I ran across an interesting post over the weekend that asks: “Why do people hate on those of us who know grammar? Why is it insulting to have your language skills corrected?”
The author, Claiborne L., a professional writer and editor, makes some excellent points in the post, and also links to a howlingly funny collection of obnoxious responses to language mistakes on Facebook. But she sums it up by saying that people knowledgeable about language should approach corrections as advice from a peer, not as diktats from on high. “Check the attitude,” she says, “and offer only the instruction.”
As an editor, I realize that I fall closer to “fussbudget” than “freewheeler.” That’s the job of an editor: to clarify, streamline — and correct.
But her post made me think, why DO people hate having their language corrected, and hate the people who do it? Aside from the fact that most people dislike being told they’re wrong about anything, there are a few other reasons that seem specific to corrections of grammar.