One of the only downsides to having a good education – aside from the lifetime of debt and crippling self-doubt – is the hangover of pedantry it can leave us with.
Some of us graduate from university expecting to be addressed only in proper sentences. We feel like we’re doing a good deed when we ring up a friend to tell them they split an infinitive on their latest tweet, and we sure as hell don’t mess with Oxford Commas.
Grammatical pedantry is one of the only socially acceptable prejudices we can use to make ourselves feel like we’re better than someone else. And with everyone communicating on phones and tablets – opportunity is rife.
Unfortunately, the prescriptive, holier-than-thou crowd has made its way over from the university library to the dating scene.
In an article about the crossover between dating and poor language skills, the Wall Street Journal looked into just some of the examples of our seemingly growing hostility towards potential dates that can’t spell.
As well as someone comparing finding out a date’s grammar isn’t perfect to having an allergic reaction to cats, the article cited dating site Match’s research, which found that 88% of women and 75% of men cared more about grammar than anything else in a potential mate.
Once upon a time, as a naive graduate, I would have been put off a date if they had no awareness of tense or a habit of boycotting vowels. I had a degree – I wasn’t about to mix with complete mavericks.
But since living in the adult world for a few years, life has taught me two things. Never, ever ask anyone how it’s going with the home they’re in the process of buying, and pedantry is a much bigger turn-off than flouting grammar rules.
But not only that – how we use language with technology bears very little resemblance to our grasp of grammar or ability to write properly. If anything, those who have grasped that our phones aren’t being marked by OCR probably have a little bit more going on upstairs.
In a world where texting is the prelude to any romance, an intelligent man doesn't need to use all of his letters all of the time to prove anything.
The lead-up to a first date should be fun. It's a test of conversation skills - which is very different from grammar. The odd 'u' instead of 'you' reveals far less about someone than his ability to hold a David Brent quote-off.
A man who texts with efficiency is a man who follows his own agenda. A woman who doesn’t agonize over getting a 100% apostrophe rate is a woman who has better, more interesting things to do with her time.
Get your good grammar fix from a book, perhaps read a few dictionaries. But if you’re solely looking to find someone who knows his way around a semi-colon, you can’t complain when it turns out he knows his way around little else.
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