Grammar Police

Occasionally, I see posts on Facebook or elsewhere that get some of the most basic but also most frequently confused grammatical usages wrong — things of the your/you’re or the their/they’re/there variety. As a reasonably proficient practitioner of the English language, I’d like to apply for some kind of button on these services that would let me go in and quietly correct these things.

I should be clear: I have no interest in being a grammar troll. Some people just can’t keep the rules straight or simply aren’t interested in worrying about getting these things right. I’m actually more or less ok with that. But I also don’t necessarily want to see the mistakes take root in the wild (impressionable people read this stuff). I’d also like to protect people from the grammar trolls who’ll otherwise come along and correct them with a public sneer.

So my application here is to be a sort of benign grammar police, more of a grammar elf who fixes things without calling attention to them. Although I’ve at times been mildly amused by the people who go into public with Sharpie pens to ostentatiously correct signage, I’m also really turned off by them because they’re calling attention to their own alleged superiority, which is mostly just tacky. I want a simple button that lets me gently repair the little boo-boos with a sweet, sincere little thought to myself: There, friend. None but the two of us need ever know.

8 thoughts on “Grammar Police

  1. Mike retweeted the following from the victim of a Grammar Grandstander just yesterday:

    https://twitter.com/taswell/status/316272220328558592

    Seemed apropos, as it had me thinking along the exact same lines. I’ve wanted a correction-pen service dozens of times, especially on articles in which a simple typo has been made. If WordPress came default with this functionality, it would be a sea change in online behavior.

    Even with this I expect the english language of 2100 will be all but illegible. We’re only a few decades into the online revolution and already the next generation has adapted it heavily, giving efficiency precedence over form.

    kthxbi

  2. genproofreads says:

    A brave, albeit dangerous, idea…

    The problem with your idea is that some individuals believe themselves to be correct when they are not. Arrogance can lead well-meaning Facebook users to change others’ perfectly correct sentences to fit a constructed reality.

    http://www.genproofreads.com

  3. I’d much rather be corrected than keep looking like a [insert preferred invective here]. But even a relaxed patrol of the inter webs would be time consuming, no? Perhaps start by leaving post-its in restaurant menus?

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