Online Dating and Bad Grammar

I know that this entry is probably going to piss a lot of you off, but I’m going to be honest.  And I think it’s relevant.

I’m a member of an online dating site.  (One reader of this blog actually found me on there!)  Personally, I don’t think I’ll have time to go on another date until well after the election, but I keep my profile on there, just in case.

I received an odd message from a guy today.  Here are a few excerpts:

“your in my [list of matches] and what not, I feel somewhat compelled to “accept” you rather then reject you like the previous 15.”

“Anyway, if you like to “drop it like its hot” or “get low” then your in luck cause i do 2 and so far no one has been able to drop it lower then me (Shorty gets quite low)”

“have a good night
oh and if i didn’t mention it, i think your hot

[Name]”

Now –

I’m not going to reject a potential suitor based on poor grammar and/or spelling alone.

I’ve dated my fair share of guys who couldn’t write anything to save their lives.  And some of those relationships were the most significant relationships of my life so far.

But on an online dating site, when a message to somebody serves as the best way to make a good first impression, why would a guy write so badly?

Would you have bad grammar and spelling in a cover letter?  In a resume? Then why would you on a dating site?

I think that a message so full of errors — written by a college graduate (so his profile claims) — shows that he doesn’t care about making a good first impression.  He doesn’t care about taking the time to write “you’re” instead of “your,” among other things.  Come on.  That is the MINIMUM.  Everyone knows the difference.

I wouldn’t have gone out with this guy anyway — he’s not my type.  But this email more than sealed the deal.

I replied to him:

Hi, [Name] –

Thanks for the message.  I don’t think that we would be a good match, but you deserve a reply, and I wish you the best of luck!

Kate

Unleash your fury.  Call me a snob or an asshole.  I don’t care.  But do any of you feel this way?

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37 responses to “Online Dating and Bad Grammar

  1. Wow, that’s a shocker! I too am on a dating site. I’ve received some awful messages, and I’ve also seen some horrible profiles full of errors. I agree with you – if you’re serious about meeting someone who could potentially be a life partner, you should make the effort to write correctly, even if it’s not something that comes naturally to you.

    And if the spelling and grammar had been correct in his email, that second paragraph would have turned me off! Hideous!

  2. Thank you, KT!

    I agree completely. Not putting in any effort now means you’re not likely to put much effort in later.

  3. I’m new to your site, but I’m guessing that most people that frequent a blog that makes fun of poor grammar aren’t going to be offended by this post.

    I participate in a website that hosts chat rooms, blogs, and forums, among other things. I was looking through the “youth” section of the forums today, and saw several thread rife with “text-eze” and it drove me nuts! I can’t believe how poorly spelling has degenerated in less than one generation. And does no one comprehend the “spell check” button?

    Besides his spelling and grammar issues (which would turn me off to him), talking to you about “drop[ping] it like it’s hot” isn’t the best way to entice someone into a relationship. Makes me wonder if he’s the guy for whom online dating sites were invented.

  4. Paragraph two is a deal breaker. Even if everything else was perfect and typed in my favorite font (I’m a font whore), the “get low” part made me cringe.

  5. Welcome, Wingnut! Glad to have you, t.

    I loved the second paragraph. If he had told me that he could snap his fingaz, do his step, that he could do it all by himself a-let me see you do it, well, I probably wouldn’t have been able to resist that!

  6. Forget the grammar for a minute. I know it’s a difficult task, but I think there are some real concerns and legitmate questions here.

    Specifically, do you drop it like it’s hot?
    Do you get low?

    Do you drop down and get your eagle on, lean back and do the Rockaway, walk it out, pop lock and drop it, shake it like a polaroid picture or perhaps own a pair of those boots with the fur?

    Your potential suitor has not only been rebuffed, but he has also been left without the information he respectfully requested.

  7. When you said we were going to be pissed, I expected another Obama shill – what’s offensive about politely declining someone on a dating site? I would be offended getting an email from that guy – making sexually suggestive and degrading remarks – CREEPY! I’d have to see a more serious attempt at a pick up with spelling errors to really decide how much grammar would affect my reaction.

  8. Man, you set me to to think you were a racist or a neo-Nazi or something. Those kind of things piss me off. You rejecting guys on dating sites for poor grammar? Hell, if you DIDN’T do that, I would be more pissed off! :)

  9. I’ve got one I’m going to post today along similar lines.

    No, I don’t reject them out of hand for misplaced apostrophes or text-message-looking emails (my very strongest personal pet peeves), but I do reject based on lack of imagination and crudeness. Your fellow would have been flushed immediately.

    I’d’ve written something to him that wasn’t nearly as nice as what you wrote. I wouldn’t have been able to resist.

    Hi, [name],

    It’s delightful that you find me so compelling that you would add me rather than reject me outright. I am honored by your attentions.

    I find your interests fascinating. I have never before encountered someone who enjoys dropping hot things. I use a teflon coated, quilted pad when I pick up hot things in the kitchen, and I find it prevents me from having to drop them.

    I’ve had rather unfortunate results when I’ve dropped hot things. For instance, there was the ham that went skittering across my kitchen floor one Easter when my mother in law was standing right there observing my cooking skills. It was hot (and not a little greasy) and I was attempting to transfer it to a platter from the roasting pan with two large forks. I served it anyway, but you can see why I would shy away from dropping hot things.

    And then there was that precious little old lady who dropped her McDonald’s coffee in her lap and was burned badly. I don’t think she meant to drop it, but it was hot. It was such a shame, but she did manage quite a handsome profit from dropping it like it was hot. Despite her millions, I would not drop something hot just to recover money. I am fascinated by your hobby of doing so.

    I’m not fond of getting low, either. When I get close to the baseboards in my home, I usually see that they need cleaning, which means I have to find a rag and spend hours dusting. I will also see that there’s grime at the very edge of the floor by the baseboards that the mop doesn’t get, so then I head to the kitchen to make a bleach solution and start cleaning the perimeter of the room. One room leads to another, and before you know it I’ve spent the day on my hands and knees cleaning and my fingernails are soft and my cuticles are dry from the chemicals and no amount of lotion makes my hands feel better. This happens because those latex gloves are very uncomfortable and besides, when I start, I think I’ll just tent to the one spot.

    I have never before had a man approach me about cleaning my house on a personals site. I find you compelling, too. the fact that you would offer to clean my baseboards overwhelms me. I have to ask: is this something you do professionally?

    I’m a little concerned that you think me to be hot, though. It implies that you’ll be dropping me.

    On second thought, perhaps we aren’t a good match after all. If you drop me before you clean my baseboards, then I’ll have gotten nothing from our relationship.

    Perhaps I could simply hire you to clean my baseboards and skip the romance altogether. How much do you charge?

    XO,
    Aramink

  10. EEEEEP! Typos! please edit me, Kate! LOL

    “Tent” should be “tend” and I missed a capital letter at the start of a sentence in the paragraph following that one! Eeeeep!

  11. Even the bad grammar aside (and it’s *really* hard to ignore), it’s the tone of the message that is the most off-putting. But the grammar serves as a sort of catalyst that just exacerbates the intended message. I think you did right in dropping him “like it’s hot”.

  12. I am also a snob, and I met my husband on a dating site. Part of what drew me to him was that he was a good writer (I’m not talking about perfect spelling and whatnot, but he wrote fluidly, clearly, and expressively) and an English teacher. I ignored a lot of other emails based on bad writing alone. Using “your” incorrectly just makes a person sound dumb. Sorry, but it’s the plain truth.

    If you value good writing and a command of the English language, then there’s nothing wrong with holding out for someone who does the same.

  13. Thank you for all of the great comments! Aramink, that response is fabulous!

    I wasn’t expecting this. I thought there would be a lot of comments along the lines of, “Oh my God, you are such a SNOB, no wonder you’re on an online dating site, you’re going to be alone for the rest of your life….”

    Erik, I read your comment out loud to my office. They loved it.

  14. I’m married (to a fellow grammar snob), but I would feel exactly the same way, and I think I might actually reject someone based solely on a note like that. One of my best friends is using an online dating site, and we go through her messages together, judging her suitors based on their favorite books and their grammar usage. More power to you!

  15. Ok, I’d totally reject someone based on bad grammar because that means they’re likely going to be put off by my O.C. tendencies, like my tendency to correct everyone’s grammar.

    I know that’s judgmental, but good grammar is one of my few standards.

  16. It was the i do 2 that got me.

    Really, I could have ignored the “your” and even the uncaps, but using numbers or symbols as a replacement for words when you are not attempting to fit a message into a set number of characters (twitter or texting) is simply unacceptable.

  17. You’ve got to ditch a guy on poor grammar. Proper spelling and syntax have to get you somewhere. English majors deserve to get lucky.

  18. I did online dating and ,yes, I would reject someone based on poor grammar. The spelling I could handle (2 kids w/dyslexia will make you a bit more lenient on bad spelling). Anyone that doesn’t put the effort into making their first contact worthwhile isn’t going to spark my interest.

    I loved Aramink’s comment!

  19. u have sum nerve posting our personal correspondence.

  20. I think your response was appropriate and classy. If words are the tools for the first impression and that’s the best they can come up with, then it’s likely not a match. I would also think it’s indicative of the amount of effort put into other areas of their life.

  21. I can handle obvious typos, but bad grammar would definitely be a turn-off. At one point, I actually wrote “If you can write coherent sentences with proper grammar” under “you should contact me if…” on my online dating profile.

    I also liked Aramink’s comment.

  22. My first reaction was “this guy has been infected by the texting disease” – that pernicious syndrome that turns all correspondence into the sloppy verbal shorthand of the text message. On that alone I would have rejected him, even if I didn’t also get the vibe that he’s only looking for sex!

  23. I couldn’t read the whole thing without cringing! I 100% agree with you! I correct everyone’s grammar all the time. You’re not a snob, Kate.

  24. I met my husband on match.com. I almost didn’t write him back because he didn’t put a period at the end of his last sentence!

  25. Jan, I wouldn’t blame you for not writing back to him. We all know how women feel about periods.

  26. You are totally NOT a snob. I used to be on an online dating site (and remember back in the day when Friendster and MySpace were dating sites masquerading as social networking sites), and I got so many messages like the one you got. All of them completely turned me off.

    I will admit that my fiance has issues with “your” and “you’re” from time to time, but all of his emails to me in the early days were nowhere nearly as horrific as that which you recently received.

    So, in short, yes, poor grammar is a turnoff. Some people are turned off by bad teeth or a certain hair color, and those aren’t even things that are in our control. We CAN control how we write, so I think we are beyond justified in being turned off by poor grammar!

  27. I’d been on an online dating site for a while, too. I kept getting e-mails from these guys who had no grammar skills whatsoever. When they asked what I liked to do in my free time and I mentioned–among other things, of course; I’m not a TOTAL nerd–that I run a grammar humor website, I noticed that in each instance, each guy’s grammar was noticeably better the next time they e-mailed me. Hehe. ;) (I’m now dating a guy I met on the online dating site, and even though he doesn’t always have the best grammar/punctuation skills ever, he reads my site and enjoys it, which I suppose is enough for me.) But seriously, you’re not a snob by being turned off by bad grammar. If good writing/good grammar is something you value, then you’re well within your rights to not want to date someone whose bad grammar/bad writing makes you want to cry. :)

  28. Roopa- I told my husband to stop emailing me because his your/you’re problem and punctuation problems were killing me! He says I’m a grammar snob and I proudly say ‘yes!’

  29. I was on a dating website and that’s how I met my current boyfriend. I had a line in my profile on the site that said something along the lines of “if you don’t know the difference between ‘your’ and ‘you’re,’ we’re definitely not right for each other!” Despite his lack of typing skills, it turns out that he and I are great together… anyway, he always rags on me regarding my incessant tendency to correct spelling, grammar and general English language-related idiocy. I just sent him the link to this specific blog post so that he knows that I’m not the only one with high standards when it comes to grammar!

  30. I love it! And it’s good to see a near unanimous verdict that understanding the difference between “your” and “you’re” constitutes a statutory dating minimum. I hope there are more of these posts so we get a full set of rules established!

  31. If he can’t even put forth the effort to use the right your/you’re, then he certainly won’t put forth any effort in a relationship. Not a snob AT ALL!

  32. I agree with the Lunch Lady. I did the online dating thing for about 3 years off and on. I remember one that just about every other word was misspelled. My friends and I passed the poorly written email around for a good laugh and figured it had to have been written by a 10 yr old. I think he Fireman Larry and it even named the fire dept he worked at but we weren’t brave enough to go see if it was a real person.

    Sometimes you just gotta laugh and hit the delete button.

    Jaynine

  33. I found this site after receiving an incredibly poorly written email from a guy asking me out. It was peppered with words like ‘may-be’ (since when was maybe spelled with a hypen???) and ‘see’s’ (instead of ‘seems’). I hate to be a spelling and grammar snob, but it seems that I am not the only one who wonders if spelling might make or break a relationship.

  34. I once wrote in my profile that I’d never go out with anybody who used LOL or any of it’s variants. If what you write is funny, I will laugh. If you have to tell me when to laugh, it wasn’t funny.

  35. That should have been ‘its’ obviously.

  36. Actually, you are morally obligated not to go out with him. You, like me, can’t help but believe he isn’t smart enough to write correctly. You would be dating someone you have reason to believe is both lazy and stupid (whether or not he really is). It wouldn’t be fair to him to give him what he thinks is a first chance when you are waiting for strike three. Further, you would have to question your self esteem if you believed you should settle for a person you strongly suspect is lazy and stupid (again, whether or not he really is).

  37. I definitely think you wouldn’t be a good match for someone whose grammar is that atrocious when they’re trying to attract someone.

    If he isn’t stupid or lazy, then he probably believes that proper grammar is the hallmark of someone who’s stuck-up or stuffy, and that in order to seem like a laid-back guy he shouldn’t even run his message through a spelling/grammar checker. If that’s his attitude, meeting up would be a gigantic waste of your time (and his). You’d each have to overcome so many hurdles in your differing communication styles just to figure out what signals the other is trying to send that the odds of you winding up together happily would be abysmal. Only romantic comedies deliberately seek out that kind of difference.

    Plus, anti-intellectuals have cooties.

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