Misspelling, poor grammar and the grammar police

I’m not sure if there’s a burning interest in this topic but I’ve read several comments lately referring to the “grammar police” in a few other threads. In another thread someone made an off-topic comment with a grammar complaint. I replied and, unfortunately, the thread veered further off-topic, I’m sorry to say. Anyway, I decided to start this thread to air out people’s feelings about misspelling, poor grammar and the so-called grammar police. Here’s my take on the issue pasted from that other thread:

Among our members we span the entire spectrum of writing ability and facility with English. As someone who prizes proper use of the language, I realize if we filtered comments for correct grammar and spelling, I don’t think we’d have much of a community left. I fear I also cross the line with regard to always using the language properly. It’s a work in progress.

I’ve learned to read over these errors and try to grasp the intent and meaning of anyone who comments here. I’ve become proficient in reading typo! More importantly, we are all connected with our struggle with diabetes. Let’s not stilt the communication with some expected proficiency in writing.

I get where you’re coming from but I want my brother and sister diabetics to feel comfortable and at home. Don’t you think that’s better?

I later added this:

Please excuse my off-topic excursion. If it goes any further, I’ll spilt it off to a separate topic.

I think the best way to influence good use of language is by example. People do notice and hopefully more of us will seek to improve their language skills over time.

Here’s a humorous example of the value of punctuation:

Let’s eat, grandma.

Let’s eat grandma.

Anyone else want to weigh in on this topic?


With the advent of mobile technology such as smart phones etc, proper grammar has become less expected in casual communication than ever before. As long as a post is readable and understandable grammar is a non issue. This is a discussion forum not an academic arena. Grammar police would be detrimental to participation.


First off, it’s “typonese” - or, as in the case of one particular member, “typoese.” :wink:

I agree with you @Terry4, that it’s definitely not community-building to correct other people’s grammatical errors. People originating from many countries and with a wide variety of English skill just cannot be expected to adhere “proper grammar.” Like you, I’ve become adept of figuring out the intended meaning, despite many typos. Like you, I try and use correct grammar - though not so much to teach by example as to help make my words better understood by others.

Unlike you, I’m a terrible typist, so I’m guilty of many typos! (Thanks for the edit feature!)

And on the humorous typo note: My son once wrote an essay that included, “…walking down the street and seeing a man eating cake.” His teacher’s comment: Dangerous neighborhood!"


I know the grammar police lurk but I rarely see their bad behavior displayed here. I know this is an old issue. One commenter in the other thread mentioned plenty of discussion about it going back to the pre-internet Usenet days.

I’m thinking that sting of a grammar correction in an online forum lasts much longer than the context that it appeared. Perhaps that could explain the strong emotional and lasting memory. I imagine it resonates in some with a distasteful childhood memory of an insensitive teacher correction.

I agree that the grammar police do not help with communication.

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Good grammar is becoming a generation thing. As @Sam19 said today’s media places a lot less emphasis on it.

Of course I was born before my time, I have always been poor at grammar. But I do try.

That’s a sentence fragment, @Stemwinder_Gary :slight_smile:


Grammar policing is completely unnecessary and unhelpful in this type of forum, in my opinion. While comments are written and read, the structure of these sorts of conversations is closer, rhetorically, to a round-table verbal discussion than to formally written exchanges.

For that reason, grammar policing tends to feel bad, in a similar manner to Great Aunt Edna’s persistent interruptions on the playground to remind one that “whom” is to be used instead of “who” if it’s objective rather than… Remember that? The annoying adult trying to police the way kids speak to each other? Online forums based on discussion tend to operate, in my opinion, closer to the playground conversation than to something where “proper grammar or diction” is relevant at all.



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Sometimes auto-correct can turn something into a grammatical error. This happened to me here once and I was severely reprimanded by someone who I don’t believe is here anymore. Didn’t make me feel very good.

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Besides interesting subjects under discussion, what attracted me to this site is the legibility of the comments. And proper grammar certainly helps communication. I never police grammar. However, some people on other sites make it their rebellious mission in life to not punctuate nor capitalize and use the wrong homophone in every instance they can. When that is their statement, then my response is to not read it. I do appreciate this site and the people who write concise and to-the-point responses. Thank you all…


I agree, @Willow4. While I accept people’s grammar missteps, I prefer to compose and edit my messages to ensure the fewest possible errors. I often edit my posts for the first 20 minutes or so after posting.

I think taking care to incorporate good grammar and spelling shows respect for the reader in that you have attempted to make it as easy as possible for them to read and understand your message.

Edited to correct spelling of “ensure.”




You’re right. Not the first time I’ve mixed up those two words!

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im horrible when it comes to grammar. i just never understood it when i was taught about it. you can sit there for hours with me and i still wont understand what you are talking about. it gets frustrating when there are grammar police. im good at spelling and can read what others are saying. so i have no issues with that. even if someone has good grammar i still wont get it. or at least i think they have grammar.

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This is a great piece on the topic we’re discussing. Check out the picture of the spelling police cat!

I can assure you that I ensured that my car was insured.


Sounds like the start of a new word game.

Fortunately for us, learning is a lifelong opportunity. I didn’t get my college degree until I was 48. It was during this time that I started to learn how to write. It is an art and as such, never perfected.

No time like the present to start to learn anything you choose.

That’s all well and good but not everyone that uses poor grammar is being disrespectful. There are plenty of people that just do not excel at written language, to some extent I count myself among them. I strive to make myself easy to understand but as some may have noticed my grammar is not always up to par. I make no apologies because I give my best.

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Let’s stay on topic! :wink: