Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation
Top

Pedantic about grammar? It's not the most flattering reflection of your personality, says science

iStock_000054938596_Full.jpg

Are you a stickler for good grammar? Does a poorly constructed email annoy you beyond belief? According to science, that may not be good news when it comes to your personality type.

A new study has found that those who obsess over bad grammar may not be quite as friendly as their less-bothered peers.

The research, which asked a group of people to evaluate written housemate applications, also found that introverted people are more likely to be pedantic about typos and written errors than their extroverted counterparts.

woman reading emails on computer

Conducted by scientists Julie Boland and Robin Queen, from the University of Michigan, the study saw 83 participants read email responses to an advert for a new roommate. They were then asked to evaluate the applicant using social and academic criteria, including perceived intelligence and friendliness.

Before reading the applications however, each participant in the study was asked to complete a personality assessment. Using markers from the academically recognised Big Five Personality Test, Boland and Queen categorised the participants in terms of their Openness, Conscientiousness, Agreeableness, Extroversion and Neuroticism.

The researchers found that those who scored highly in terms of Agreeableness, were less likely to judge grammatical errors in the roommate application harshly. They also found that extroverts were far less likely to flag up the typos which led introverted participants to make judgements about the applicant.

Summarising their findings, which have been published in the PLOS One journal, Boland and Queen write: “More extroverted people were likely to overlook written errors that would cause introverted people to judge the person who makes such errors more negatively.

“Less agreeable people were more sensitive to grammos, while more conscientious and less open people were sensitive to typos.”

Angry woman reading

So what is it that makes grammar nerds ‘less agreeable’? While a conclusive answer would likely need an entirely new study, Boland and Queen have speculated on one possibility.

Writing in their paper, the pair say: “Less agreeable participants showed more sensitivity to grammos than participants high in agreeability, perhaps because less agreeable people are less tolerant of deviations from convention.”

But while the study casts a not so great light on the sticklers for good grammar, it’s not all bad news. Last month, a similar study carried out by researchers at Japan's Kyoto University, found that those pedantic about sentence structure and grammatical convention, actually had a higher rate of arousal.

That’s right, better sex. Not a bad pay-off, eh?

 

Related

iStock_000078590717_Large.jpg

The most exciting new books of April

Alessandra Ambrosio Coachella style.JPG

Rainbow hair, pool parties and boho luxe: The A-list do Coachella 2016

iStock_000068707217_Full.jpg

Can't stand bad grammar? Then we have some good news for you

johnny depp.jpg

Johnny Depp and Amber Heard issue bizarre video apology over dogs

ThinkstockPhotos-470273214.jpg

This is the biggest turn-off for online daters...

lily 6.jpg

Lily Allen speaks out about her terrifying stalking ordeal

157315979.jpg

The top 10 most common CV mistakes and how to avoid them

peaches husband.jpg

Peaches Geldof’s husband on coping with grief

exclamation mark.jpg

This one texting habit is a sign of insincerity, according to science

More

“I’m child-free, not childless – why the difference matters”

One writer on how our language shames women who choose not to procreate

21 Aug 2017

Why people are posting cat photos in response to the Barcelona attacks

There’s a reason behind the influx of felines online

by Kayleigh Dray
21 Aug 2017

The deadly secret hidden within that creepy Game of Thrones hug

Spoilers are coming…

by Kayleigh Dray
18 Aug 2017

Why it’s totally fine if you don’t have a ‘work wife’

Having friends at work is nice – but it’s not the be all and end all

by Moya Crockett
18 Aug 2017

Meteorologist’s epic response to troll who called her “disgusting”

“Enough is enough.”

by Sarah Biddlecombe
18 Aug 2017

Acts of love, humanity and solidarity following the Barcelona attack

In the darkness, there is light.

by Moya Crockett
18 Aug 2017

How you can help those caught up in the Barcelona attack

The ways you can support the victims, survivors and investigation

by Kayleigh Dray
18 Aug 2017

People are furious about Trump’s response to the Barcelona attack

The world is sick of his double-standard on terrorism

by Kayleigh Dray
18 Aug 2017

Ryan Phillipe on how he tackles depression

“I’m thinking about how to focus and steady myself”

by Susan Devaney
17 Aug 2017

Are black girls being forced to grow up too fast?

A study has shown that black girls as young as five are seen as more adult than their white peers

by Kemi Alemoru
17 Aug 2017