To be a bit paranoid about my spelling and grammar on MN?

(65 Posts)
Hotmad Wed 19-Feb-14 19:31:35

Seen quite a few threads here about poor spelling and grammar that every time I write something now I make sure I spell correctly, don't use text speak and proof read it before posting!
Apart from spelling and grammar what other human errors and behaviours annoy you most?

Bogeyface Wed 19-Feb-14 19:34:03

What annoys me most is people pointing out spelling and grammar mistakes when they are clearly not the most important thing. For example, I have seen AIBU that are quite serious, and you will always get "YABU for not knowing how to spell....".

ISeeYouShiverWithAntici Wed 19-Feb-14 19:39:50

I agree bogey. I itch all over when confronted with spelling errors or poor grammar (I had to stop going into a cafe because their menu board offered panini's and it made me want to chew my foot off) but my god, you'd have to be a special shade of shit to actually pull someone up on it.

Posters who do that go on my wanker list.

To be honest, I find MN much, much less wankerish about it than a lot of places. It does seem to be widely accepted that it's a bit crap to pull someone up on SPAG when you disagree with them, unless it's relevant. Whereas on CiF on the Guardian it seems to be considered the soul of wit. hmm

The human behaviour that annoys me the most is idiots who make assumptions about you because of spelling. Eg., the kind of people who say 'why didn't you spellcheck that' rather than 'did you spellcheck that?' or 'why couldn't you be bothered to check' rather than 'excuse me, you have a mistake'.

If you mean non-spelling-related irritations, people who don't understand road signs but continue to drive/cycle. Yes, I am that dull.

MsVestibule Wed 19-Feb-14 19:59:34

I'm a grammar and spelling pedant but, as long as a post is legible and understandable, I wouldn't dream of pointing any errors out. Text speak irritates beyond all reason; it makes the writer look incredibly thick but I'd just ignore their posts, not pull them up on it.

IRL, things that irritate me are people who drive too quickly or too slowly, don't indicate, forget to switch their indicator off and hog the middle lane. People who are obsessive about being punctual/early mum to the detriment of others me.

In short, anybody who doesn't behave and think exactly the way I do wink.

TheGruffalo2 Wed 19-Feb-14 20:01:35

Yes and I'm an Oxbridge English graduate and primary school teacher. We all make mistakes, especially when posting informally and are tired, but I live in dread of the "teachers are crap because of spelling and grammar mistakes" brigade!

squoosh Wed 19-Feb-14 20:02:00

A lack of paragraphs is the thing that really bugs me. I can't be bothered reading a wall of text, it makes me eyes feel muddled, but I wouldn't say so the person who wrote it!

IdRatherPlayHereWithAllTheMadM Wed 19-Feb-14 20:13:16

My spelling and grammer are appalling and if anyone is upset by it, they are more than welcome to take it up with the school where I spent the first 6/7 years of my precious life, being educated in precisely diggly squat.

frogslegs35 Wed 19-Feb-14 20:13:27

Yabu smile Take absolutely no notice.
I can spell and form sentences perfectly well but I seldom check what I've wrote before submitting.
It's just MN not an application for mensa or Oxford.
Don't let it worry you.

frogslegs35 Wed 19-Feb-14 20:17:42

Or should that be 'what I have written' smile Both are past tense but should it be active or passive? smile

Shoot me now.

northlight Wed 19-Feb-14 20:23:23

No, YANBU and I understand your apprehension.

Would there be any mileage in a Common Mistakes to Avoid page (with a better name) where people who want to can check for errors. I rely on various tips I've picked up over the years. For example you can remember the spelling of practice (verb) and practise (noun) by thinking about advise and advice where the pronunciation is different. A good mnemonic ,
to spell diarrhoea is DI And Ronald Reagan Have Oranges Every Afternoon.

Is there a mnemonic for mnemonic?

Personally, I would like to see a reduction of loose for lose and draw for drawer.

LadyBeagleEyes Wed 19-Feb-14 20:28:22

People that pull posters up on spelling and grammar are twats.
I don't read threads that are all text speak though, but only because it just doesn't come naturally to me and it takes too long to decipher it. But I'm really old.
And I also get muddle eyed with long texts with no paragraphs so I don't read them.
I don't pull anyone up on them though, that's just so rude.

NewtRipley Wed 19-Feb-14 20:37:40

I love discussing spelling and grammar, and certain errors get my goat, but I do agree that it's really rude to point these errors out.


It's written

The one I still get confused about is practice/practise


Behaviours that anger me are poor or aggressive driving.
Oh, and misogyny

SelectAUserName Wed 19-Feb-14 20:38:51

I am one of nature's spelling pedants so I do notice errors but I don't comment on them out of politeness, unless they're unintentionally humerous typos or, increasingly, autocorrects. For example on another board I used to frequent, someone once typed "the worat had happened" instead of "worst", which ended up as a whole spin-off thread in which it was determined that worats were South American creatures similar to polecats but easier to tame and available in a multitude of colours. We all had a pet worat by the end of that thread.

I know my grammar isn't always 100% correct, but I am from the generation which wasn't taught it at school, and I think it's less vital on an informal social network site than it would be in a professional setting.

I do think, however, that it doesn't hurt to at least try to use paragraphs and punctuation. I see it as a courtesy to the people who you are, presumably, hoping will read your [generic you/your] post. If you want people to invest time in reading what you've written and answering you, the least you can do is invest a little time yourself making it legible for them. TBF MN is generally one of the better sites for readability.

I take no notice of the pedants. My spelling and grammar are fine, I just can't type grin

frogslegs35 Wed 19-Feb-14 21:15:47

grin Newt

Anonymai Wed 19-Feb-14 21:16:18

Yabu. As long as you don't use text speak (like some annoying people I've noticed "r" doing) you'll be fiiiiiine.

TheVictorian Thu 20-Feb-14 02:04:40

When your having a debate with a person and they say one thing about a subject and you offer a counter view but instead of the person sticking with the original point of the debate, they then go off and try and add a new point to the debate as if to make their point or to win their point even though its a different point from the start of the debate.

ZeroSomeGameThingy Thu 20-Feb-14 02:41:30

grin northlight Were you deliberately practising to deceive?

I would be a pedant if my declining ability to spell left me any time. On the whole I accept that here everyone is typing on a tiny screen while doing other things. So mistakes shouldn't inhibit anyone from posting or reading.

In RL I am generally irritable and intolerant....

Innogen Thu 20-Feb-14 03:36:08

My spelling is appalling on mn, mostly because I'm not using a keyboard. Can't type on a screen for shit, and it just can't be arsed to sort the syntax out most the time. Autocorrect fucks me over lots too.

MrsMook Thu 20-Feb-14 04:22:48

I'm struggling with accuarcy since starting to use smart phones and tablets. I find going back to edit very cumbersome, and the auto correct changes its mind about words as I'm about to use it. I'm often feeding a baby while I'm on here so if he fidgets, it's very eady to press the wrong thing. I found a Blackberry style keypad much easier. I've had to make at lesst 10 corrections already on this post.

Just spotted eady rather than easy. Its too much faff to sort it now by trying to get the cursor in the right place.

northlight Thu 20-Feb-14 07:39:15

Zoo Gah, no just posting while tired. For clarity practice and advice are nouns, practise and advise are verbs. Sorry, sorry sorry. As I said I depend on tips like this so just awful to get it wrong.

meditrina Thu 20-Feb-14 07:44:17

Pedants' Corner and now Cunning Linguists are lovely topics populated by users who have a fascination for language, who discuss it in detail (including occasionally 'it's all gone to the dogs') but who also are really helpful to people with queries .

This is not the same as unsolicited, or even hostile, criticism on a thread.

IsitwrongtofancyHarryStyles Thu 20-Feb-14 07:51:08

I am genuinely dismayed - as in I actually wince - at the amount of posters who mistake 'your' and 'you're' and 'have' and 'of'.

This has definitely become more widespread and frequent - at least a few times on each thread - on Mumsnet.

I'm not going to say it's because the type of poster has changed because I don't think it has.

I think it's due to typing on phones and tablets and our communication standards and expectations have changed.

Even if posters know they should be writing 'you're', it's accepted to write 'your' because it's easier/quicker on a handheld device.

It's still wrong though!

ZeroSomeGameThingy Thu 20-Feb-14 08:02:24

My particular irritant is who's and whose. I am so fond of my annoyance that I started an astonishingly beautiful thread yesterday to spread the word....grin

The evidence suggests that I am the only person in the world who cares....sad

IsitwrongtofancyHarryStyles Thu 20-Feb-14 08:05:02

Ooh ooh I care, Zero! <waves wildly>

but your and you're is worse

ZeroSomeGameThingy Thu 20-Feb-14 08:09:10

Oooh! <Waves back>

Though actually I might start another, even more vital and thrilling thread about "less" and "fewer."

Just thinking about these two words makes me happy.

IsitwrongtofancyHarryStyles Thu 20-Feb-14 08:11:09

I would read your thread and rejoice in it...

ZeroSomeGameThingy Thu 20-Feb-14 08:18:50
ZeroSomeGameThingy Thu 20-Feb-14 08:20:19

....perhaps the title was a little lacking in excitement....

IsitwrongtofancyHarryStyles Thu 20-Feb-14 08:21:34

Hmmm, yes it is a little dry Zero. I will visit though.

winklewoman Thu 20-Feb-14 08:37:54

SelectAUserNane, as you are "one of nature's spelling pedants", can we assume that your spelling of 'humerous' was a humorous little jest? wink

SelectAUserName Thu 20-Feb-14 12:35:41

Never fails, winkle - hoist by my own petard! grin

SelectAUserName Thu 20-Feb-14 12:37:10

PS. It's SelectAUserNaMe not NaNe <touché> wink

MisguidedAngel Thu 20-Feb-14 12:51:09

What about "on his behalf" instead of "on his part" (and vice versa)? That drives me wild and I hear more and more people getting it wrong on Radio 4. I also hate it when people say, for example "John gave it to Jane and I" - it should be "Jane and me". I shout at the radio but I wouldn't correct anyone (except dp!)

I agree with others that spelling and punctuation mistakes on mn don't bother me, but text speak and lack of paragraphs just make posts difficult to read, which means they might be ignored.

winklewoman Thu 20-Feb-14 13:06:56

SelectA , I thought when you addressed someone by their user name (or even nane) incorrect spelling was excused. I allow you the shortened form of mine and return the compliment. grin

SelectAUserName Thu 20-Feb-14 13:19:59


SilverOldie Thu 20-Feb-14 13:31:53

I can ignore most errors but one thing I cannot stand is people using would OF/could OF instead of HAVE.

It irritates me so much that I normally close the thread. No doubt I should get a life.

ifandwhen Thu 20-Feb-14 13:41:47

Bless you all sitting here grinning over grammar - let me join you grin.
In common with other posters, above, I'm quite pedantic particular about spelling and grammar on the whole, but not on here. I presume that most people are typing in states of emotion, snatched moments with half-an-eye on a pot boiling over, or on tiny phone keypads, so it would be missing the point to pull anyone up on typos or sentence construction, as long as the text is comprehensible. Mind you, I'm 3 months off submitting a PhD thesis and still getting pulled up on previously unknown grammatical niceties. Which reminds me that I still don't quite follow when to use hyphens... <goes off to google>

Sallyingforth Thu 20-Feb-14 13:46:52

*Seen quite a few threads here about poor spelling and grammar that every time I write something now I make sure I spell correctly, don't use text speak and proof read it before posting!"

I'm afraid you didn't proof read that sufficiently, OP, since what you have written is not a correct sentence. It doesn't contain a subject.

everlong Thu 20-Feb-14 14:05:26

Don't stress it OP.

It's a bit mean to point out bad grammar and spellings imo. I do see things but wouldn't highlight them though.

Gee, sallyin, I'm sure that's totes like the sorta response she was hoping for, you big genius proofreader, you.

PatrickStarisabadbellend Thu 20-Feb-14 14:46:46

I get confused between their and there. It has been explained to me numerous times but it just won't stick!

everlong Thu 20-Feb-14 14:57:22

" she pointed over there " Tom and James took their dog for a walk "

squoosh Thu 20-Feb-14 14:58:27

Where/here/there all describe places.

squoosh Thu 20-Feb-14 15:06:51

And an heir is a person, their refers to people.

AphraBane Thu 20-Feb-14 15:10:52

Newt: The one I still get confused about is practice/practise

I think confusion here is only going to increase, because there's a difference between American and British usage, and we're all being exposed to more written American than ever before thanks to the Interweb.


practise as a verb, I need to practise
practice as a noun: get lots of practice

practice as a verb, I need to practice
practice as a noun, get lots of practice

So in American English there's no problem, it's always practice. But for British just remember verb is s and noun is c.

amicissimma Thu 20-Feb-14 16:09:26

I do think it's a pity when people get all negative about a non-aggressive correction.

We don't know who is reading and the internet offers a great opportunity to improve one's language skills, and thus ability to communicate clearly, while remaining anonymous.

I see there are some people who would prefer to keep getting it wrong, and that's their perogative, but someone lurking might be unsure of the correct spelling/grammar/usage and very grateful for someone to tell them. Specially as people often explain clearly why.

Although it's rare, I do occasionally find posts that I simply can't understand. I don't say anything, just close the thread, but it would be a pity if I could have helped. I doubt I'm alone.

ami - if you mean that to refer to my comment, TBH, I thought it the context it wasn't non-aggressive. The OP posted saying she tries her best but still worries; to post 'you didn't proofread sufficiently' strikes me as mean, because she's already said she tries.

But if it offended you or you thought it was a gentle correction, I'm sorry. It's just how it read to me personally.

I don't know if you want to know, but in light of what you're saying - it's prerogative. I always want to put an extra 'r' in it somewhere so I've got into the habit of sounding it out with a ridiculous amount of care.

thinking101 Thu 20-Feb-14 16:25:10

Oh I don't care, poor people who have to sit there and correct all the other peoples mistakes. I think it is so sad.

I get quite annoyed when an OP has posted upset or in a stressful situation and they are corrected on something.

I don't give a toss really.

livelablove Thu 20-Feb-14 16:30:07

Funny how we're not allowed to use textspeak but MN abbreviations for words and phrases like dh and fwiw and imo are ok.

thinking101 Thu 20-Feb-14 16:33:22

Exactly who says we not allowed, it's a public forum....

Some people will bully others for whatever inc spellings and grammar. Frustrated little teachers. Bet they take a register too!

DoctorTwo Thu 20-Feb-14 16:40:04

When consoling a pedant just say there their they're.

amicissimma Thu 20-Feb-14 16:41:49

LRD, no, on the contrary, I agree with your first post and took Sallying's post and your response as tongue-in-cheek.

And thanks for the correction. I thought it looked wrong so I looked it up in the dictionary, but, of course, didn't find it (under per ...), so I Googled and Google gave me perogative. Norty Google (or perhaps I shouldn't just glance at the first answer). Now I know. And I'm grateful. Which is why I can't understand why people get so cross. You don't know who this person is who can't couldn't spell prerogative.

sadbodyblue Thu 20-Feb-14 16:47:35

oh posters who point out mistakes like this just look like stupid frustrated bores.

probably are ignored in RL or laughed at so they do the head girl routine on here.

like the annoying kid at school who points out the other kids mistakes best ignored as you can't give a swirly online.

Oh, phew!

And sallying, if you were tongue in cheek I am sorry, I was inclining more towards sarcastic because I am a deeply unpleasant person. blush

I think people get cross because they feel judged. It's easy enough to take the 'oh, how interesting' approach if you're rarely corrected, or rarely feel under-educated, I think. There's always a high proportion of people who're teachers or linguists or English grads on these threads saying 'meh, don't care, I occasionally get it wrong'. But for them it's pretty easy really.

Much harder if you are someone who's always felt bad about their spelling. Same with anything really - it's like if you're utterly confident in your fashion sense and someone says 'I'd never wear x, it's so ugly', you probably don't care. If you feel badly dressed and ugly, you'll take it personally. Sad, but true.

squoosh Thu 20-Feb-14 16:52:51

Bobby Brown taught me to spell 'prerogative'.

<fist bumps Bobby Brown>

Mintyy Thu 20-Feb-14 16:55:54

I don't think it happens here all that often, tbh, given the enormous numbers of posts (and mistakes!) involved. On the whole I think this is a pretty tolerant site.

And if someone is being a numpty about an individual's spelling/grammar on any given thread, then generally speaking they will be told off for it.

Mintyy Thu 20-Feb-14 16:56:35

grin Doctor!

ZeroSomeGameThingy Thu 20-Feb-14 17:01:20

Google is probably one of the reasons why my spelling has got worse lately. If I have sufficient time I can reach for an Oxford dictionary either on my desk or online. But if I'm in a hurry I just Google - and then can't be certain if I'm looking at the English or American spelling. I've lost almost all sense of whether I should be using "z" or "s" in a word.

And proofreading is hopeless on a phone. You type your brilliant thought, preview, decide a phrase could be bettered; the doorbell rings, you change the phrase, press send and it's only when you read your own post that you realise you didn't change the other parts of the sentence that now either don't flow properly or, worse, make no sense at all.

Truthfully, I don't think any MN-like forum could work if people prioritized professional levels of accuracy over speed of response.

amicissimma Thu 20-Feb-14 17:11:17

LRD, yes, again, I think I agree with you about the feeling judged. The sad thing is that being able to express oneself clearly is so empowering.

I think sometimes, though, there is an attitude that people who haven't had the benefit of a good education should just be left to their mistakes, rather than risk that they might (or might not, who knows?) feel judged.

We're anonymous on here so can't really be judged, but someone might learn something that enables him/her to use English in a way that gets a more positive response from someone s/he is dealing with.

mrsjay Thu 20-Feb-14 17:14:44

don't worry about it I never do I always think that is a person corrects somebodies their or there in a post i always virtually sticky my fingers up they are not worth reading tbh, many wonderful funny interesting threads and posts, with just rubbish grammar and spelling, read those instead smile

mrsjay Thu 20-Feb-14 17:19:33

and if a random stranger on the internet tries to make a point of pointing out spelling mistakes for the Mistakers (not a word) benefit then they are just a twat this is an internet forum nothing more nothing less,

oddsocksmostly Thu 20-Feb-14 17:19:51

Thank you Northlight, for clarifying practise/practice for me! I've never felt confident with those!

Oh, I see what you mean. Yes, that's a horrible attitude and I certainly wouldn't defend that.

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