The past two days I've had specific discussions with two different people about their frustration towards others who insist on correcting the grammar and spelling of others in a public forum.
And then, I saw this FB post by my old pal Jon Hunt, which sparked an interesting and healthy discussion about it.
And out of it came this comment by Robert Subiaga, which I love:
Johns Hopkins has a gifted
ed program called CTY, and they have a manual on teaching writing to
gifted teens. In the very beginning it talks about writing having two
1. There are no rules.
2. Whatever works, works.
Now grammar evolved for a specific reason. To make communication
better. (Though even then, "better" is a slippery term. More accurate?
More artful? And to who? If texting in proper Enlish grammar makes you
less likely to be understood among today's tweens, is it better?)
This all means that if communication is WORKING, it is still good. No
matter what one might think of it. (Or get mad at it because it's
working for others, but not for you!)
The idea of teaching
grammar shouldn't be that you're trying to *replace* grammar that's
"bad." Not any more than in music, you learn classical music theory to
replace three-chord song or big-beat rap sensibilities as "wrong."
You're just expanding the repertoire.
"Good" (that is, officially accepted) grammar has a purpose. It's the
most effective form of common, accurate communication across large
groups of people. But to lose sight of the purpose--when it's probably
being met--as a way to lord it over people is bullshit.
you know, if someone wants to point out a supposed mistake, the error
usually--like "Let's eat, Grandma" vs. "Let's eat Grandma"--makes a good
joke. If Grammar Nazis just became Grammar Comedians they'd have a lot
fewer people pissed at them. :))
Here's my two cents:
It is more important to be kind, respectful, and mindful of the feelings of others than it is to be right. Or look smart. Or be authoritative on a subject. If you feel that someone is harming their reputation, hurting someone's feelings, or making a social gaffe that could negatively affect them in the future, then you should - kindly, and gently - take them aside and privately guide them to the proper form. Correcting someone on a public forum is the epitome of an arrogant asshole. If it's a small mistake that will not, in fact, result in negative consequences? Let it the fuck go. Love people more than language. Care about making others feel good more than making yourself look great.