The Hell Butterfly

Grammar – why putting the effort in counts

Bad grammar is one of the biggest bug bears for me. It isn’t difficult to put capital letters and punctuation in the correct places. Equally it isn’t hard to know the difference between your ‘whether’ and your ‘weather’ – and yes I did get an email on K! Dating today with this mistake. My reaction was a heaving sigh, a shake of the head, and deleting the message without responding.

Putting in a little bit of effort to figure out these simple grammatical elements can make a big difference in the impression you give to a person you want to contact. Trying to get it right, even if you don’t quite manage it, shows you give at least a little bit of a damn about the way you write. Similarly, if you repeatedly insist on not putting in the effort to spell your words correctly, or even put a full stop, it shows you obviously don’t care that much. It is such a simple thing so what does it say about you if you aren’t willing to try and get it right? I am about to give you some examples of messages I received, in which you can tell if effort has been made or not, and my reaction to them in regards to whether I chose to reply, or to facedesk.

Example #1:

‘hi there. fancey chatting at all’


Chancey a chat?

The only redeeming point, if anything even can be redeemed from this, is the full stop. At least he remembered that he was writing two sentences. After that, all hope is lost. No capital letters, which in itself doesn’t bother me as much as other grammatical issues. ‘Fancey’? What is that? Is that like Chancey? It’s not difficult. Also, is that a question or a statement? ‘fancey chatting’. Where is the question mark? Are you asking me if I want to chat or telling me you want to chat? Additionally, you have given me no incentive to want to talk to you. Aside from bringing out the Grammar Nazi in me, you have left me no interesting information about yourself, and have made no effort to engage in the main objective of this website – reading my profile and responding accordingly. At least try and sound interested in the person you are messaging, you dilbury. Oh, and he didn’t have a photo. Helpful.

Example #2:

Message heading: Wanting to know an interesting charactor

The title in itself made me cringe a little bit. He spelt ‘character’ wrong.

This is the full introductory message:

Hey there Megan [Nice to know he took note of my name]. I was interested in your profile. I’d love to love to know [Wait, “love to love to know” .. So you mean you wouldn’t love to know more, but you’d love if that were the case? What? Maybe this is a simple mistake on his part, so I shall dismiss this for now] what your novel is about, as the author is definitely an interesting character [Alright. Nicely introduced the subject, got my curiosity. I’ll keep reading].

I would love to know what type of music youre [GAH. Where is the apostrophe?] into as well. I will confess to enjoying a vegetarian meal too [Confess? Like eating a vegetarian meal is a crime now?].

On the whole, this wasn’t too bad. Capital letters are in the right places and, other than a few slip ups, his grammar is there. I decided to email him back, but his replies have been a little vague and almost strained since. I haven’t felt comfortable talking to him. This goes to show that, whilst grammar is important, conversational skills need to be there as well. The 8/10 for grammar got me to reply, but the awkwardness and rigidity of the follow-up conversation hasn’t left me wanting more. It is essential to get the right balance.

Example #3:

Now for this example, I won’t divulge too much to you – this is the one I messaged first, and his replies have been somewhat more positive than I had anticipated. The conversation is going too well to want to reveal too much at this stage. Suffice to say, he did it right. Capital letters are sometimes lacking, and he often misses apostrophes, but his conversational skills are very good. Grammar and spelling gets him about a 6, but his ability to hold a conversation means that this doesn’t matter so much. I can overlook the non-capitalised pronouns and missing apostrophes because I’m too busy smiling at the ease in which he replies. He pays attention to my profile – and thanks to the live updates I can see he has been checking back to make sure he gets the details right – and both responds to my question and gives his own. This is how a conversation should be. And he also gets bonus points for the following:

“I’m trying to make sure I’m spelling correctly and getting all my grammar in the right places for you haha.

Before this his commented that he had looked up a word I had used on Google because he didn’t know what it meant. The fact he wasn’t afraid to admit that, and the fact that he paid attention to when I said I was an English student and so he was making a pointed effort, was flattering. This went very much in his favour. This is an example of how to do it right. We have since exchanged a few emails and his attention to detail and ease of conversation, as well as the obvious effort he is making on a grammatical front, have got my interest.

Putting in the effort counts. As you can see from my three examples, the occasions where no effort has been made at all shows a laziness which I will not look twice at. On the other hand, making an effort to type like a normal human being shows you give a damn, both about the way you actually write, and about the impression you want to make on the person receiving your message. As in the case of #3, whilst the grammar is not perfect, the effort is obvious, and the freedom of his conversation is flawless. At least someone is getting it right.


3 responses

  1. Grammar is the difference between: “Let’s eat, Grandma.” and “Let’s eat Grandma.”

    Love this post – grammar really gets me angry, but some people are just unaware, just be thankful you can correctly express your thoughts! It will be more beneficial to you when you search for jobs.

    January 29, 2014 at 1:07 am

    • My old English teacher had that Grandma quote on a poster in her room – it made us all conscious of when we were doing it wrong. I’ll admit I was very aware of my grammar when writing this post! It would be awkward to get something wrong. I’m glad you liked it, and I agree – hopefully I can flex my literary muscles if I ever get a job interview.

      January 29, 2014 at 9:56 am

  2. Pingback: The Book Blogger TMI Tag | The Little Engine that Couldn't

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