My feed

to access all these features

Pedants' corner

Response to grammar issues on MN

18 replies

Pobblebonk · 31/08/2020 09:04

It's very noticeable that it's apparently entirely acceptable to post comments on MN being sniffy about other people's hygiene, childrearing practice, driving, fashion sense, choice of interior decor etc - but totally unacceptable to suggest that it's easier to follow posts if people avoid "could of" and interchanging his/he's etc. Surely the arguments about being polite etc should apply equally?

OP posts:
Purplewithred · 31/08/2020 09:11

I don't notice much difference - most posts that are 'sniffy' (or downright rude and hurtful) get challenged by subsequent posters.

But I do think there is a bit of a class and IQ thing embedded in grammar, and correcting someone's grammar can be seen as patronising middle class oneupmanship.

PurpleDaisies · 31/08/2020 09:18

It’s not really difficult to follow a post with incorrect grammar in most cases. The mistakes are just irritating.

I don’t think correcting people’s grammar is on. Usually it has absolutely nothing to do with the reason they’re posting and it is just a not very subtle way of suggesting they’re stupid.

Pelleas · 31/08/2020 09:20

other people's hygiene, childrearing practice, driving, fashion sense, choice of interior decor

Those are things that a poster has actively chosen to share on Mumsnet. Poor spelling/grammar is something people display without realising it (they may be aware their written English is poor but they are not deliberately making mistakes) so offering criticism isn't really fair. There might be any number of underlying reasons for the problem, which are unlikely to be the poster's fault.

If someone came on asking for help with spelling/grammar - or, as sometimes happens, a poster wanted a critique of an email they were thinking of sending, it would be reasonable to pick up errors and no one is shouted down for offering criticism when it's actually relevant and sought.

ClashCityRocker · 31/08/2020 09:21

There's a line isn't there?

I've seen posts on relationships where someone is in a real crisis, potentially in danger and in desperate need of advice - and they get called out on their grammar or spelling, which is a truly cuntish thing to do. Fortunately those posters do get called out on it.

At least 'could of' makes some sort of phonetic sense - it sounds very much like 'could've' and in that instance if it makes the thread unreadable I would suggest it has more to do with the comprehension skills of the reader.

But yes, I agree it should be applied equally and similar comments about decor/names/hygiene should be avoided unless the op is specifically asking about them.

I do think posters need to remember that the op is a real person (well, unless they're a troll!), not an opportunity to come up with the most wittiest put down.

SavoyCabbage · 31/08/2020 09:23

It's not usually relevant to the problem though. If someone posts about potty training and gets chastised for whatever it is others think she's doing wrong then that's fair enough as she's asked for advice on this matter. Popping on to a potty training thread with advice on grammar is not relevant to the situation at hand.

TheSeedsOfADream · 31/08/2020 09:32

That's because the sad fuckers who post "oh my eyes! I just read Chester Draws" have usually picked their hilarious example from "another thread".

There was a whole long-running thread on here where posters liked to point and laugh at what they'd found on MN.

Those posters who, as adults, couldn't spell, were once children who couldn't spell. Think about how a thread would go if the OP was "oh my lord, there's a child in my son's class who uses "should of"

People don't make errors with their English to wind people up.

StealthPolarBear · 31/08/2020 09:34

It is frustrating reading a post with lots of errors from someone saying they're going to take their child out of school and home school.

TheSeedsOfADream · 31/08/2020 09:37

It certainly is, Stealth. And, on those occasions, particularly because the post invariably criticises the teaching profession along with thinking home schooling means jigging up and down to Joe Wickes and picking blackberries, the OP is fair game.

StealthPolarBear · 31/08/2020 09:42

I saw one yesterday and assumed it prompted this. Don't want to make this a taat but the pp did have a couple of reasons for not great English.
I always think this during the 'holidays in term-time' threads. "oh just make him do some times tables and colour a picture of a fish, he'll learn so much more than he ever would at school (in year 6)"

SavoyCabbage · 31/08/2020 10:05

Oh yes, the home schooling ones are fair game!

KedsAndTubeSocks · 31/08/2020 10:17

I have a relative with dyslexia who doesn't write much because they're afraid of criticism. Unless the poor grammar is relevant to the thread (like the home-schooling examples above) it's kinder just to ignore it. Not sure what correcting it is likely to achieve; the OP will just feel self-conscious but probably won't remember next time anyway.

TheSeedsOfADream · 31/08/2020 10:24

Quite. Unfortunately, over the last couple of years Pedants' has changed from being a place where we used to discuss usage, and change, and just interesting stuff about language (I remember the wonderful Prism who knew such a lot) into a "look at how thick they are" place. You only have to look at recent threads and compare to, say, 6-8 years ago.

Babdoc · 08/10/2020 15:57

I have corrected grammar or spelling on MN a few times. Never as a middle class attempt to patronise, though!
My parents were born in slums - we were nowhere near privileged in upbringing.
My motivation was quite the opposite. Poor use of English can hold people back, or make their writing lack authority. I corrected people as I assumed that they would want to know, in order to avoid the same mistake in future.
My own escape from poverty was achieved by means of a good state school education, enabling me to go to university and qualify as a doctor.
I hope all children from poor backgrounds are taught correct grammar, rather than having their mistakes accepted as inevitable. Anything less is a disservice to them, and means they can never compete on a level field with richer, privately educated children.
I know I would much prefer a fellow Mumsnetter to point out, kindly and politely, a grammatical error of mine, rather than leave me to repeat it in public, appearing ignorant.
However, I am autistic and pedantic, (the two often go together!) so perhaps neurotypical people have a more emotional and less logical approach, and just get upset instead of appreciating the correction?

FeminismIsForALLWomen · 08/10/2020 16:13

However, I am autistic and pedantic, (the two often go together!) so perhaps neurotypical people have a more emotional and less logical approach, and just get upset instead of appreciating the correction?

I'm autistic and I find what you're saying to be quite patronising so I don't think it's simply that people are being over emotional about being corrected. Often the grammar police will attack someone when it's completely irrelevant to what they're asking for help with and even as an aspie I can see why people get upset about being mocked when they're asking for help!

I think perhaps, because grammar is important to you, you're assuming that it will be useful to everyone. Giving unsolicited 'help' is actually rarely helpful.

JemimaTiggywinkle · 08/10/2020 16:30

Your OP would’ve been easier to follow if the first sentence wasn’t so excessively long, and you’d used a semicolon instead of a dash.

MikeUniformMike · 16/10/2020 21:20
DadDadDad · 17/10/2020 12:48

I got a bit confusing, Mike, because I think the title's been corrected - reading the comments, it originally said "diseased friend". Shock

MikeUniformMike · 17/10/2020 14:34

It had already changed by the time I saw it but it did raise a smile.
I don't know if it's just me, but deceased and diseased sound quite different. Same goes for unprecedented and unpresidented. I think I 'see' words not 'hear' them, IYKWIM.

Please create an account

To comment on this thread you need to create a Mumsnet account.