On Correcting Someone's Grammar

Written by on Jan 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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I wrote the article you're reading... I lead the developers, write music, used to race motorcycles, and help clients find the right features to build on their product.

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