Dear Grammar Police

I generally try and refrain from cursing in my blog posts. But, for Grammar Police, I have two words: F*ck Off!

If you’re a teacher or an academic, who is responsible for correcting your students’ grammar and spelling, by all means, go right ahead and do that. When you encounter someone on the Internet who is not using perfect spelling and grammar, resist the urge.

No one declared you a Guardian of Grammar.

When someone is using less than perfect grammar, there could be several reasons, including:

  • People may be writing in a language that is not their first language;
  • Other people may not have achieved the same level of education as you;
  • They may have a form of neurodivergence that makes it challenging to communicate in writing; and/or
  • Something as simple as their phone’s autocorrect feature may not be particularly cooperative.

When you police grammar, you may be perpetuating classism or ableism. You may also be derailing and dismissing any valid points made in the original comment because you’re so focused on grammar that you haven’t bothered to think about what the person has written.

So, what do you do, self-proclaimed Guardian of Grammar, when you see a comment that breaks the sacred rules of grammar?

It’s quite simple really: If you understand the meaning of the comment, respond to that if you choose. If you don’t understand the meaning, you can always ask to clarify but try do it from the perspective of you not understanding rather than them being unclear. That just makes for better communication.