The grammar police are those individuals who nominate themselves to be the arbiters of the English language. To them, any mistake you make in an article, a web piece, a text, over the airwaves, or in person, is a positive disgrace to the whole of the English speaking population for which presumably you should be thoroughly flogged for committing such transgressions. Case in point, I recently received a comment that read: “Although the content was good, the massive amounts of grammar mistakes took away from the my Take. In the future please read over your work before posting since grammar is very important when it comes to comprehending the meaning and tone of the text.” At first I thought to myself, surely I must have made a lot of mistakes to have this pointed out to me for which I would maybe have been more understanding, but the so called “massive mistakes,” were three spelling errors and one punctuation error out of a nearly 700 word take.
This is why the grammar police have such a bad reputation. They often berate people for making simple mistakes or completely blow the actual errors made out of proportion. Instead of enjoying the content or focusing on what someone is saying and communicating to them, the moment they pick up on an error, any error, they become so hyper focused on the minutia of it all, that they cease to pay attention to the overall message that the person is trying to impart. The reality is, if someone texted you that “you’re house is on fire,” are you going to stop and say, I don’t understand your meaning? Communication is far more than having a perfect spelling and grammar record. People like Shakespeare, Jane Austin, and Ernest Hemingway, had terrible spelling and grammar and yet they are considered to be some of the most brilliant writers of all time. There is a vast difference between someone who writes poorly, as in their stories or articles are bad, boring, or incomprehensible, and someone who misspells a few words and occassionally butchers some of the grammar rules, but the content is understood and enjoyed by those who read it.
Intelligent ideas have nothing to do with a properly placed apostrophe.
The irony and hypocritical nature of being a part of the so called grammar police is that they aren’t perfect writers, do not have perfect spelling and grammar all the time, and do make mistakes themselves. They simply believe that everyone else shouldn’t be able to do the same. Making errors is a part of life because we are human. Spell checks, grammar checks, human checks, and certainly auto correct, are often flawed means of checking or editing your work. Even those persons with the greatest degrees in the world who edit for a living meticulously pouring themselves over someone’s writing or their own, have made errors despite their best efforts. Most of us have gone through schooling, and have learned the ins and outs of the English language, so the idea that someone might be considered stupid for writing “their,” instead of “there,” one of the most common mistakes, is splitting hairs in the worst ways. It would be like constantly telling a driver that driving 63 miles per hour instead of the 60 mile per hour speed limit, was an absolute crime even if they did it to avoid something like a dangerous truck on the road.
If grammar police cannot seem to bring themselves to get past a few errors for the sake of comprehension, their life is going to be a tough one because errors are everywhere and constantly and routinely pointing them out, is going to be a vast waste their time as it would for the police officer to arrest every individual who went 63 miles per hour instead of the stated 60 miles per hour on the freeway. There will be no point in life where everyone will be able to write flawlessly or that errors won’t be made, not only by the writers, but the grammar police. If a story, news article, or take teaches you something, interests you, touches you in some way, or gives you a different point of view, the writer has done their job. If a story is in actuality riddled with spelling, grammar, and punctuation errors at every turn, there may be actually be a comprehension issue worthy of pointing out such errors.
Just for the record, I am almost 100% certain this take has errors in it. I didn't proof read it at all, so their!