Do Grammar Mistakes Annoy You? You Might Be an Introvert

Your temperament may fuel your dislike of typos and grammar errors.

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Source: Unsplash

Call me picky, but typos and grammar mistakes bother me. I might judge you — just a little bit — if there are a lot of them in your email or online dating profile.
Turns out, I’m not alone in this. And according to a recent study, being a grammar stickler may have something to do with my introversion.

 The study, conducted by linguists at the University of Michigan, found that introverts were more likely to be annoyed by typos and grammatical mistakes than extroverts. And, interestingly, we don’t want to live with the people who commit these errors, either. (More about that later.)

First, let’s take a closer look at the study, then we’ll explore why introverts might be the ultimate grammar sticklers.

 The Grammar/Typo Study

Linguists Julie Boland and Robin Queen showed people some emails. These emails were supposed to be responses to an advertisement looking for a roommate. Some of the emails were perfectly well written, while others had some typos and grammos. A “grammo” is a mistake involving knowledge of the rules of language, like substituting “their” for “there.” A typo is a little more innocent — it’s hitting the wrong key on the keyboard and, for instance, producing “teh” instead of “the.”

 The participants were then asked whether they agreed with statements like “the writer seems considerate,” “the writer seems trustworthy,” and “the writer seems friendly.” Their ratings were combined to create an overall “good housemate” score.

The participants, all 80 of them, were Americans who came from a range of backgrounds and were of various ages.

 The researchers also had participants fill out questionnaires about their own personalities, based on the Big Five traits — opennessconscientiousnessextroversionagreeableness, and neuroticism.

The results? Introverts were more likely than extroverts to rate people as poor roommates if their grammar or spelling was bad — and therefore didn’t want to live with them.

Some Other Findings

There were a few other findings, but for the most part, it’s what you’d expect: Agreeable people didn’t mind grammos. Conscientious people saw typos as a real problem. Oddly, levels of neuroticism didn’t predict any kind of bias toward proper grammar.
The study also found that the second group of people — those who scored lower in agreeableness — were bothered by mistakes as well. People who are agreeable are generally kind, sympathetic, cooperative, and considerate. People who score low in agreeableness are the opposite; they lack empathy and put their own interests above those of others.

So it makes sense that people who are disagreeable — whether they’re introverted or extroverted — would judge others for their mistakes.

Why Do Mistakes Bother Introverts?
But introverts aren’t necessarily disagreeable. So why do grammar mistakes and typos bother them?
The finding about introversion surprised the researchers. Robin Queen told the Guardian, “We hadn’t quite anticipated that introversion would have the effect it did.”
Queen is a linguist, not a personality expert, so she’s not certain why introverts are more bothered by mistakes. But she hypothesizes that it has to do with introverts being more sensitive to variability. Variations from the norm — like spelling and grammar mistakes — require extra processing, which increases arousal.
Introverts are already walking around in a hyper-aroused state. They’re prone to overstimulation and overwhelm, as well as social burnout, a.k.a. the introvert hangover. So processing a mistake can heighten their arousal just a little and put introverts in an uncomfortable place.
“Maybe there’s something about extroverts that makes them less bothered by it,” Queen explained. “Extroverts enjoy variability and engaging with people. They find that energizing. This could be an indirect manifestation of that.”
Do Introverts Agree?
The results of the study made sense to me, but I was curious if it would resonate with other introverts. So I asked Introvert, Dear’s Facebook group of over 80,000 introverts if typos and grammar mistakes bothered them. Yes, many of them resoundingly answered.
“Are you kidding?” one member, Margaret, wrote. “I’m the original ‘grammar nazi.’”
Adam wrote, “I can spot a typo/grammo/spello (yeah, I just made up a word, what of it?) from a thousand yards. It drives most people nuts, but I apologize for nothing.”
Finally, Mark wrote, “I find that when I read something with bad punctuation or the wrong form of a word, it totally disrupts my reading, and it feels like I just tripped over a crack in the sidewalk.”
But the final proof came when one dissenting voice said she “could care less.” Another group member quickly corrected her grammar to “couldn’t care less” and added, “Sorry, I just had to!”
Are introverts picky about grammar? Apparently so.
This post originally appeared on the blog, Introvert, Dear.

The best global websites from the 2019 Web Globalization Report Card

A little more than 15 years ago, I began benchmarking websites for a new report I had in mind, tentatively titled the Web Globalization Report Card. The number one website in the first Report Card was a startup company by the name of Google. Its search interface supported 50 languages, in large part due to volunteer translation. But most other websites I studied back then supported fewer than 10 languages.

We’ve come a long way. Among the leading global brands, 30 languages is just “average.” Most of the websites in the top 25 list passed 30 languages quite a while ago, such as the world’s dictionary, Wikipedia. I rely on this resource at least once a week, and many millions of others do as well. The website is austerely designed, mobile friendly, and supports more than 280 languages. And because Wikipedia reflects the investment in time and resources of its community, that language total is all the more impressive and a reminder that, when it comes to taking content and websites global, we’re only just getting started.

Joining Wikipedia on the list of the top 25 websites are regulars such as GoogleCiscoDeloitte NIVEAAdobe, and Philips. New to the list this year are UberVolvo, and Emirates.
The teams behind the websites featured in the top 25 all deserve a round of virtual applause. Because I know acutely well how difficult it can be to build the case for supporting languages  — and how one must continually battle to support usability for all users, not just those who speak the dominant languages of the executive team.

A few key findings

  • Actions speak louder than words. Despite all the talk of walls and Brexit, companies continue to expand their global reach. The average number of languages supported by the leading global brands is now 32 languages—more than double the number of languages from a decade ago.
  • There’s a good reason Google ran an ad for Google Translate during the Super Bowl.The internet may connect computers but language connects people. Google Translate supports more than 100 languagesand acts as a linguistic “front end” for many websites.
  • Uber is on a language-expansion streak. It added 11 languages over the past two years—and now supports 46 languages.
  • Volvo finished as the highest-scoring automotive website.

Congrats to everyone on the list — and stay tuned for more announcements in the weeks ahead.

The 2019 Web Globalization Report Card
This post originally appeared on Globalbydesign.com