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​People Who Point Out Grammar Mistakes Are 'Less Agreeable', Study Says

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​People Who Point Out Grammar Mistakes Are 'Less Agreeable', Study Says

It's pretty universal knowledge that correcting other people's grammatical mistakes online really isn't going to win you any fans - which, as it happens, is also a stance shared by science.

Yep, a 2016 study essentially found that the grammar pedants tend to have 'less agreeable' personalities than those who might just scroll on past without pointing out the errors.

The paper, which was published in PLOS One, was the first of its kind in exploring how someone's personality traits can determine how they respond to typos and grammatical errors, with researchers arguing it could teach us a lot about how we communicate online.

Lead researcher Julie Boland, from the University of Michigan, said: "This is the first study to show that the personality traits of listeners/readers have an effect on the interpretation of language.

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"In this experiment, we examined the social judgments that readers made about the writers."

'LOL it's THEIR not THEY'RE, you idiot!'
'LOL it's THEIR not THEY'RE, you idiot!'

Researchers asked 83 participants to reach email responses to an ad for a housemate, which either contained no errors or had been altered to include typos or grammatical mistakes - such as writing 'teh' instead of 'the', or mixing up 'too/to' and 'it's/its'.

The participants then judged the person behind the email based on their perceived intelligence, friendliness and a number other attributes, including how good a housemate they might be.

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They also had to fill out a Big Five personality assessment about themselves, rating where they would be placed on scale in various areas like how open they were, and if they were more introverted or extroverted.

The results showed that extroverts were more likely to ignore mistakes than introverts, while introverts were more likely to notice the errors and pass a judgement on the writer.

Credit: PA
Credit: PA

People who tested as being more conscientious but less open were found to be more sensitive to typos, and those with less agreeable personalities appeared to be more annoyed by grammatical errors.

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Researchers said: "Less agreeable participants showed more sensitivity to grammos than participants high in agreeability, perhaps because less agreeable people are less tolerant of deviations from convention."

They added that 'more conscientious and less open people were sensitive to typos'.

The team said in their conclusion: "What is new in the current results is our finding that the personality traits of the reader influence the impact of typos and grammos."

Featured Image Credit: PA

Topics: Science, Study, World News, News

Jess Hardiman
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