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June 21, 2016 8:34 PM   Subscribe

I-can't-believe-I'm-asking-this-filter: what is the zen way of dealing with a minor, accurate correction from an abusive person?

(This is so stupid.)

Person corrected my grammar. It was explicitly framed as a moral correction rather than a grammatical correction. The whole thing took place over text. Yes, really.

I like to use correct grammar when I know to, though I am a little lazy about it sometimes. Normally, I'd correct myself going forward, but in this context, I feel like I am allowing myself to be manipulated if I change this habit now.

On the other hand, I feel like I am being reactive and indirectly manipulated if I don't correct this habit. Basically, I feel like a little toddler refusing to do a thing just because she was told to do it.

The enlightened thing to do is what I would do if I learned about this in a stylebook, yes? And deal with the person and emotions separately? Is there a way to do this without feeling manipulated and gross?

I hate that I am this twisted up over a stupid thing.
posted by Eolienne to Human Relations (45 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
You don't have to use correct grammar. Incorrect grammar is not a moral failing.

You can if you want to, though. Does this grammar mistake make your writing confusing or hurtful? Is there any tangible benefit to you to get it right? Is this person even right? What's the error?

Do whatever you want. They're really not the boss of you.
posted by misfish at 8:49 PM on June 21, 2016 [8 favorites]

I get that "You're not the boss of me!" reaction, too, often in similar situations. You're right: The enlightened thing to do is what I would do if I learned about this in a stylebook, yes? And deal with the person and emotions separately? If it were me, however, I'd probably correct myself in the future around everyone but the person who corrected me. (Assuming it's not your boss correcting your written work for them or something!)
posted by lazuli at 8:51 PM on June 21, 2016 [4 favorites]

I might actually go out of my way to continue making the mistake, and perhaps even more egregious versions of the mistake, around the person who corrected me...
posted by lazuli at 8:52 PM on June 21, 2016 [30 favorites]

I have a (now former--person dropped me) friend who does that to everyone--people they know, strangers on the Internet.

I've observed that few people appreciate it, because internet texts and posts aren't really formal communication. A few people will say thanks. Part of my job is to be a good editor of other people's work and I know that people like this person don't know as much as they think they do.

I'd consider dropping the person and continuing to write as you do.
posted by apartment dweller at 8:53 PM on June 21, 2016 [7 favorites]

I agree with above that bad grammar is not a moral failing. However, you seem to have internalised good grammar as a part of your personality, which is fine (I'm like that too). Therefore, I think you will enjoy yourself more if you correct your grammar. It's the only good thing you got from this particular interaction, so why not use it before you discard the rest?

How to manage it in this situation: I suggest you look it up in a stylebook. That's where you learnt it. The person calling you names over text only pointed out a doubt, but that was not definitive. It was Strunk and White, or Webster, or whoever, who really taught you how to write good.

You don't have to feel stupid. You're just human. I'm giving you this advice because you asked for it, but I'm the first one who would be writing a post like yours. In a way, the advice is ready because I so often need it. We are all sligthly chipped vessels. It's okay.

Shitty people like this abusive Grammar Nazi too are humans, but they aren't humans that you need to hang out with if you can avoid it. I don't know your situation, but not answering texts is a perfectly good way of dealing with this problem.

And I don't concur with the above commenters: if you have to keep dealing with this person, and you normally use good grammar, just use good grammar. Fuck poking this person on purpose, because that means spending more of your precious time and mental energy thinking about them.
posted by kandinski at 9:00 PM on June 21, 2016 [5 favorites]

There really is something hard to let go of when someone frames a comment as moral judgment, isn't there? I'd probably focus on getting them out of your head for now. It sounds like you'll naturally make the correction once you've let go of how it was delivered.
posted by salvia at 9:01 PM on June 21, 2016

I would guffaw mockingly (or however you choose to represent that in text) at them. "Seriously? You're grammar-policing me in a flipping text message? Do you need help finding more important things to occupy your time? Maybe a charity you could be volunteering for, to boost your moral standing?"

If they kept it up, I'd drop them, for multiple reasons: Text is a different medium, and their failure to recognize that implies an unpleasant inflexibility. Imputing moral values to how somebody writes or spells is a crappy thing to do. Online speech and texting are creating fun and interesting new bits of language, some of which will stick and some won't, and I prefer to be friends with people who think that's intriguing to people who think it's a moral failing. Etc.

In my youth I was prescriptive and judgmental about how people used language. I'm much happier now, having let go of that.
posted by Lexica at 9:07 PM on June 21, 2016 [6 favorites]

Oh, and (not to abuse the edit window), the difference is that a style guide wouldn't be trying to put a moral judgment on it. "X is considered correct usage, while Y is deprecated" doesn't imply "and you're a bad person if you Y".
posted by Lexica at 9:09 PM on June 21, 2016

I'm sorry the post is so vague. I'd rather not have it pop up easily in a search. The grammar in question is discussed here.

(I ignored the text and usually keep a distant relationship with this person.)
posted by Eolienne at 9:12 PM on June 21, 2016

Can you say more about the nature of the correction? You say it was framed as a moral issue - were they suggesting it's immoral to make grammatical errors, or were they concerned about other aspects of your language use? Because there are some errors that can cause genuine offence - writing "transwoman" instead of "trans woman", for example, or saying "People that..." Instead of "People who..." when referring to groups which have been historically dehumanised. Was it something along those lines, or is this person just being a pompous ass about split infinitives?
posted by embrangled at 9:18 PM on June 21, 2016

(Sorry - didn't preview before posting. Sounds like this may be more of a language use issue than a grammatical one).
posted by embrangled at 9:20 PM on June 21, 2016 [1 favorite]

The grammar in question is discussed here.

Oh, for heaven's sake. I'm sorry, that person would be getting German-style all-nouns-capitalized forever texts from me in the future. If the person is actually abusive, however, I think you're right in just keeping your distance. Sometimes I find it helpful to just sit with the "They're not the boss of me!" feeling for a while, and continue doing the "wrong" thing, until I just get sick of being mad about it, which allows me to let go of the anger and switch out the incorrect habit/usage/whatever pretty naturally.
posted by lazuli at 9:21 PM on June 21, 2016 [15 favorites]

IMO, the enlightened thing to do is listen to yourself. Listen to the sensations in your body. Listen to your emotions-- and trust yourself.

Don't let this person use the fact that you care about language to bite off a piece of you. Don't submit to a power exchange you don't want to be part of.

(Check *out* that shameless, terminal "of!")

This isn't to say you should pick a fight with this person. But at the very least, allow yourself your ire, and don't punish yourself for wanting to resist. You are always allowed to stand up for yourself, no matter what.

Incorporate the grammar point for yourself (and only for yourself) if that's what you want, but realize that you are in no way obligated to do so.

Besides, grammar is almost never cut-and-dried. It is always evolving, and it is frequently complicated by issues such as regional, generational, and in-group usage patterns (including jargon, antilanguage, slang, etc.); imports from different languages and language systems; and my personal favorite, register.

It is quite possible to be simultaneously right and wrong about a grammar or usage point. It is also possible to be a highly effective communicator and still miss things sometimes. If this person is going to hold themself out as an authority on grammar (let alone morality!) they really ought to understand that.

And recognize also that grammar policing has historically been used as a rather nasty vector for ethnic and class policing. If this person is trying to do anything of that nature, then I submit that they are a 100% solid gold git, and at a minimum, they should be forcefully ignored.
posted by palmcorder_yajna at 9:24 PM on June 21, 2016 [16 favorites]

Grammar (which is not at issue here, really), capitalization, and punctuation errors are NOT moral transgressions! Please ignore this person and their strange power-tripping. This says way more about them than it does about you. You feel manipulated and gross because they were being manipulative and gross!
posted by karbonokapi at 9:25 PM on June 21, 2016 [7 favorites]

OMG, as a former copy editor, I rule this "not even a thing, and definitely not a rule." It may be a convention at some publications, but it's certainly not universal and plenty of publishers would strike that capitalization as incorrect.

I tooooootally understand your reluctance to accord this minor grammar-related "honor" to someone abusive. I think your two choices are to just do it that way to that specific person so they will STFU and never mention it again, but know on the inside that this is not even a thing and definitely not a rule and they are Mayor Wrong of Wrongstown; OR just completely ignore their correction because they are not correct and feel smug on the inside every time and know it's winding them up.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 9:37 PM on June 21, 2016 [15 favorites]

So, the two options you've identified are:

1. Make the change to your grammar and feel like you've given in to an abusive bully.
2. Don't make the change to your grammar and feel like you're continuing to make a mistake for petty reasons.

There's at least one other option beloved of writers with grammar and spelling problems:

3. Craft all sentences to avoid the problem.

It might be more ongoing effort than you really want to put into this, but for the short term it might let you avoid:

a. giving them the thrill of seeing you correct the error.
b. writing sentences that you know are wrong in some recognizable way.

It's might still seem like petty bullshit, but when you're dealing with petty bullshit complaints from a jerk in the first place, petty bullshit victories are all that are available. May as well be your petty bullshit victory rather than your abuser's.
posted by jacquilynne at 9:42 PM on June 21, 2016 [1 favorite]

Moral opprobrium over an ambiguous capitalization rule? In a text message? Cray. And incorrect.

What I would send something along the lines of this:

Dear poisonous, bunch-back'd toad,
As I am sure you understand, text messaging has slightly different orthographic and typological rules than more formal forms of communication. Included in the differences are sparser punctuation usage, phonetic spelling, and freer capitalization rules. Interestingly, texting conventions show similarities with telegraph conventions of years past.

peace out,
posted by djinn dandy at 9:46 PM on June 21, 2016 [14 favorites]

(Also failed to preview-- apologies)

They were correcting the way you wrote a TEXT MESSAGE? Yeah, that's absurd. Texts generally happen in a hyper-casual register. As djinn dandy says, rules of orthography are highly relaxed in that medium-- so what you wrote is not just acceptable, it's appropriate. Arguably, by trying to radically shift the register, they are the one being inappropriate.
posted by palmcorder_yajna at 9:56 PM on June 21, 2016 [5 favorites]

Tell them you only read texts written in Old English. You too have chosen an arbitrary point in time at which the laws of the language are to be fixed and immutable, and that point is the year 1022.
posted by obiwanwasabi at 10:32 PM on June 21, 2016 [14 favorites]

I would be very tempted to A) never speak with them again and/or B) if I did, I would purposely use shitty chatspeak and NO punctuation or capitalization, ever.

I honestly don't think I've ever thought about capitalizing mom or dad - I don't think I ever have capitalized them anyway - and I took multiple writing classes including Technical Writing in college. I don't remember this ever coming up in my life.

I thought it was going to be something like "could care less" versus "couldn't care less" or something that actually changes the meaning. But no, this is nothing. You did nothing wrong. Even if you DID say "I could care less" about something you couldn't care less about then I'd still say they were in the wrong being jerks about it.
posted by Crystalinne at 11:04 PM on June 21, 2016

Well, if language usage is interesting to you you could go the route of learning more about it to the point where the corrector's correction seems kind of cute in retrospect. So in this case you could learn about language from the perspective of modern linguistics, where grammar means something pretty different than what you find in styleguides and which looks at language usage through cognitive, neurological, social, anthropological, historical, philosophical, statistical, and &c. lenses instead of through an authoritarian one. (Modern descriptive linguists would say not "this supposed English-speaker is using English wrong" but "huh, this usage seems fine to some English speakers and wrong to others, which makes it an interesting edge case. What might account for it? Does it break, prove inadequate, or support any existing models of how language works? Has it changed over time, and if so how, why, and independently of or in tandem with other changes? How does it compare with equivalents in other languages? What does all of this suggest about brains?" and so forth.)

If you're not that interested, then here's another vote for 'my dad' vs. 'my Dad' being pretty much equally fine. I can think of at least one language that definitely goes for the latter option (treating 'Dad' in 'my [Dd]ad' as a proper noun rather than as a generic one).
posted by trig at 11:52 PM on June 21, 2016 [1 favorite]

As a recovering pedant, dear God, picking that particular nit is absurd. It's not even grammar, it's punctuation. Literally the only place it would look weird would be in the New Yorker. Grammar-over-text is practically the lowest register we have of writing (other than maybe graffiti?) where damn near everything should be acceptable. It's stream-of-consciousness, hardly edited, spat out in a handful of characters over time with no chance to redo.

Don't change the habit. It's fine. It's more than fine. It would look fine in an email, it would look fine in a tweet, it would look fine in any type of informal communication. It's not even there/their/they're which could look silly in an email (though, because of autocorrect, completely forgivable over text). Perfectly high-register grammar in a text conversation would be weird. Keep in mind that all style guides have a context. The New Yorker has its own weird one; the AP has another. There's no such thing as a texting style guide, so you're in the clear. Most texts aren't even complete sentences! It's beyond nuts to police grammar-over-text.

This person is trying to get you to police how you speak to them so you are grammatically walking on eggshells. I would completely ignore any grammatical "advice" they give.
posted by BungaDunga at 11:59 PM on June 21, 2016

What, I'm an English major. I could care less if anyone really used something grammatically correctly, with the exception of Oxford commas because of hilarious mistakes I've seen. I'm also an abuse survivor, and suffered from some of the stupidest excuses ever to control my behavior, all of them in nit-picky ways like the Ask you are writing about now. Dear goodness.

This person is being an abuser because they are finding any excuse to twist your character as to make you fight for their approval. This has nothing to do with grammar and everything to do with power dynamics, coercion, and control. They want to see the limits of your boundaries, so they could bend and break your will. IGNORE!
posted by yueliang at 12:05 AM on June 22, 2016 [3 favorites]

I would be completely unable to resist schooling them on the concepts of prescriptivism vs descriptivism, register, and the use of complaints about grammar to actually complain about race/sex/class in an underhanded way. (And I would use singular they as many times as possible in doing so!)

This would not be a productive conversation, however. But I'd do it anyway, and then go ahead and make the change in capitalization, if you like the way this person suggested better.
posted by nat at 12:46 AM on June 22, 2016 [3 favorites]

Okay that particular thing you've linked to is a total pet peeve of mine (worked as a freelance editor for the past six years) that I've explained in a lot of ways to different people.

To my fellow editors and other people I'd work with on paying projects, I'd say it's an easy thing to get mixed up so here's a simple guide I keep in my own head to keep it clear (I don't actually need any such thing but I get that other people do). For people I do fun writing things with like fanfiction and related silliness, I'll do a similar thing but drop the act that I need a mnemonic myself - I just lay it out to them once and then move on, but I also definitely call it a pet peeve so they know it's a personal thing on my part.

Anyone else? Anyone whose job or leisure activity doesn't depend on clarity of communication, or any form of communication where things are informal and typos of all sorts abound? I keep my dang mouth shut. It will never lead to harm or discomfort, and only annoyance to the extent of a split second of vague confusion.

I make typos and grammatical errors all the time in my non-professional and casual communication. If anybody were to do this to me, they would get a hundred texts of poop emojis.

I think you can comfortably utilize the new guideline for yourself if you feel it's more correct for how you want to communicate with other people textually. But IMO you're totally within your moral and adult rights to continue doing it "wrong" in texts to this person. Or just text them exclusively in emojis. Fuck 'em.
posted by Mizu at 12:53 AM on June 22, 2016 [4 favorites]

You write "I like to use correct grammar when I know to, though I am a little lazy about it sometimes." That's what most people think, and it's fine. If that is how you want your use of written language convey your personality to others, just stick to it. If the bill includes a potential for improvement, fine too; do improve whenever suitable, but do it at your own pace.

Someone shaming you because of some (inconsequential) incorrect grammar use (nay, some would-be incorrect capitalization--how ridiculous) doesn't really seem to fit the above-outlined. Ignore them, or start texting them in faux-German ofF-The-waLL-capitLization just for kicks.
posted by Namlit at 1:12 AM on June 22, 2016

for the love of all things holy cease to use all punctuation and capitals with this person in future it will really piss them off and the effort to turn off auto correction of capitals and apostrophes will make you feel smug or maybe thats just me
posted by taff at 1:22 AM on June 22, 2016 [8 favorites]

Sounds like this isn't really about grammar but about the pedant's perception that capitalising or not capitalising these roles says something about the respect you hold for them. Which, in the context of an abusive family dynamic - if that's what it is - says far more about them and their personal hang ups than about you and your grammar.
posted by embrangled at 2:10 AM on June 22, 2016 [4 favorites]

could you use names instead of the problematic words when next chatting? if you only talk to these people occasionally then i suspect you'll forget about this after a chat or two anyway, so that gives you a way to be correct without openly following their rules for now.

(but really, life is too short for this. it's honestly better to just let it go.)
posted by andrewcooke at 3:44 AM on June 22, 2016 [1 favorite]

If you don't care what this person thinks, don't change what you're doing and let autocorrect do its frequently wrong thing. If you don't want them to feel bad then capitalize Grandmother or whatever when you're talking to them. Probably too late to respond with ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ (which I have on auto complete for situations like this) but it's tempting!
posted by chesty_a_arthur at 3:51 AM on June 22, 2016 [1 favorite]

In addition to the element of class policing, correcting people's grammar is often a cheap, intentionally assholey move. It's frequently smarter-than-you posturing, and can be a way to refuse to engage with the actual topic of conversation. If it's coming from a person with history of abusive behavior, it's definitely not intended as a friendly FYI.

And embrangled brings up a good point: if this is a family member, and the point is about capitalizing family members' titles, there's an element of "say no, ma'am" that grown-ups just don't do.

Also, just because someone's loud enough to correct you doesn't make them right.
posted by Metroid Baby at 3:58 AM on June 22, 2016 [6 favorites]

This is probably the first time therapy has been suggested as the answer to a grammar question, but I couldn't resist the frisson so here it is.

It's probably not a coincidence that the over-correction in question is about Mom and Dad?
posted by nobody at 4:08 AM on June 22, 2016

1. You feel manipulated and gross because you've been manipulated in a gross way. If not into doing what this person wants, then into feeling the way they want you to feel.

2. Yes, as a linguist I agree with any and all comments above that prescriptive grammar is BS.

3. Prescriptive grammar is nonetheless an important part of your personal value system, and unlike the abusive person I'm not here to judge your personal values.

4. This is why the abusive person used prescriptive grammar as a vehicle for gaining your attention: you now think you have to pay attention to what they said or betray your own personal values.

5. But the important thing here is: don't pay any attention to the content of what they said, they don't even believe it themselves, they just believe (correctly) that it will work to get you questioning yourself, your own values, your own standards, and your own right to feel manipulated and gross.

5a. Really, I honestly don't care what Strunk and White would think about the accuracy of the correction, nor what David Crystal would think about the accuracy of the correction, nor even (sorry!) what either you or the abusive person think about the accuracy of the correction, because the correction itself is a MacGuffin.

Giving unsolicited advice is always rude, so this person is in the wrong for giving it to you even though you think it is the kind of unsolicited advice you want and even have a moral obligation to follow.

You can tell them to stop with the unsolicited advice, without outright telling them "you are being rude" (which would be nuclear levels of meta-rude and is never done) and without getting mired in a discussion about it. Here's how:

Next time, either say nothing or else "Cut it out!" or "Cut out the criticism." or "Please keep your comments to yourself." That's it. No getting into any arguments or discussions.

As for how to stop yourself feeling bad about this - you can't. Your feelings are what they are, aind in this case, they're actually giving you valuable information: that you feel manipulated and gross in response to Abusive Person's discourse. I would suggest avoiding this person as much as possible, but I'm guessing you've already thought of that, so all that's left is to accept the way you feel about it.
posted by tel3path at 4:23 AM on June 22, 2016 [6 favorites]

There's nothing morally superior about using correct Standard English. It's just another dialect and but for quirks of fate, another dialect would have become the standard form. Sure, if you were writing an essay or a job application, correct Standard English makes a more appropriate impression. But in a text message? If someone did that to me they'd get a rant about dismissing other people's culture. I find it amazing that all my super liberal friends constantly post prescriptivist grammar memes on fb without considering how bloody imperialistic it makes them sound.
posted by kitten magic at 4:44 AM on June 22, 2016 [1 favorite]

I am sure others have already addressed this, but most grammar "norms" are in fact prescriptive, i.e., unnatural constructions that were artificially imposed on the population by (largely) dead white straight men. The only proper speech is how people feel comfortable speaking -- period, end of story.
posted by lecorbeau at 5:50 AM on June 22, 2016 [1 favorite]

I will add to the chorus, grammar is not a moral imperative. If someone understands exactly what you just said but then quibbles about the grammar anyway THEY are the ones who lack moral fiber, critical thinking skills, and actual mastery over the language (which is constantly evolving anyway).

Its been said a few times above, I think this person is just trying to get you to feel bad about yourself, is there a middle finger emoji?
posted by deadwater at 6:00 AM on June 22, 2016

I am a copy editor and my text messages are a damn mess and that's how I like them. Eff that guy.
posted by BlahLaLa at 6:16 AM on June 22, 2016

is there a middle finger emoji?

I'm too slow with my post. Wanted to say what emoji best expresses "my aren't we cranky today"?

(And I don't even care if the ? should be inside the "".)
posted by puddledork at 6:59 AM on June 22, 2016

> is there a middle finger emoji?


Another editor chiming in to say this person is a rude crank and I'd bet their "correction" has less to do with wanting everyone to use correct grammar/punctuation/etc. and more to do with them wanting to have their supposed superiority acknowledged.
posted by rtha at 7:43 AM on June 22, 2016 [3 favorites]

I would note that you've learned a new thing and do your best to use the new-to-you way everywhere EXCEPT when communicating in text with this person.

This would allow me to find "zen" in two ways: First, regardless of how hard and fast of a "rule" this really is, it makes sense and it's easy enough to follow and it feels nice to be mindful about how you are communicating, so you have leveled up a little. That this particular lesson came from a pile of shit is just means that it is particularly well fertilized.

Second, and I will admit this is petty: it is fun the poke the pedants. Especially the ones who want to exert control over ridiculous things like the grammar used in a freaking text message. It gives you the upper hand because they'll either be silently annoyed that you didn't change OR feel compelled to correct you again at which point you can text back "lolol - I wasn't aware that we were prepping these text messages for print." or something else snarky.
posted by sparklemotion at 7:56 AM on June 22, 2016

> OMG, as a former copy editor, I rule this "not even a thing, and definitely not a rule."

As a current copyeditor, I concur. Just ignore this nonsense.

Also, since some people seem to be forgetting it, I quote the Note right below the comment box: Wisecracks don't help people find answers. Thanks.
posted by languagehat at 8:08 AM on June 22, 2016 [2 favorites]

I would like to expand on what several other people have said, and ask you to think back to the advent of prescriptive grammar.

Where did it come from, anyway? Language is a natural construct. It is community property of its speakers. It belongs to the people who speak it, collectively. Who are these people who crowned themselves bosses of it? The answer to that question is, "Some assholes." Just some assholes.

Prescriptive grammars are fiats. They're rules imposed by a bunch of self-appointed, do-nothing 'authorities' who took it upon themselves to claim some type of ownership over something that is not their (exclusive) property in the first place. It's straight up fucking ridiculous.

And with little exception, the rules and guidelines they set up are not even prescriptions but proscriptions. They are designed in large part to diminish the language, not add to it. They don't add meaning or nuance. They're destructive, not creative. They're silly, classist rules designed to distinguish the speaker from some unspecified hoi polloi.

If anyone is morally in the wrong, it's the turds who go around trying to constrain others' language use based on some vague, made-up authority that they usually can't even cite.

Now, not all prescriptive "grammar" (because it's not even grammar) are unadulterated, straight up evil or anything. Some prescriptivism can be helpful in outlining potential ambiguity and such, so having some simple rules of thumb can be helpful. For grade school students. Prescriptive rules can be very helpful for fourth grade teachers helping children learn to express complex ideas in writing.

But assuming you are not a nine year old being chastised by your Language Arts teacher, this person has no place telling you anything. In fact, in general terms, unless someone they are paying or grading you to conform to specific rules, nobody does. It's like going around penalizing people for traveling when they're not playing basketball. It's ridiculous.

And, as if there weren't enough things wrong with this already, that convention is not even a prescriptive grammar rule. It's a style guide convention, for typesetting. And whose style guide? Like, what specific person wrote these rules, and under what authority? And again, are they paying or grading you? Is this text message an important legal document that must tightly conform to a specific format or something?

If not, then the appropriate response to this is, "LOL."
posted by ernielundquist at 8:46 AM on June 22, 2016 [6 favorites]

evry time u text this person: make a point off using bad grammar and speling.. And bad punchuation . If they dont get sarcasm,, that is they're problem.
posted by LauraJ at 8:52 AM on June 22, 2016 [1 favorite]

To be clear, this was a matter of the person correcting my disrespectful and unloving behavior with a FTFY wink that just happened to be in the context of capitalization. The irony in this is, as usual, a beautiful thing to behold.

Thanks so much. Hearing that it's not actually a thing helps me to feel like I don't have to change it to be consistent with myself, which sidesteps the struggle altogether. When I'm chatting with or writing about my totally awesome mom, for example, I won't feel like I'm being disrespectful by purposefully ignoring a Very Important Rule about capitalizing family titles because I'm in a snit. (Aaand I've just realized that my love for my mom was used as a tool to shame me, which just ugh.)

It really helped to see it with humor and imagine all of the snarky scenarios suggested here.

Thanks also for the insights on prescriptivist vs. descriptivist language.
posted by Eolienne at 11:58 AM on June 22, 2016 [2 favorites]

text back:

y'know, odd grammar isn't a moral failing. being an insufferable pedant on the other hand...
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 8:30 PM on June 22, 2016

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