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Do you love criticizing people's grammar mistakes on social media? Not only does this say more about you than about them, as a study confirmed, you also have much to gain by putting a stop to this annoying habit.

Are you a self-proclaimed "Grammar Nazi"? I can tell you one thing for sure. You'll never say you could care less about common uses (or abuses) of grammer while sipping on your expresso, irregardless of whether you could definately hurt someone's feelings by pointing they're nasty errors out. For all intensive purposes, your always their to fix the supposably great writing of you're Facebook friends, or at least to rant and rave about it elsewhere on the web.

OK, OK — I'll stop now, I promise!

Are you wondering what on Earth happened to the English language in the age of web publishing, worried that it won't be long before once reputable newspapers begin featuring the same kind of errors — or stewing in the knowledge that you've indeed already spotted them there?

I'll share a few secrets. Having been a sub-editor before the internet became such an integral part of people's lives, my mind begins editing any writing it encounters automatically. And also, I just started a sentence with a conjunction. And again! (Oops, that was an actual fragment.) And also, I occasionally encounter completely embarrassing typos in my own older articles, proving that the mind so often sees what it thinks it wrote rather than what it actually did write, especially when you read your own sucky writing shortly after producing it.

Here's a thought: nobody's writing (even Mark Twain's — who freely employed the "literally" people seem to get so hung up about today as an intensifier) is free of the kind of errors you routinely judge.

Should you really be fixing people's linguistic mistakes, to their faces or behind their backs, then? What does this tendency say about you, and how does the way in which people use language impact the way we see them? Perhaps most controversially of all, are the things you deem mistakes really mistakes?

Who Are The Notorious 'Grammar Nazis'?

Just who are the people who judge others negatively on their use of language? A research team that later published its findings in the journal PLOS One was eager to find out, and recruited 83 native English speakers from the US, who were invited to figure out what they thought of potential house mates based on adverts they wrote. Some of the ads contained "typos" and "grammos" galore, while others were free of spelling and grammar errors. After the exercise was complete, the participants were more closely investigated themselves.

Personality tests revealed that Grammar Nazis come from all walks of life — they are young and old, blue collar and white collar, and female and male. Likewise, a person's level of neuroticism, perhaps surprisingly, can't predict whether or not they are likely to be bothered by deviations from standard English.

The study, aptly titled "If You're House Is Still Available Send Me an Email", did figure out some things, however.

Grammar and spelling freaks are more likely to be introverts.

Those who take issue with spelling mistakes tend to be more conscientious and less open, while those who judged potential room mates negatively on grammar mistakes are more likely to be disagreeable people.

Study author Robin Queen said: "My guess is that introverts have more sensitivity to variability." In other words, those who require solitude to "recharge their batteries" might simply be less tolerant of others who are different to them. While Queen is a linguist and not a personality expert, she seems to be onto something here.

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