as I know, the creator/commenter on #dumbesttweetsever, which (hilariously) calls out egregious misspellings, eggcorns, and various idiocy, is a black woman.
posted by sweetkid at 6:56 AM on August 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


Isn't hypercorrection a matter of poor impulse correction? (Which wouldn't exclude that it also may be a matter of class, race, or gender, but what's to discuss really? "Folks, you oughtnt'a done this thing, like, globally?")
posted by Namlit at 7:44 AM on August 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


Because if we really want to have a 5000 comment MeTa on dialect variation and privilege (class, race, or gender), we have to go there.

In my experience, the real determinant here is actually age. Your parents might have been unemployed alcoholics, but if you grew up in an era when teachers would physically beat you if you didn't get it right, then regardless of the dialect you speak in, you're much more likely to be able to write using correct grammar and spelling than you are if you're today's privileged brat of some corporate magnate.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 7:51 AM on August 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


I think the privilege aspect was brought up here with regards to the correction and not the errors themselves. However, it is not my intent to tell people what topics to debate. I am in no position to judge.
posted by Ice Cream Socialist at 8:02 AM on August 11, 2013


That 5,000 comment MeTa would be fascinating. Some of you actually know your stuff. However, I don't think today is the day for that thread.
posted by Area Man at 8:45 AM on August 11, 2013


Asking for a 5K comment thread is a form of privilege.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:51 AM on August 11, 2013 [3 favorites]


"Fazers on stun"
posted by clavdivs at 9:48 AM on August 11, 2013 [3 favorites]


Also, it is smug, classist, and unhelpful to publicly humiliate the illiterate. This is what makes the privileged white male commentary on the Your Grammar Sucks youtube channel offensive.

You understand what you're implying, right? (Hint: Misogynistic white supremacists agree.)
posted by Sys Rq at 9:51 AM on August 11, 2013 [3 favorites]


I was reading some Sharepoint tutorial thingy where the author admitted there was a bit of a 'learning curb'. I was uncertain if that was a mistake or just plain descriptive -- some barrier to learning that you hit and just can't get over.
posted by mazola at 9:58 AM on August 11, 2013 [5 favorites]


Okay, fine, but don't use prodigal to mean "long lost" and leave my goddam commas alone.
posted by mule98J at 10:03 AM on August 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


There are the sorts of constructions which are not English — that is, those which the majority of native anglophones, regardless of dialect, would identify as nonsensical. Collectively, everything which is not in that set is "correct English".

The set of "correct English" includes a wide variety of both spoken and written dialects and most or all of those correlate to various social affiliations. Many of these affiliations represent economic class membership and the presence or absence of privilege. English usage, then, is a signifier of inegalitarian group membership. The acquisition of prestige dialects of English, in spoken and (especially) written forms is generally a function of privilege.

Prestige English dialects are economic class markers, but they're intimately associated with cultural capital, too. Cultural capital tends to be much more important when it's an alternative to economic capital — and where it's particularly important, it's also performative.

Performative acts of the possession of cultural capital take two forms: a) the social display of that cultural capital, and b) the social disparagement of those lacking that capital. With prestige English, the latter can take the form of outright mockery, but more often that of ostensibly "helpful" correction.

This is most toxic at certain intersections of economic and cultural capital, such as with the aspirational white middle class interacting with the impoverished class. The white middle class in the US these days is largely stymied in its aspirations to the economic upper-class, but the accumulation of cultural capital via education is still mostly available. In contrast, the impoverished class faces numerous barriers against the accumulation of both economic and cultural capital — and in many cases, there is a strong association with a particular impoverished community and a dialect of English which lowers the relative status of that dialect within the context of cultural capital. Likewise, dialects associated with the higher economic and cultural classes take on a higher cultural capital status and so there are virtuous and vicious cycles that reinforce and perpetuate these status distinctions.

And so the aspirational white middle-class display of acquired cultural capital in the form of denigrating the lack of prestige English usage in others is very often also necessarily a reinforcing of economic class hierarchy and privilege. The most crystal-clear example of this is the white middle-class response to African American Vernacular English such as the commentary on Rachel Jeantel's testimony in the Zimmerman trial.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 10:17 AM on August 11, 2013 [9 favorites]


I take a grammar/spelling correction to mean "I have nothing useful to say but feel the need to contribute and make myself look smart anyway."
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 10:22 AM on August 11, 2013 [3 favorites]


I was watching TV the other day while reading a friend's thesis for grammar corrections. I didn't really understand what she was writing about, but English isn't her native language and she really just needed it read for subject-verb agreement, correct prepositions, that sort of thing. It was a pretty rough read because it was an in depth discussion of public health topics for a population and using terms I'm not familiar with. She was supposed to call me to better explain the topic to me. Anyway, I suddenly heard my phone ringing from somewhere in the living room but I couldn't see it anywhere. I had to grab the TV remote to quickly turn the volume down, but my TV is really old and crappy so I had to stand up and aim at just the right spot on the cable box so i could fond the phone by listening for it and in the process I scattered the printout I was reading and it wasn't even her on the phone, so it was a just an unnecessary mute point in the end.
posted by maryr at 10:32 AM on August 11, 2013


So moot it be.
posted by box at 10:52 AM on August 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


And so the aspirational white middle-class display of acquired cultural capital in the form of denigrating the lack of prestige English usage in others is very often also necessarily a reinforcing of economic class hierarchy and privilege. The most crystal-clear example of this is the white middle-class response to African American Vernacular English such as the commentary on Rachel Jeantel's testimony in the Zimmerman trial.

Word.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:01 AM on August 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


Starting in '08, I heard repeated suggestions that the constant observation that Obama is "articulate" was a bit of racist coding. Maybe, sometimes. But A) compared to the previous guy, who was a poster child for privilege? And B) he really is articulate y'know. The quality of his speechifyin' was almost unpresidented (ha ha) in modern elections.
posted by George_Spiggott at 11:10 AM on August 11, 2013


Starting in '08, I heard repeated suggestions that the constant observation that Obama is "articulate" was a bit of racist coding.

The problem is that "articulate" was slightly racist in its application, especially among athletes (which is to say, the preponderance of African-Americans in the public eye), for a long time, so African-Americans got a little justifiably tetchy about it.

Plus, "articulate" is such incredible damning-with-faint-praise that I see it as a backhanded compliment anyway. "Wow, you think he can talk? Like with words and stuff?"
posted by Etrigan at 11:19 AM on August 11, 2013 [3 favorites]


Plus, "articulate" is such incredible damning-with-faint-praise that I see it as a backhanded compliment anyway. "Wow, you think he can talk? Like with words and stuff?"

Understood in the usual case, that's why my A) clause. The previous guy, a blue-blood Yale legacy scion of immense privilege (Gloria Upson: "really top-drawer"), could not string a coherent sentence together or even read one from a speech in a way that suggested he knew where it was going. The contrast was worth remarking on in itself.
posted by George_Spiggott at 11:32 AM on August 11, 2013


The only person allowed to correct me is languagehat. Anyone else who tries is dead to me.
posted by scrump at 12:09 PM on August 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


The only person allowed to correct me is languagehat. posted by scrump
I hope you read Russian.
posted by Cranberry at 12:41 PM on August 11, 2013


Ice Cream Socialist, I have always appreciated how you helped me out back in January 2011, during a bitterly cold day in NYC when I was really depressed.

I have also hung out with you at several meet-ups and at each one you were polite and demonstrated consideration for other people. I remember how you included other people in conversations and were friendly and welcoming.

In one of your comments above you state that you have insulted and corrected people in MeFi threads. It sounds like you are fighting a hard battle and I do not mean to minimize the insight you have shown.

But I also want to emphasize that having spent time with you in person you are someone who I have never seen do this in person.

In fact, during one meet-up, when a few of us started talking about the 20th Century US labor movement, I thought you were restrained and diplomatic in the best possible way.

Because we had had discussions at other times, I knew you were well-read in this area but when someone mentioned something that was not accurate, you moved the conversation along without any fuss and we were all chatting amiably a moment later.

You are also a very smart guy who did some intense studies of a few different areas as an undergrad and has continued studying and learning since then. Yet you have always been modest in in person discussions. I have always gotten the sense you were perfectly happy talking about music, the subway system, current events or whatever. You have never tried to steer conversations to any pet issues, hobbies, et cetera (I wish I had the same restraint!).

tl;dr You are a good person and please be kind to yourself.
posted by mlis at 1:04 PM on August 11, 2013 [13 favorites]


zarq: "I have one huge, twitchy cannot-help-myself-it-must-be-corrected pet peeve. Which I've seen and spoken up about a couple of times. "

Which one is it your so bothered by? It may seem like its insignificate, but irregardless, we should probly talk about that one to.

I kid because I love you all.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 1:56 PM on August 11, 2013


A man.
posted by clavdivs


I knew it.
posted by bonaldi at 2:16 PM on August 11, 2013


This begs the question, of course, which two things sound like an icepick on my eardrum?

Good on you if you figure them out. Good. On. You.
posted by SpacemanStix at 2:59 PM on August 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


Understood in the usual case, that's why my A) clause. The previous guy, a blue-blood Yale legacy scion of immense privilege (Gloria Upson: "really top-drawer"), could not string a coherent sentence together or even read one from a speech in a way that suggested he knew where it was going. The contrast was worth remarking on in itself.

If that were all it were, wouldn't we have heard people commenting on how articulate John McCain (the other possible successor) was back in 2008?
posted by kagredon at 3:12 PM on August 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


John McCain is articulate?
posted by MoonOrb at 3:45 PM on August 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


Relative to George W. Bush? Yeah.
posted by kagredon at 3:48 PM on August 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


Is this where we get to confess our sins? Because I have done this a couple of times and would like to be absolved.

One time, I saw the term 'haberdasher' being used to mean 'a seller of hats' and could not simply let it go. Another time, I saw the term 'lexicography' referred to as 'lexography' and, similarly, could not rein in my impulse to comment just to make a correction. In both instances, I tried to make the point in a joking way, but, yeah, I think I still just sounded like an asshole. My apologies, MetaFilter.

OK, I feel better now.
posted by fikri at 4:16 PM on August 11, 2013


One time, I saw the term 'haberdasher' being used to mean 'a seller of hats' and could not simply let it go.

This... this is a test, isn't it?
posted by winna at 4:56 PM on August 11, 2013 [3 favorites]


It's one of the first tests they set you if you want to join any of the special forces units in the US millinery.
posted by running order squabble fest at 5:23 PM on August 11, 2013 [10 favorites]


You are a good person and please be kind to yourself.

Thanks, mlis, I sometimes don't realize how extreme I sound during my self-criticism sessions. I hope I didn't alarm anyone.

I really appreciate your kind words. I will take them to heart. Thanks again.
posted by Ice Cream Socialist at 6:11 PM on August 11, 2013


Using "phase" in place of "faze" is not an error in grammar. An error of usage, or possibly spelling, but not grammar. "The income difference doesn't phase us" is grammatically correct. (The second-best kind of correct!)
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 8:51 PM on August 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


To be a pedantic corrector, the term "faze" did not *originate* in the Amercan west. It comes from an Old English verb "fesen," or "to frighten," or so sayeth the OED.


Sorry, I worded that wrong. I didn't mean to insinuate that the entire word root was made-up American. I meant 'faze' (disrupt, disturb) as it is defined, used and spelled today *developed* in the US west-- at least according to Grammarist / Chamber's Dictionary of Etymology.

Which, yes, derives from 'feeze' (frighten, fret) which is an obscure now-obsolete word in Old Kentian -- which derived from the Middle English vesen, fesen, and Old English fēsian/fēsan, fȳsan, (to drive away). Which actually *originated* from Proto-Germanic: funsijaną

But the US is where the current spelling and definition found popular usage. 'Feeze' was Kentian dialect. If you're being pedantic about my use of the word 'origin'-- I can kind of see your point. However Oxford also uses similar terminology. US originally. Which is what I meant.

But you get props for your TOS reference. Although as I'm sure you know, a Photon Maser has nothing to do with Phase.
posted by Dimes at 8:53 PM on August 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


Personally, I appreciate being corrected. Usually it's just a lazy mistake or typo and I'm aware of the error, but sometimes I learn something new, and I truly appreciate that because, y'know, knowledge is good.

Grammatical (and other) errors make a person look poorly-educated, whether this is fair or not, and that gives an impression. People will judge that (again, fairly or not). It's good to get things right, and I appreciate people who help me do it. I do not see it as douchey in the slightest.
posted by Decani at 11:43 PM on August 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


I don't love being corrected but I do appreciate being told I was right all along. "Wow quidnunc you used most of those words in the right order and many of them were correctly spelled. Are you some kind of super-genius? I mean - fuck. You fucking rock my world, my soul and my gonads."

That kind of feedback really motivates me.
posted by the quidnunc kid at 12:25 AM on August 12, 2013 [8 favorites]


Ha, at the Oxford link, "over a quarter of citations [of 'faze'] in the Oxford Corpus" are to the "incorrect spelling."

You know what we linguist types call an "incorrect spelling" that is widely used?

The new correct spelling. Get used to it.
posted by spitbull at 4:25 AM on August 12, 2013 [7 favorites]


You know what we linguist types call an

wait what - isn't that supposed to be "linguist typos"?
posted by Namlit at 5:29 AM on August 12, 2013


The only proper response in any situation is a badly-made pun. Then nothing will phaze you.
posted by blue_beetle at 5:35 AM on August 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


The new correct spelling. Get used to it.

A new correct spelling.
posted by kmz at 7:42 AM on August 12, 2013 [5 favorites]


HAIOKTHXBAI.
posted by spitbull at 8:37 AM on August 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


Some people just like to get into other people's phases.
posted by Kabanos at 8:40 AM on August 12, 2013


It seems to me that if one cares about one's message and cares about one's audience, one needs to care about using correct spelling, grammar, and punctuation.
posted by five fresh fish at 12:21 PM on August 12, 2013


Hey, Jessamyn was on NPR!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:36 PM on August 12, 2013


I have pretty much left my prescriptivist past behind me, but I must admit that seeing an ad that must have cost somewhere in the seven-figure range blazing at me off a forty-foot-high movie screen* and anchored by the line, You've never seen "body's" like this, I still wince. I am really wondering if the superfluous quotation marks around "body's" refer to the subsequent mention of the word "body" that we are supposed to be aware of, or it is just being used to emphasize the word; you know, as with NO "PARKING".

*I am not linking to the actual video, as I'd just as soon not feed them the traffic.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 2:20 PM on August 12, 2013


"...or it is just being used to emphasize the word; you know, as with NO 'PARKING'."

I actually made it to my mid-thirties before I became aware (because a couple of friends convinced me) that those uses of quotation marks were intended to present emphasis. I'd always just assumed they really were quoting someone. I still want to read it that way, as scare quotes, even in your examples.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 3:04 PM on August 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


When you correct someone's grammar, try to remember
those rules are like the stars you see through a telescope,
just pretty echoes of the long dead.

posted by zamboni at 10:02 PM on August 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


I have learned something here today.
posted by Jairus at 7:32 AM on August 20, 2013


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