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hitomi's avatar

Do you ever judge people based on bad grammar?

Asked by hitomi (1142points) February 7th, 2009

I have found myself NOT answering questions on Fluther that I might have been interested in answering because the grammatical structure of the question itself is bad. I also have to resist commenting on people’s answers and correcting their grammar. (There, their, and they’re are my biggest pet peeve….)

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56 Answers

Allie's avatar

It doesn’t bother me that much at all. As long as I can understand the question (or response) then I’ll add my thoughts. I’m not one to get all hung up on the grammar or spelling… though I know there are people on here who do.

KrystaElyse's avatar

I definitely hate bad grammar and spelling… but I know I make mistakes sometimes (we’re only human right?). Even though they’re annoying, I still usually answer the questions. In certain places like work and school it’s not very acceptable, but I think here we can let it slide a bit.

jessturtle23's avatar

No, because good grammer and spelling doesn’t mean a person has any sense.

DrBill's avatar

It bothers me, but I was a college Prof for years, I guess it’s habit. I can overlook common mistakes, but I will not even finish reading questions written in ghetto-speak.

Vinifera7's avatar

I judge that they have bad grammar.

Grammar and language in general are of interest to me, so I would assume that they hold other interests.

AstroChuck's avatar

Yeh. I ain’t got no respect for people who don’t know nothing about no grammaring.

Magnus's avatar

All the goddamn time.
And I’m a hip hop blogger, so there’s plenty in my field.
If an artist want a feature on my blog and write to me in all caps and with Zs instead of Ss, I normally just discard the whole thing.


marinelife's avatar

It bothers me, but not to that extent. It is so rampant in society that what appears on Fluther is merely a reflection of that.

If I can divine the questioner’s intent well enough to answer (and I am otherwise interested in answering), I do.

jrpowell's avatar

I pass over stuff that is “text speak” since you don’t care enough to type “you” instead of “U”. Well, I don’t really care enough to try and help.

But normal spelling and grammar stuff doesn’t bother me that much.

Knotmyday's avatar

Somewhat. I expect I’ve mellowed over the years. I still refuse to LOL, though.

Grisson's avatar

It depends on whether it feels like the grammar is affected or not. There’s a difference between trying to sound colloquial and trying to sound like an idiot.

Knotmyday's avatar

@Grisson, you aight, yo.

gailcalled's avatar

I was trained to proof-read and I was born to admire beautiful prose. That said, I answer questions that interest me unless the usage is so garbled, the spelling so atrocious and the punctuation so decorative that I have to lie down for a while.

I do find interesting the tendency to spell phonetically or simply make a wild guess. And I also find odd that people feel free to add “wise” to words, word-wise, or to invent verbs like journaling, suiciding, crushing.

lunabean's avatar

bad grammar makes me cringe, so yes, i do have an initial judgment that may or may not change.

peyton_farquhar's avatar

It bothers me alot. If your not going to take teh time to spell wrods and structur esentences currectly, then your not worth my time.

peyton_farquhar's avatar

@gailcalled is “crushing” not a real word?

chyna's avatar

@johnpowell love your avatar, just noticed it

gailcalled's avatar

@peyton: It certainly may make its way into the common parlance as a way of saying “to have a crush on someone.” Now it means to crush something physically (step on a bottle), or emotionally (he dealt her a crushing blow).

Sometimes I get the feeling that anything goes, as long as one is marginally understandable.

David Sedaris wrote an essay about his enfeebled efforts to learn French and entitled it, “Me Talk Pretty One Day.” The essay, hilarious to us language junkies, was encorporated into a book of the same name.

Anatelostaxus's avatar

hmm.. I try to avoid prejudice as much as possible. I believe it’s best to observe the intention of the writer first. A good probability of their error lays in a simple mis-digit due to the layout of the keyboard. If I find that’s most likely, I ignore. If the error is a misspelled word, I overlook it (can’t help correcting it though, perhaps by repeating the word in my further discourse.) If spoken.. well.. being an English teacher makes you understand how easily so many mistakes can be ‘ignored’. still, it doesn’t denote the validity of the person.. at the most only of the accuracy of their thesis.

Verbvm non lex cvm varia intra duos est.

Bluefreedom's avatar

I’ve been a very good speller all my life and I also have very good written communications skills. When I do see misspellings and poor grammar, it makes me cringe somewhat and even more so when I see my own stupid mistakes like that. But, since we’re all human and we all make mistakes, I have no right to judge others whether it be their spelling, grammar, opinions, lifestyles, or whatever else. I will formulate my own thoughts and opinions but I’m not going to judge.

When I first came to Fluther, I corrected the spelling of a person who is now a good friend of mine here and this person told me to lighten up a bit and not take the spelling/grammar thing too seriously on this site. I thought that was good advice and I can’t remember any occasions where I purposefully passed over a question due to the asker’s grammar or spelling being poor. I might have had a mild temptation to correct them but I never followed through and I went on to answer their question anyway.

marinelife's avatar

@Knotmyday I heard a comedian the other day say he never writes LOL, he writes QLTM (quietly laughing to myself). I rather liked that.

peyton_farquhar's avatar

@Marina was that on NPR? I heard that guy, too.
He brought the lol’s.

syz's avatar

I absolutely judge individuals by grammar and spelling, unless English is a second language for them.

asmonet's avatar

I can’t stand it when commas are not followed by a space. I hated it before certain users came to Fluther, and I hate it more after. I do judge, but it has to be really bad.

@Marina: The comic was Demetri Martin. One of the great loves of my life.

marinelife's avatar

@peyton_farquhar Yes, small radio world!

@asmont Thanks. That was the first time I heard him. I think he has a new show on Comedy Central.

asmonet's avatar

@Marina: Look up his other stuff, he’s adorable. :)

Jayne's avatar

If a question has really atrocious grammar or spelling, I will automatically expect a throw-away question, because it is probable that the author, if they have not taken the time to type the question properly, has not taken the time to think it through properly either. Grammar rules are there to give logical structure to an argument. The rational, ‘conscious’ part of the brain thinks, with few exceptions, in words. Thus, a logical thought should already be formulated with decent grammar, because that is how a person can check that it is, in fact, sound and complete; and so if the written expression of that thought is written with very poor grammar, the author was either extremely hurried, or the thought was never fully-formed in the first place. To bring this back to the original question, this principle is not without exception, so I will read something with poor grammar, but I will have that first impression in the forefront of my mind, and it will affect at some level how ready I am to accept the author’s argument.

An additional angle is that, in a place such as Fluther where intelligent debate is respected, bad grammar is a sign that the author has not taken the time to observe the community, to get to know it and its conventions, and is simply there to get a quick answer or to fulfill an agenda. So I will be inclined against them for that reason as well.

So far I have assumed that we are talking about online written discourse. If I am talking to someone in person, or am hearing them talk, the first part of my argument theoretically applies, but here I must admit to more prejudice than it can justify. Someone who speaks with bad grammar generally comes from an entirely different culture than my own, even if we are native to the same city, and I am still working on breaking down my instinctive snobbery and aversion to that difference. I can override that initial impression with relative ease, but it will be awhile before I come to the point where I don’t feel it at all.

wundayatta's avatar

I judge people on a lot of things. Use of language is part of it, but most important, to me, is the quality of their ideas. Typically, though not always, good ideas seem to come along with good grammar. I won’t let bad grammar stop me from trying to puzzle out what someone is saying. I also persist through bad spelling. I’m trying to figure out what people are really after.

However, if I decide they are too dumb to live, I won’t provide an answer. That can happen to good grammarians as well as bad. Clearly, good grammar and spelling make something much easier to understand.

Bri_L's avatar

All I can do on this thread is apologize to all of you. I have always done the best I can with what I have learned. I have never stopped trying to do better. Some people, like Gail, have been kind enough to forgive my errors and help me.

I would suggest that although it is frustrating for you all, I would regret not hearing your opinions or getting valuable help from you because of my grammar. Please feel free to correct me on spelling and punctuation. I am really working on it. Just be adult about it.

I ask that you also remember while in this venue you may take many to task for their inability to spell or punctuate, stop and think what other venues you might need a little understanding due to your less than expert level of experience. Maybe you can draw on that as a means of helping you understand some of the people who might really be trying their best and just not be that good.

Let the correcting begin.. .. . ... NOW!

bythebay's avatar

Now seems like a good time to ask; how should one laugh on Fluther?
LOL – overused and trite.
Hahahaha – seems insincere.
ROFL – see LOL.
ROFL4RL – has potential.
QLTM – see above, I like it but it won’t always apply.


With regard to the original question I must say bad punctuation or grammar won’t keep me from answering a question. I seem to be most bothered by things like affect vs. effect and there/their/they’re. No space after commas is irksome. I will always be a 2 spaces after a period girl, no matter what conventional grammarians say.

I anxiously await your laughing suggestions and thoughts.

90s_kid's avatar

No. not rilly, I mean, sort uv/
Why do I always have to make a bad joke out of everything?

Jayne's avatar

I never used lol much, but I have really had a grudge against it ever since I made a- very blatantly- joking remark on Youtube, and someone missed that it was in jest, and when I set him straight, he replied to the effect that, if I were joking, I should have included an lol somewhere just to let people know. Excuse me, but what kind of culture of communication exists where you have to annotate your conversation? The use of lol in this context simply deadens the intelligence of the conversation, by removing the pressure on the writer to communicate, and on the reader to interpret, any subtleties in the tone. And while this seems totally ridiculous to me, it is incredibly common for lol to be used as a standby, meaningless phrase to be thrown in anywhere the writer wants to avoid offense or lighten the mood- I love picturing these people sitting at their computers and actually laughing out loud at each little, characterless phrase they type.

Jeez, I sound like I’m seventy years old, yelling at punks to get off my damn lawn.

asmonet's avatar

Haha I love it.

Jayne's avatar

@asmonet You have pretty eyes. Do they shift color at all, by any chance?

chelseababyy's avatar

All the time. I’m an English/Literature/Grammar whore. We all have our moments, but when people tAlK lyK diZ U knoE wAt i MeEn, I wanna fucking strangle them ;D.

asmonet's avatar

@Jayne: Haha, thank you very much. Sometimes, I have a blue shirt that makes them POP. Generally, teal blues, gray and dark greens make people think they match the color. But they are dark blue, light blue and yellow ish. Here’s a color shot if you’re curious. :P Personally, I only think the color really changes with the blue shirt. But what do I know, my eyes look out, not in. :)

joni1977's avatar

ghetto speak? ROFLMAO!

Jack79's avatar

yes, and spelling too. Anyone can make mistakes, and I know I keep spelling “trully” and “definately”. Or make typos. But if the grammar is so bad that you have to read sentences several times to make sense, then I simply think the person must be stupid (most of these people would also talk in that way).

This does not apply to non-native speakers of course. There I can understand it, and I don’t judge.

augustlan's avatar

@Bri_L You have nothing to apologize for! Your grammar and spelling aren’t nearly as bad as you think they are.

Terrible grammar makes me crazy, but the odd slip here and there doesn’t bother me much. On the other hand, when I see it (or ‘creative’ spelling) in professional works I want to kill someone.

marinelife's avatar

@augustlan I second that. Give editors some work, for goodness sake! And no, spell check is not the same as having an editor.

Bri_L's avatar

@augustlan & Marina – Thank you very much. Actually, I welcome the kind help given by anyone. My grammatical education topped out at School House Rock.

Knotmyday's avatar

@Marina, yay for Demitri Martin.

@Bri L, we could all use a trip back to “Conjunction Junction” from time to time.

bythebay's avatar

I LOVED Schoolhouse Rock! “I’m just a Bill, yes I’m only a Bill, and I’m sitting here on Capitol Hill…”

Bri_L's avatar

then you’ll love this

Bri_L's avatar

the perfect spoof

MissAnthrope's avatar

In a nutshell, yes, I do. But I’m a total English snob and it irritates me something fierce when supposedly fluent people make a mash job of it. People who talk only in chat-speak don’t get much of my time.

That said, I myself make grammatical mistakes and whatnot, too.. so judgement is really based on the scale of the problem. I mean, it’s one thing to speak colloquially (ending a sentence with a preposition, for example) and another thing to destroy the language. :)

asmonet's avatar

@bythebay: I have that and The Shot Heard Round The World on my iPod. Because I’m awesome.

Grisson's avatar

@asmonet You have the universal ‘cause and effect’!

cyndyh's avatar

I do, but it takes more than one or two mistakes to have me throwing up my hands. If it seems to be a complete disregard for communication then I can very well pass the person by. If it’s one or two slips then I tend to ignore it. Some things bother me more than others. There are certain misuses of homophones that just drive me up a wall. Typos aren’t a big deal, though.

Cellafestiva's avatar

Most Definitely

Coloma's avatar

Yes, I am guilty of this at times as well. Although, I must say, I have a friend that couldn’t spell her way out of a paper bag, yet her verbal communication is very good. Some things just don’t come easily to others so we shouldn’t judge the totality of anyone based on anything.


I am one that uses ‘lol’ quite a bit, because often I AM laughing out loud as well as to denote lightheartedness or the insinuation of a joke. I think that the written word is very easily colored by ones own perspectives so I do think that it is important to express ones intent at times with some marker, so to speak.

Sweetpea's avatar

Only in fun. My kids regularly find mistakes in spelling, grammar, punctuation, or just poor wording in newspapers, magazines, all over the internet and sometimes even our church bulletin. I think we notice it because we are so embarrassed when it happens to us. It used to be a bigger hang-up for me than it is now. I know I don’t write perfectly. If perfection is my goal, I might become like JRR Tolkien and not get things finished, because it will never be perfect enough for me.

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