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

Get free tickets to see Call Me By Your Name

17 Oct 2017

“In defence of birthdays: why we should celebrate each and every year”

Writer Kate Townshend on why birthday parties shouldn’t be sacrificed on the altar of adulthood

17 Oct 2017

Life can be ‘torturous’ for a sex addict, according to an expert

“It sounds like fun... that couldn’t be further from the truth”

by Susan Devaney
17 Oct 2017

Why you should wear red if you want to succeed

From ancient history to modern catwalks, why are we all so obsessed with red?

by Alexandra Jones
17 Oct 2017

These are the world’s best and worst major cities to live as a woman

London makes the list – and it’s not all bad news for the capital

by Moya Crockett
17 Oct 2017

Your Starbucks Halloween Frappuccino fix is here and it’s fangtastic

Sink your teeth into this

by Megan Murray
17 Oct 2017

This Princess Bride revelation will make you see the film in a new way

It’s been 30 years since it hit the big screen

by Susan Devaney
17 Oct 2017

Hold up, there's an avocado chocolate bar – AND it’s vegan

Don't fight it

by Megan Murray
17 Oct 2017

What is perspecticide and could it be happening in your relationship?

This form of coercive control is incredibly damaging

by Megan Murray
16 Oct 2017