Scrolling through Twitter earlier today, I noticed a fair few people showing disdain for those who correct their grammar and spelling; “its only twitter i dont have to type perfetly,” was among the horror I saw. Why? Why don’t you need to type perfectly? I can understand key slips, the odd space missed through a stiff space bar (though I always quickly scan what I write on social networks before posting; it’s no more than 140 characters, it doesn’t take long to read), but plain ignorance? It seems totally unnecessary.
So, these people that protest their free sub-editors; what is it that annoys them about being corrected? My initial idea is that it makes them feel stupid, and I can relate to this having a boyfriend that was home-schooled by reading non-stop (he read the whole series of Game of Thrones so far in two months), and who corrects my spelling frequently. I felt stupid at first, but soon realised I should take it not as an insult to my intelligence, but help so that I may not make the same mistake. I even ask him what words mean when I’m unsure now, because there is nothing weird about wanting to learn.
This is something I have a great deal of discomfort with. In schools, or specifically English and American schools, there is an unwritten rule that if you are not naturally smart, you are a nerd to want to learn. And it’s not ’til you reach college/high school level that you start to realise that this may not be true, and begin trying to suck up all the information you can. But it is never too late or weird to learn things when you’ve left education. And obviously I’m talking about people my age, twenty-somethings that haven’t gone through life to learn that you are always learning.
I know people with dyslexia and other things that affect their reading and writing may protest that they cannot help their mistakes, in which case it is easier to simply tell the person correcting you “Oh, I didn’t realise. I have dyslexia, you see,” probably making them feel a bit guilty for correcting you in the first place. So is this why people don’t like being corrected?
Another potentiality someone pointed out to me is that it can come off as pretentious. I can somewhat understand where that feeling comes from, but surely the correction must first be faced with some hostility to come to the conclusion that the corrector is being pretentious. I suppose in some cases it can be incredibly condescending; think JK Rowling’s Harry Potter character Hermione Granger, “It’s ‘levi-O-sar’, not ‘levio-SAR’!”
Overall, I think most people who dislike their grammar being corrected have simply mistaken someone else’s care and appreciation for the English language for a chance to have a petty jab at them. Though I’m sure some people do it for this reason (shame on you all), I don’t believe people are out to make others feel bad. And now I’ve spent my one weekly optimism token. Damn.