The study's aim was to find if there was any correlation between someone's impulse to correct other people's grammar and their personality.
Have you ever made an accidental typo and watched someone gleefully step in to correct you? Well, they are probably jerks. No, that's not me making a personal opinion. A new study from the University of Michigan suggests those who correct typos are probably jerks. Those correcting you can often seem gleeful, haughty and act like they are doing you a favor by correcting you. Off the top of my head, Piers Morgan is one that comes to mind. If I had a penny for every time he responded to arguments and comments on Twitter by simply correcting their grammar. The new study shows that grammar-Nazi quality from a person may be a reflection of the level of their agreeableness overall, reported Insider. The study aimed to find if there was actually any correlation between someone's impulse to correct other people's grammar and their personality.
Academics tend to view 'grammar police' as just a few grumpy characters but the study wanted to see if there was an actual correlation to their personality. The study interviewed 80 people through Amazon's Mechanical Turk to go through a batch of emails. The emails contained spelling mistakes and typos including the most common ones — "teh" instead of "the" and "you're" instead "your." Once they went through the emails, they were asked to judge the sender on their "perceived intelligence, friendliness, and other attributes."
The email was an ad for a housemate with some of them containing errors while others had typos. Participants completed a 10-item evaluation scale for each message, which measured their impressions of the writer. The participants were also asked to complete a Big Five personality assessment and answered demographic and language attitude questions. It was found that both typos and grammar errors had a negative impact on the evaluation scale. "In this paper, we focus specifically on actual written errors and the ways in which social interpretations of them may be influenced by characteristics of the listener," read the report. Grammatical errors typos also played a huge role in marketing. "Marketing scholars have found that both assessments of believability and actual consumer purchasing are affected by whether or not written copy (ad copy or reviews) contains errors," stated the report.
The questionnaire was framed to gauge people's level of extroversion and agreeableness. The study found that extroverted people were less likely to correct people's mistakes as introverts did. Extroverts were more generous in their assessments of both grammar errors and typos, while introverts were sensitive to typos across all levels of grammar. The research team suggested this could be due to extroverts being happier to separate a person's mistakes from their core self. Introverts may intimately connect the two, suggested the study.
The most important correlation deduced from the study was that there was a negative correlation between a person's level of agreeableness and their likelihood of highlighting the errors. It showed that those who were not open-minded were more likely to act as 'grammar police.' "We could predict that participants higher on the agreeableness scale will be less bothered by written errors of any kind," stated the study. The study is not too conclusive, considering the small sample size of people interviewed but it's a definite start and reflects a pattern.