The Grammar Police Take Over Online Dating

Using Correct Grammar is Important in Online DatingBy: Erika Ettin

I’m not embarrassed to admit that I own a shirt that says, “I judge you when you use poor grammar.” (Don’t worry—I only wear it to sleep.) I get annoyed when people don’t end their sentences—in text or email—with a period or whatever punctuation should go there. And my aunt told me that I corrected her when she said, “Me and Mom went to the grocery store.”

I was three years old at the time.

One might say that I’m the definition of a grammar snob. I’m instead going to go ahead and call myself a "grammarist." (Guess who’s EEinDC, the author of the Urban Dictionary definition, is… me!)

Whereas I used to read things—novels, emails, the newspaper—for content, now I feel like I read things solely with the mission of finding the errors and mistakes. Sadly, I usually prove successful. Having gone through the book publishing process myself, I know how hard proofreading can be, but if you write a New York Times bestselling book, I expect an exceptional level of editing. (I’m talking about you, Fifty Shades of Grey.)

Am I the only person out there who uses proper grammar as a proxy for intelligence and/or work ethic? Are other people also upset by the fact that now correct usage gives someone bonus points when it used to be, and still should be, the baseline? As it turns out, I’m not.

According to an article last year in the Wall Street Journal called What’s Really Hot on Dating Sites? Proper Grammar, grammar is one of the top factors used in choosing a date from an online dating site. The dating site surveyed some 5,000 singles in the US and found that, besides personal hygiene (which 96% of women valued most, compared with 91% of men), they judged a date foremost by the person’s grammar. 88% of women and 75% of men surveyed said they cared about grammar most, putting it ahead of a person’s confidence and teeth. I was shocked by this… in a pleasant way! (Though I still prefer that my dates have all their teeth.)

Most people think that writing an online dating profile is a one-time job, and they rarely change it based on its success, or lack thereof. They also try to write it as quickly as humanly possible since it’s a seemingly dreadful task that they want to get out of the way. Your online dating profile is one thing that you really should spend your time on, though. You’re putting yourself—not a product or a service—out there for the world to see, so it’s extra important to make sure you’re putting your best foot forward.

To drive the point home, here are some choice examples, taken right from both and JDate, of grammar gone wrong:

“I think my profile Warrens a response.”

  • I’ll ask Mr. Buffett what he thinks. Nope, he doesn’t think so.

“I am a lively, warm women who has a lot of energy and enjoys life.”

  • How many of you are there? More importantly, how many will show up on the date?

“Love my work and my family biking, reading,camping and hiking,preparing and eating healthy meals.”

  • I’d like to buy a comma, please, Vanna.

Even text speak, like “ur” for your, drives some people absolutely bonkers. And what happened to punctuation?

I like ur profile its pretty cool maybe we can go out sometime

  • Maybe not…

As the article says, “With crimes against grammar rising in the age of social media, some people are beginning to take action. The online dating world is a prime battleground.”

It sure is, which is why I instill in my clients—and in people in general—the benefits of reading over their profiles, reading them again, reading them aloud, printing them, having a friend review them… you get the idea. No one is perfect, of course, but we can get as close as we can by doing what’s in our control.

A final thought: As much as I’m a stickler for proper grammar, it is still important to remember that people do have different types of intelligence. While someone may not be the best writer in town, perhaps he or she is instead great at Civil War history, poetry of the 1600s, or ornithology. It’s important to decide if some initial “flaw” (in this case, a typo or error) is a deal-breaker for you.

Either way, give your profile the final once-over just in case, because no one wants to go out with someone who is “humerus”—arms just aren’t that funny.

If you like this advice and want more, check out the 8 dating tips that will change your life today!



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