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On Correcting Someone's Grammar

written by Steven on January 24, 2012

We've all been there: having a great conversation with a new flame, you really like this person, and then suddenly, at the end of a great story s/he says "…well, supposably that really happened." Or your girl/boy-friend says "this opposed to that," instead of "as opposed to." What do you do? How do you handle it? Here are some tips:

When is it NOT OK to correct grammar

  • In the middle of a heated argument.
  • During a sales pitch.
  • During sweet, sweet love.
  • When s/he's crying.
  • When you're firing someone.
  • When you're being interviewed for a job.

When is it OK to correct grammar

  • When you've been asked.
  • When you're speaking to your child.
  • When you're speaking to your parent.
  • When you're editing someone's speech or presentation.
  • When you've decided that this is the perfect moment to reveal what an enormous asshole you really are.
  • When you no longer have the patients to deal with this stupid person.

What are some ways to correct grammar

  • Just tell them right then and there.
  • With a link to an article that explains the grammar faux pas.
  • Make the same mistake (at a later date) and ask if it's correct, beginning a conversation about it where you can discover the proper grammar together.
  • Sometime later make a joke about someone else making the same mistake, acting like you never noticed them making it.
  • Write a (surprisingly passive-aggressive) blog post about correcting grammar where you illustrate their mistakes as examples.
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Chris Hawkins
Chris Hawkins said on January 24, 2012

>> When you no longer have the patients to deal with this stupid person.


Brennan said on January 24, 2012

Antagonizing someone during sweet, sweet love can be surprisingly effective.


Jonathon said on January 25, 2012

@Chris Hawkins: that’s spelling, not grammar ;-)

Becca said on January 27, 2012

I accept any kind of correction ’coz i know my grammar is not 100% perfect. But my spelling is 100% purfect ;)

Tim McCormack
Tim McCormack said on January 30, 2012
illustrate they’re mistakes


Steven Bristol
Steven Bristol said on January 30, 2012

@Tim: D’oh!

Sue said on January 30, 2012

Going to reveal how really big an a@*hole I am:

Tina said on January 30, 2012

@Sue. Good one, much better than the usual Wikipedia quotes!

Jamie said on January 30, 2012

We should have a contest to the most grammatically horrendous mess ever. I enjoy this blog. This post particularly. my pals call me the grammar nazi, no clue why?

Douglas Robertson
Douglas Robertson said on February 18, 2012

“Or you’re girl/boy-friend says…”

Really? I think you meant ‘your’? Though I can’t tell if you made the mistake as part of the cheekiness of the article.

Steven Bristol
Steven Bristol said on February 20, 2012

@Douglas: no, i’m just an idiot and so is my editors [sic].

About Steven
Steven Bristol has written code for the past 20 years. He likes running, making music, and pretending to be an extrovert. Oh and Steve shaves all his body hair.

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