Under arrest for incorrect grammar

The Outlook decided to try something new and created a pros and cons article that is formatted so “Person A” talks about a question, “Person B” responds to them and “Person A” then responds to “Person B’s” response and vice versa. Reporters Audrey Gainey and Janelle Spear debated on the topic of Grammar Police.


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Question: Why are grammar police irritating?

Answer: Janelle: Grammar police (GP) are irritating because they are always trying to correct everyone else’s grammar, as if they are superior by using proper grammar. Some people do not use proper grammar for the purpose of trying to seem cool or it does not occur to them that they have made a mistake. It is annoying how the GP are always trying to fix everyone else’s mistakes.

Audrey: What is the point of purposefully using incorrect grammar? If someone desired to use improper grammar, it would be obvious, assuming they would be hyperbolizing. Grammar police would not be annoying if people learned how to correctly apply the foundation of the English language.

Janelle: The GP correct others to show the other person they did in fact make a mistake. What is the point of that? I believe the GP do it to make the person feel bad and because of how school systems are run now, some students do not ever learn how to properly use grammar or even how to identify it. Also, if someone corrects another on their grammar, the GP clearly knew what they meant because if they did not, they would not have understood the information that was said by the less formal speaker.

Q. What are the Grammar Police trying to accomplish?

A. Janelle: When the GP correct someone, they are attempting to improve the less formal speaker’s grammar, yet the only thing they have accomplished is starting an argument.  It is a selfish act when the GP correct others for the purpose of possibly bragging about having stronger, more accurate vocabulary.

Audrey: We are trying to accomplish a generation that can comprehend the differences between ‘you’re’, and ‘your’, ‘their’, ‘they’re’, and ‘there’ just for starters. I think we are trying to improve grammatical skills.


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Why is incorrect grammar so annoying?

A. Audrey: Have you ever edited a peer’s paper or scrolled down your newsfeed and were blasted by incorrect grammar? Well, I have and it is annoying. I usually comment with the corrections they should make. I do this for the sole purpose of bettering their education. The intention of correcting someone’s grammar is not to embarrass them, or make them feel bad, it is to improve that person’s grammar proficiency.

Janelle: Some people are not as good at spelling and grammar as others. Some people may have a learning disability that limits their vocabulary and grammar usage. It could really hurt someone’s feelings if you correct them on something they can not help or they did not see. Grammar is not something everyone is good at.

Audrey: There are two learning disabilities that have a significant effect on the writing process; dyslexia and dysgraphia. Both of which have affected about 5-10 percent of the population according to PBS. So even though some people may be restricted when it comes to grammar because of a disability, 90-95 percent of the population should not have a problem with that. There is no shame in being good at something. If one is excelling in grammar and someone else is struggling they should be able to help them. Grammar police have such a negative connotation when the primary purpose of correcting someone’s grammar is to prevent them from having poor grammar in the future.What is so bad about that?

Q. Is the content hard to decipher when the reader is distracted by erroneous grammar?

A. Audrey: Readers who can spot bad grammar will end up paying more attention to the context of the badly worded sentence instead of the content of the said sentence. Sometimes grammar can be so poor that it becomes nearly impossible to uncover what the author was trying to say. This only ends up hurting the author who not only makes understanding the less formal speaker hard for the reader, but it also lessens their credibility and devalues their potential.

Janelle: If a piece is too hard to read, then they should not continue to read it. If one is on a social media site and they see a status that contains multiple grammar errors, that person may be doing it on purpose. People use slang to try to make themselves come across as “cool” or maybe they do not understand what they are really writing. Some people write things without thinking and do not catch their mistakes.

Audrey: Whatever the reason is for having bad grammar, other’s have the right to fine-tune their work. If one posts on a social media site then they open themselves up to any comment that anyone wants to make. One should not be upset over someone replying to something that they made public. They can always delete the comment, delete them from your friends, block them from that status, they are in charge of who can view and comment on their content. Grammar police are trying to help others, therefore people should focus their negative energy to those who actually cause harm. The GP are only trying to help.

In conclusion, we agree that there are and are not appropriate times to be a grammar police but that people should be more aware of what they are posting. If one has incorrect grammar in a professional manner then it would be necessary for someone to correct that person. It all depends on the situation, the context and the person. Other’s feelings are important to remember before correcting any of their grammatical errors.