Posted on 48 Comments

Will The Perfection Police Get a Life

Image: Grant Cochrane /

This post published early by mistake so if you got part of it before it was finished, apologies all round for that.

If this post offends your sensibilities however, I apologise not….

I do have an issue with all the perfect specimens of the human race who make no mistakes in life, and NEVER, EVER get anything wrong.  How wonderful it must be to be so perfect.

I frequently come across tweets and messages from the grammar police, and now and again I have a whinge about it on Twitter, but to see people complaining at this time of year just seems to me to be petty and ridiculous.   I am talking about the regular, average social media user who uses the platform to socialise for whatever reason they need to use it for.

With Twitter especially, we are dealing with quickly written material that is used conversationally.  Mistakes happen.

I have to wonder just why so many of us think we are superior just because we may have a slightly better grasp on the (often odd) nuances, and finer details of our language.

What causes us to be so intolerant? Why does it irritate us so?

Would it really upset our lives if I wrote their instead of there, or wheir instead of where?  We’ll still get up tomorrow, and we’ll still be able to do what we do everyday.

If a regular tweeter puts comments and apostrophes in the wrong place on Twitter, why does it irritate so many of us?

It’s Christmas and with the New Year coming up, I’d hope that more of us would become more tolerant of our friends and acquaintances in the real world and online.

There are many reasons why online friends might struggle with where we put our commas and full stops, but does that detract from our story?

I know I would much rather read the blog of someone who has a story to tell – but has a few commas in the wrong place, than a grammatically perfect piece of self promotional drivel.

Yes, an easy reading passage with no mistakes is a joy to read, but come on, moaning about people that you think don’t even try to get it right smacks of bullying to me.

Here are 5 reasons that someone might not be able to use perfect grammar.

1-  Culture and Ethnicity
English might not be someones first language, but if they are communicating and making friends, they are successful.

2- Life Circumstances
A disability could make every word and sentence an achievement akin to climbing Mount Kilimanjaro every day for the rest of us.  What gives anyone the right to assume that everyone is able to understand and use every rule in the English grammar book.

3- Technology
Autocorrect on phones tends to have the most perfectly penned grammatical whizz make frequent mistakes.  We get faster and faster at using our gadgets and more and more often we send out the most exquisitely mistaken updates.

4 – Acronymns
Using  language for mobile phones, Twitter, or Facebook tends to become addictive and can spill over to other communication channels.  Some of us do it  by mistake and some by choice.

5 – Early Experiences
For whatever reason or lifestyle, or the way some of us have been brought up or taught – may have meant that the rules and regulations surrounding grammar and spelling may have passed someone by.


All of the people who fall into these 5 reasons have just as much right to communicate online as the rest of us.

I don’t see why it is fair for anyone to make someone else feel inferior or bad because they are not perfect. Welcome to the real world.

And while I am at it, complaining about people who flogged their blog on Christmas Eve is just lame. No, it wasn’t directed at me, but I did see someone get upset over the tweet when it went out by a prominent blogger.   We all need to be a bit more tolerant of our fellow users.

For some, Twitter and Facebook friends are the only contact they have got in the world – remember that.

Give everyone respect for trying and for forging new friendships in our online world.

Surely there is room in the mix for all of us without resorting to playground bullying tactics.

There are situations and updates that merit concern, but I wish the perfection police would keep their own people politics private.

ps – I have not spell checked this post so I take full responsibility for any mistakes within.

Scottish Mum

48 thoughts on “Will The Perfection Police Get a Life

  1. Well said. One of the reasons I started blogging was to practice my written English. It’s my first language but it’s easy to become lazy. I’m sure it’s full of grammatical mistakes but i love reading my memories back and at the end of the day its for me.

    1. Well done you. Blogging is for everyone and practice makes it a lot easier for most of is to write a sensible piece for others to read.

  2. It doesn’t take much to respect each other. I think that’s all I can say on this.

    1. Thanks again. x

  3. So well put, my grammar is far from perfect and I am prone to mistakes. It won’t stop me blogging and tweeting though.

    1. Thank you, this subject got a lot of people talking. Nothing would stop me blogging or tweeting now.

  4. I have really mixed feelings on this one.

    On the one hand, I understand people have different backgrounds, different levels of ability, and there are a thousand reasons for typos, spelling mistakes etc. Only an idiot thinks someone is less interesting, intelligent or worthwhile on the basis of spelling or grammar.

    On the other hand, though, I’m a professional writer and my own personal preference is not to read blogs that have consistently very poor grammar and spelling. I find it too jarring, and it detracts from the content. That’s my personal preference and it’s not the same as yours, but I don’t think it makes me smug or superior or judgemental.

    I think what it boils down to is manners. If someone makes a mistake, and especially when it’s someone writing a personal blog or Twitter stream, I don’t think anyone should point it out.

    My exception to this is the comedy typo. Someone accidentally tweeting “wee” instead of “see” is surely an opportunity too good to miss?

    1. You are a journalist so I imagine you have had punctuation and grammar drilled into you from an early age. I used to be intolerant until I realised that not everyone had the ability to communicate in the same way that some of us do.

      I do agree, that for professional reading, they should be error free, eg books from publishers with glaring errors can irritate me.

      Twitter should be non grammatically policed I reckon.

  5. I am someone who really struggles with spelling and where the apostrophes go and when you use them. I am dyslexic, I hate it and also fully aware that I am judged on twitter and elsewhere on it. Professionally I have to get others to proof read everything. I can’t do that on twitter ;o)

    There are some words that I just can’t spell, and on occasion can’t even get enough correct letters for spell check to tell me. So that means I can’t use that word. Rather frustrating!!

    Great post 🙂

    1. I do get others to proof read, and sometimes I still miss the odd grammar error. We are all only human and work is different to using social media as the people that we are.

      I think it is fabulous that we have a platform that we can use the way that we do and I’d hate to see anyone leave it because of spelling. That would be sad.

  6. Good one misses. I am a grammar nazi but I would never have a go at someone about it. Intrigued as to who has been holier than thou, again!

    1. I think I’ve had this convo with you before on Twitter re grammar police when I’ve been on one of my rants about it..

      I have special need here somy radar picks up more of this kind of stuff than most people I imagine.


  7. Ooo I like this, can I add a cheeky number 6 ?
    6. That blogger may be also trying to drink coffee and supervise two small pre-schoolers who are hyped up on chocolate gold coins and hell bent on causing mayhem.

    If anyone tries to come at my blog with a red pen and circle my typos I’ll be waiting, with pre-schoolers ready to unleash HOLY HELL upon them.

    1. Yes, very possible. That made me laugh and nearly spit out my coffee..


      1. ah *disclaimer – does not accept any responsibility for burns, scalds, minor or major injuries due to comment induced hot beverage spraying*


        1. Cleaning bill is in the post !!!

  8. As someone who has always had problems with my ability to spell I used to work really hard to make sure I spelled and punctuated tweets properly, often rewording things because I have no idea how to spell some words. I however realized life is far to short to worry about missing a comma in my 140 characters.
    I have been quite upset by the grammer police telling me of my ignorance for my language failings, but there are higher priorities in life. If I’m understood I’m pleased, if not, they can work it out!

    1. Hi Jane
      Twitter is a sociable platform which is intended for people to get to know people. The bland brands that tweet about nothing more than themselves end up just being follower harvesters that do nobody any good.

      I love that people feel they can join in and not feel they are being made a fool of if grammar and spelling is not perfect. I have raised an eyebrow and felt very at home with several well known novelists and journalists online who are minus their editing teams. It should be live and let live where things just don’t matter.

      I’m sorry you have felt like that, and been upset by the grammar police. Making connections and friends the way you are using social media should not have you feeling like that at all.

      I for one am happy you are sticking around on twitter.

  9. I just think if correct positioning of apostrophes is all you have to get yourself in a tizz about, then you probably don’t have the most exciting life to begin with. I would much rather see a blog post written from the heart with spelling or grammatical errors than a soulless but gramatically correct one.

    1. Yep, me too.

      I have read some fantastic blogs that were not grammatically perfect and I make some bloopers on mine that I usually spot a couple of days after I have written something..

  10. hurrah! ty (innit!). i’ve got a slow brain to fingers connection and a relaxed approach to proof reading (i.e. often it’s not) – it doesn’t mean i don’t know how to spell or write, just that i’m rushing. tweeting’s instant communication and people just type & send, we shouldn’t feel as though we are getting graded for our inaccuracies.

    some people have too much time on their hands!

    1. I agree with you. Far too much time.


  11. I have to be word perfect at work, but socialising is so much different. We all need to be more tolerant of each other, don’t we?

    I have posted for Louise as she wanted to comment, but can’t post from her phone.

    1. Thanks Louise, tho it feels a bit funny to answer the comment I just posted for you.


  12. I reckon I have a very good command of grammar and spelling – but a pretty lousy ability with my keyboard, and spelling checkers and predictive text really don’t help. Only today, my phone tried to change ‘now’ to’Mozart and if I’d been in a hurry it would have gone through things like that show that the writer is a real, live, human being. Bloggers (my iPad tried to change that to boogers) and tweeters don’t have proof readers! And long may it stay that way.

    1. Yep, thanks for the comment. We’d all be soul less, unreal tweeters if it was all perfection. I love to see how we all fit together to get on with each other. We should feel free to talk on such a fast moving platform without worrying if we have dotted our i’s and crossed our t’s perfectly.

  13. Oh dear – it seems I was getting so into my rant that I made a mistake in my first comment! “That doesn’t make them great blogs” should be “That doesn’t mean they’re not great blogs”.


    1. I knew what you meant lol.

  14. Good post. Having a job supporting adults with life skills, I am very aware that poor grammar can be due to learning difficulties, disabilities or other barriers to learning and education. Many of my students would suffer a severe knock to their already fragile confidence if they were criticised, to the point that it is likely that they would stop contributing. This saddens me as they have every right to enjoy technology as everyone else. I hope people can stop and think before they criticise others because criticism targeted at a vulnerable person can cause of lot of distress and exclude them from a vital source of help and support.

    1. Thanks Deb.

      I would hate to think that someone walks away from the interaction that the likes of Twitter can bring, just because of what someone thinks is the “right way to tweet or blog.

      I’d love to think that anyone can access this technology, no matter how they write as its just such a fabulous way to interact.

  15. Good post. I must admit to being a bit of a stickler for grammar and some mistakes do make me cringe, but I would never dream of commenting or tweeting about it. That is just rude. Blogs are not supposed to be superbly written, polished, or even articulate (although some undoubtedly are). Several of the top rated blogs in Tots 100 have consistent spelling and grammatical errors. That doesn’t make them great blogs. Some people look for any way to criticise, and it doesn’t do the reputation of the blogging community any favours. It’s hard enough to start blogging and persevere with it without being bullied. Virtual or not, bullying is bullying. I’ve stopped following several so-called “top” bloggers on Twitter because they were ignorant, patronising or just too smug for words. Some of them even managed to be all three. I don’t care how many followers they have, how many visitors their blog gets, or how much money they make from their blog. If they can’t treat people with respect, they don’t deserve a second of my time. Real life is hard enough without putting up with cr*p from people online too.

    Thanks for the chance to rant – I feel better now! 😉

    1. You’re welcome, on my blog, ranting is allowed.. The thing I love about blogging is that absolutely anyone can do it and be part of the community.

      We don’t rely on the content of other people in the way that forums do. We create our own ideas, make our own material, and some very badly written blogs have some fantastic messages to put across.

      Thank you

  16. Thank you Michelle. That must be the fastest comment in history.

    Happy New Year to you when it comes.


  17. Well said love. My life is full of mistakes and especially grammatical ones. I just find it hard to get to gribs with, despite have a masters with distinction! whoops

    I am happy to know the person and I do not worry about their spelling or such.

    Happy New Year.

    Mich x

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