Study: People Who Point Out Typos are Just as Awful as We Already Knew

By Sophie Kleeman on at

According to a bunch of fancy linguists, people who are more sensitive to written typos and grammatical errors are indeed the kinds of awful people everyone already suspects them to be.

The findings came from a new study out of the University of Michigan. Researchers gathered 83 people and had them read emails that either contained typos (“mkae” or “abuot”), grammar errors (to/too, it’s/its or your/you’re), or no spelling mistakes at all. At the end, the participants, who had also been asked to give information about themselves, scored the writers on “perceived intelligence, friendliness, and other attributes”.

The team reported that extraverts [sometimes more commonly spelled 'extroverts', for those keeping watch – 'extraverts' is the accepted psychological term, using the appropriate Latin prefix, 'extra'] were more likely to wave off spelling errors, whereas introverts were basically like, “You’re a fucking idiot, learn to construct a bloody sentence, Christ almighty.” Less agreeable people were more likely to notice grammar errors, which the researchers mused was because these types “are less tolerant of deviations from convention”. People who were more conscientious and less open were more sensitive to typos.

It didn’t really matter whether it was a typo or a grammatical error, though, because the results were clear: the people who notice either of these things and let it inform their perspective are what I believe kids these days are calling “the worst”.

To which I proudly say: Damn right.

I point out typos. I didn’t sob hysterically over a D on a 5th grade spelling test to grow up and become someone who doesn’t notice spelling mistakes. Sure, it might make the person feel terrible for a minute, but I firmly believe it leads to better and cleaner communication. (I have likely amassed up an army of enemies because of this, but at least they know how to spell.)

Interestingly, I would consider myself neither introverted nor particularly disagreeable, which doesn’t fly with this admittedly pretty thin and small-sample-sized study.

But this probably just means I’m also the worst. [University of Michigan]