Rant: Grammar Nazi’s of the internet, you need to chill out.

The internet can be a wonderful tool for open communication allowing the exchange of ideas and knowledge. However, it often becomes a place of misunderstanding, annoyance and even bullying whether intentional or not.

Globally, english is generally accepted as the international language as it is used in international law, Business and Air traffic control to name a few areas. The thing is though, that the majority of the world does not have english as a first language. Not only that, in english speaking countries at least in North America, the quality of public education is dropping rapidly. AND, due to various screw ups in societal and technological development learning issues are spreading like wild fire.

My entire life, I have been frustrated with those who instead of trying to understand the message that is being said, put all their energy into the specific words, spelling or grammar that was used. While I grant that it would be wonderful if we all spoke and wrote English to a level satisfactory to that of an English professor, this is simply not realistic. While easy to learn, as many of you may know, grammatically speaking, English is one of the most difficult languages to learn. Additionally, it has one of the most expansive and descriptive vocabularies in the world. This makes it extremely easy for anyone to make mistakes.

Often, people who have English as a second language are extremely frustrated in trying to communicate thoughts as they simply cannot convey their message as efficiently as they could in their native language. This is a feeling that both R and I have personal experience with. In R’s case, English is her third language. While I find her English to be better than some native speakers, she continuously suggests that her English is not up to her standards. When I moved to Israel, I quickly realized that my Hebrew was simply not good enough to convey what I wanted to say properly.

In English, I can talk about anything from Science to Art to History. But in Hebrew my conversations were limited to things like “lets go” or “whats for lunch.” Hebrew of course is a lot easier over all than English as it has very few grammatical exceptions. English however, is not the same.

So your question is, well if English is your first language why do you make mistakes?

For many years, I did not have an answer to this. Recently, and quite simultaneously many people close to me who are educated people on the topic said to me, “you know what, I think you are dyslexic.”

This made sense to me. I often do things like misspell common words that I use all the time, make the same spelling mistakes on the same words over and over again and my favorite is to Capitalize words that do not need to be Capitalized. This explained a lot to me and gave a clearer idea as to how my brain processes information and why in my life I am continually frustrated with that fact that my message is not being understood.

Intrigued by this new discovery, I mentioned this to my mother, but given that my grades were reasonable, she wouldn’t have noticed. However, having reasonable grades does not mean I did not and do not have a learning issue, it simply means, I was smart enough to not get poor grades setting off any red flags. But it also means I slipped through the cracks and did not reach my fullest potential in high school.

Notice I have not said learning disability, because for me if I have dyslexia, it is new too me and up until this point, with the exception of being thoroughly annoyed by grammar naziz and those with language OCD it has not stopped me from pursuing excellence.

So for those of you out there on the internet, unless of course you do it due to a mental illness such as OCD, who continually make snide or rude comments to people because of spelling or grammar, I would like you to consider that not all people have English as a first language, not all people were privileged enough to have high levels of education from a young age and not all people have the same way of learning and communicating.

If you continue to nit pick and harass people on the internet in manners other than constructive ones, then you need to understand that you are a bully. Even if it is unintentional, your comments can be hurtful and rude and will only lead to others giving up on themselves. Nobody is infallible. If you continue to make such comments without considering where the other person is coming from, and you choose to ignore the persons thoughts and ideas because of something, that for most people is not as important, then you are as I said, a bully and a jerk, plain and simple.

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