The Corrections

22 Mar

Anyone who has followed me for a while on twitter will know that usually I’m a cheery, rather whimsical fellow, but that there’s one thing that’s bound to get my dander up: namely, people pointing out grammatical errors in my tweets.

Now, I realise that I should just ‘let it go’, and I’m hoping that writing about it will allow me to do just that, for once and for all.

People tweet in all sorts of ways, and I believe in the right hands it can be a genuine art form. I, like many other, take pride in honing my thoughts into <140 character chunks. However, if you look at twitter right now, what do you see? It’s overwhelming a medium for conversation.

So, my objection is primarily that the flow of ideas, the cut and thrust of conversation is paramount. Inevitably there will be spelling mistakes, grammatical errors, typos, incorrect punctuation, because the way we communicate on twitter is closer to speech than it is to writing. 

It would be profoundly irritating if every time we spoke to someone they corrected the slightest slip of the tongue, the stumble over a word. It would be rude, and ultimately would defeat conversation. This sense of deflation and irritation is something that I feel every time I think I’m sharing a beautiful, silly, funny or merely inconsequential thought and somebody feels they have to point out I’ve made a mistake. 

So can we make a deal? If I stop complaining about this on twitter, will you, the Correctionists, pause a moment and just think about the effect you are having? I know it’s painful for some of you to see these mistakes, but if I’m prepared to let it go, will you let it go too, please?

Thank you.


N.B. I haven’t proofed this text, but don’t feel you need to point out any mistakes. It’s supposed to be conversational.


9 Responses to “The Corrections”

  1. peter lindsay March 22, 2013 at 10:14 am #

    too right mate.

  2. marycigarettes March 22, 2013 at 10:22 am #

    there is something very pious about the grammar police…i’ve seen ones who put in their profile overviews that they will not follow anyone who does not know the difference between their yours and you’res….but here’s the funny thing…as much as i sense the petty place they’re coming from,it has improved my own typing/writing a little bit..not a lot..but they have made me slightly more mindful,even if their own intent needs addressing a whole lot more than my or even your writing skills…at the end of the day,moose,you’re just ace because of your essence,humour,and innate intelligence,and that is something that can’t be learned at all….rave on mister.

  3. cacophonyx March 22, 2013 at 11:58 am #

    I fear it is a really nasty habit that people fall into – it’s often the ‘easiest’ thing to do to point out a peccadillo than to expend the effort to come up with anything more creative as a response. Your request is a perfectly reasonable one.

    (It’s even worse in real life… everyone knows a numpty who picks up on every little thing one says in error… grr!)

  4. Alice Buckley (@alicecrumbs) March 22, 2013 at 12:44 pm #

    Yes. Don’t listen to them, they’re loosers.

  5. Oldcoalman March 22, 2013 at 12:46 pm #

    Nevertheless, perhaps those who complain about being corrected are just making excuses for their lack of precision, laziness, general ignorance or who knows what else. We all went to school and I am sure we did not think the teacher pious or chief constable of the “grammar police”. Or did we? I think it is often about slipping standards although I concede that we or our fingers, all make mistakes.

    • mooseallain March 22, 2013 at 1:35 pm #

      My point is specifically about the nature of twitter. I approve of correct usage in most media.

  6. Phil D March 22, 2013 at 1:53 pm #

    I hope it works, although I fear a lot of these pedants are rather like elitest trolls: they delight it pointing out their supposed superiority and don’t really care if you don’t like it. I hope that in writing this blog it does bring some catharsis.

  7. Jim Gunnee March 27, 2013 at 1:19 pm #

    Thanks for this post Moose –

    In normal life I approve of correct usage for spelling and grammar, and have been known to mention it when someone makes an obvious error – not to get some malicious joy at being right, but more because things-being-right is better than things-being-wrong.

    But you are spot on with Twitter being different – it’s conversational, and you shouldn’t stop any form of conversation to correct someone else, unless you think the meaning has become obscured.

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