Many years ago, when I was dating the woman who is now my wife, I asked her why her father seemed to like me (while her mother clearly did not). She replied that it was because he thought I used good grammar. I am still thankful for the high school and college teachers who emphasized the importance of using good grammar. For a long time I have thought that my situation was relatively unique and that good grammar was not a common determinant of dating success. However, as reported in The Wall Street Journal (A-HED; October 1, 2015), grammar has emerged as an important criterion for screening potential suitors on electronic dating sites and later, assessing dates.
Amazingly, of 5000 respondents to a survey conducted by a dating site, 88% of women and 75% of men reported that when assessing a date, they cared most about grammar, making grammar more important than a date’s confidence or teeth. Men and women alike report that confusing “their” and “there”, and “its” and “it’s”, in an online profile is a red flag. The use of poor grammar suggests a lack of care or thought, or a poor work ethic. Proper use of grammar has become so important on dating sites and social media that applications have been developed to assess the quality of the text or message. Interestingly, using such a tool, researchers found that a man posting texts with two spelling errors on a dating site was 14% less likely to receive a positive response compared with a man with zero spelling errors. Recognizing the importance of good grammar, some dating sites employ former journalists and English studies graduates to burnish or re-write client online profiles.
I have no need for posting to a dating site, but my wife and I still try to use good grammar in our conversations regardless (not irregardless) of where we are.