Last updated on Feb 17, 2016
By Julian Wilson
With increasing popularity in online sites and apps for dating and finding relationships, one would think that the ‘looks’ and personality of a person would matter most to their potential lover. However, to some, those qualities aren’t the only ones that are considered. Sometimes, the make-or-break decision that one has to make, revolves around how well their lover can spell simple words.
Surprising? Maybe. But equally as important for realistic situations that can happen during sessions of online dating.
According to a Wall Street Journal article by Georgia Wells entitled, “What’s Really Hot on Dating Sites? Proper Grammar” (Oct. 1, 2015), various relationships fell through due to poor and improper use of grammar and incorrect spelling.
“Learning a potential mate doesn’t know the difference between ‘there,’ ‘they’re,’ and ‘their’ is like discovering she loves cats,” said ‘OkCupid’ user, Jeff Cohen, when recounting on how he felt when he received a text from his date that night, that read: “I will see you their.”
As the article progressed, John McWhorter, a linguistics professor at Columbia University, said, “Grammar snobbery is one of the last permissible prejudices.”
One reason grammar and spelling is judged under the spotlight, is because it reflects and mirrors one’s level of effort, or lack thereof. In light of this, how do students feel about grammar-correctness in ongoing relationships?
In the mind of senior electronic media major, Eric Goodmark, shortened phrases and abbreviations pass, but not complete, grammatical incorrectness. “If it’s an accident, it’s fine, just correct it. I’m not the grammar police but if someone legitimately doesn’t know the rules of grammar, I think that’s ridiculous, especially at our age,” Goodmark said.
Cara Grogilo, a senior art education major, thinks that it could be a turnoff, depending on how ‘bad’ their spelling is, and whether it’s on purpose or not. “I wouldn’t say that it would be a deal-breaker. People make mistakes all the time and I’m not going to pretend that I’ve never misspelled something before,” Grogilo said. “I don’t mind if people use abbreviations for words in texts, as long as these same people don’t formally write the same way they text.”
For senior broadcast major, Akeem Victor, he believes that if it’s accidental use, it can be considered acceptable, but if it’s on purpose, the opposite applies. “I believe it’s okay to misspell words through text, sometimes. Most people correct themselves when making an error in text by using an astericks. Mistakes do happen, however, how frequently they happen can display childish or lazy behavior,” Victor said.
In my opinion, I share a similar, personal view on this subject as Grogilo, Victor and Goodmark. I believe it’s important to know the clear difference between ‘text’ language, ‘formal’ language and ‘casual’ language and the times that are acceptable to use the three and switch between them. All things, including language, begin at a foundation and I don’t think people should start using variations and shortcuts of it until after they know its rules and fundamentals.
In the words of author, Jeffrey Gitomer, “Your grammar is a reflection of your image. Good or bad, you have made an impression. And like all impressions, you are in total control.”