Do you correct other people's pronunciation / grammar? Do you mind being corrected?

I overheard someone today use the word “epitome” and pronounce it as though it rhymes with “home”. If I mispronounce something. I fully expect (and hope!)to be corrected, but for some reason I feel uneasy correcting others. In the “epitome” incident, I didn’t know the person and would never correct someone I don’t know. My best friend knows absolutely everything about grammar and does not hesitate to correct anyone whether she knows them or not (I find this to be a little aggravating).
What about you? Do you correct or not? And do you mind being corrected?

For proper syntax, the sentence should read whether she knows him or not. :wink:

No, usually I don’t bother correcting poor grammar. I’m just poking some fun with you, of course. I could come up with a correction in just about every post on this board, including many of my own.

I was a reporter for several years and now work in a P.R. Dept. in which we write newsletter articles and news releases on a regular basis. When I was a reporter, editors and other reporters were brutal in correcting any portion of my articles that sounded the least bit awkward. I got used to that type of brutal assessment. It made me a better writer.

Then, I get this job, and the other person who has a position equal to mine is not as receptive to such frank assessments. She also doesn’t seem to care if her syntax is off. I pretty much pissed her off immediately by bluntly pointing out awkward sentence structure. So, now I tread lightly when editing her material. I feel I could help her improve her writing if she cared enough; alas, she does not. Worse, I don’t have a higher standard here to continue to improve my writing.

Clucky, that should be “poking some fun at you.” :wink:

I don’t correct people’s grammar unless it’s in a professional capacity – e.g., when I’m editing their work. Or, occasionally some snot nose will try and correct my grammar in a post (not as a joke, as I just did with Clucky) – some minor mistake in a non-grammar thread, when it should just be ignored as a typo or “slip of the tongue” – and then I am quite pleased to dissect his or her own post until they are forced to crawl away in humiliation.

Sigh. There’s some rule about always making a grammar mistake in a post about grammar. I’m not going to even bother pointing out my mistake – I’m sure you can all find it.

In general, I don’t correct grammar unless it’s a really big mistake on a document at work. I will correct pronunciation in some cases. Like, I’ll correct my friends and family. Also, there’s a woman at work from Bosnia, and she insists that we correct her if she says something wrong.

My big thing is correcting spelling. Most people appreciate it, as it’s usually a typo. I think at work they should give me a stipend for being the “human spell checker.” Some people, though, get annoyed and don’t understand why spelling is important. :rolleyes:

They both pronounced it constantly as “heidth”.

Both denied they were saying it wrong with the same “logic”.
“It’s heidth and width and depth.”

Pointing to the spelling made no difference to either of them, but when I said “It’s height and weight,” they were convinced I was right after all.

Somehow I doubt they will say it right the next time, but I have my fingers crossed.

As to people correcting me, it happens all the time in the theater, especially when doing Shakespeare, and I always rush to a trusted to dictionary or glossary to be sure; I care about words.

I never correct someone on spoken word mistakes. It feels rude. Well, one exception: if a FRIEND mispronounces a word I may let the conversation flow past a bit then sneak the word back in, pronouncing it correctly. If they pick up on it, fine. If not, that’s fine, too.

Written word mistakes at work: you betcha. And better believe I ask others to proofread my stuff. (Thank heaven my stalwart assistant is a former technical editor.) It’s easy to miss my own mistakes because my brain registers what I intended, not what I actually wrote. We all pass our stuff around for others to check. The idea is to make all written communications from our agency clear and correct. It helps that the folks approach corrections AS helpful. We help one another save face by catching routine errors before they go public, so to speak.

Outside work I notice errors but don’t sweat them a lot as long as I can understand the general intent.

Amiably idiotic,

Bunny, I luved yer split infint.

I correct for a living (paper editor); therefore (how 'bout that use of a conjunctive adverb?), when I’m out among people (they let us out occasionally), I tend to enjoy the double negatives, errors in syntax (love that word), run-on sentences, errors in agreement and everything else.

It is sort of like my own way of hearing “America sing” (nod to Whitman), and I just eat it up. I could listen to a truck driver from the Panhandle of Texas talk to a south-side Chicago butcher for hours. It’s better than cable.

I love sitting in a cafe listening to people say, “We was,” “Dey done,” “he be” and “I seen”. I just sit there and smile. Our language is so alive.

Correct them? Not me. I’d pay to hear them.

Yeessss! ::air fist-pump::

DAMN, I love this place! Hang around a short while and someone will say it better. Good for you, TV!

There’s a niche for formal correctness but there’s an even broader space for the salt and savor of used language. Studs Terkel, Mark Twain, Charles Kuralt, etc. got it right. Clapping a bell jar over language just stifles and strangles vitality.

P.S. TV, you do realize, don’t you, that unlimited confusion may result from our similar SNs? I think of myself as “Veb” anymore but some folks understandably still do the “TV” thing. You won’t mind if I forward nasty emails, stick you with answering for some of my incoherent posts, etc., right?

I generally don’t correct a grammar or pronunciation mistake when I’m talking with someone. I have no problem with them making one, as long as I can understand their meaning.
I don’t mind being corrected either, but I’m a little quirky. I intentionally use incorrect grammar at times, unless I’m arguing or in a serious discussion. Otherwise, I might throw in the occasional ain’t or different dialect eccentricities that aren’t native my region. :slight_smile:
I don’t know why, but I just enjoy doing it. I suppose I sometimes do it to lower expectations but I don’t think that’s the main reason. When I was younger, I knew someone that did the same thing. It struck me as rather charming, and I’ve done it ever since.

I’m in two minds about this.

When I graduate from this little college on the hill, I’m going to have a bit of paper in my hand that says linguistics on it.

I love dialects. They fascinate me. Variation? Bring it on.

At the same time, I’m a good speaker. Six years of speech therapy, parents who drilled “the right way to speak English” into my head, general dislike of where I come from…

I guess what I’m trying to say is that I think that dialect and so on is wonderful and should be preserved… but damn it, I’m going to rag on quietgirl if she says “I seen.”

She’s the only one I’ll correct, though.

I hardly ever correct people when they speak. I see no point in it. However, if a person consequently mispronounces a word or uses the wrong preposition or something like that, I might say something, but always in a nice way, and only if I know the person well.

Written Swedish (in my case) is a bit different. I’m much more conservative when it comes to the written word. Language does evolve, it would be disatrous if it didn’t, but I believe we should wait until the majority of users have adopted the new way before putting it in writing.

I absolutely don’t mind being corrected myself, unless it’s just pointless nitpicking. But here on SDMB, I think it’s a nice thing if someone would point out to the poor Swedish chick if she was making a fool out of herself.

I don’t casually correct other’s speech or spelling. Sooner or later, someone will give you that"And who the hell do you think YOU are, Mr. Uppity Pants?" look, and if you are in a place where alcohol is being consumed, might even be ready to fight over it.
On the other hand, I constantly correct my SO. She wasn’t urged to read as a child, and never got into the habit. She appreciates the corrections although she would never admit it. Then how would I know?
After 30 years, you KNOW.

If my kids mispronounce something, I correct them – so they’ll know how to say whatever it is correctly. I also correct my husband. I have asked him if he wants to be corrected and he says he does – again, so he’ll know better in the future. In both cases, I wait to make the correction until we are in private. I would never correct anyone else – especially not a stranger. I would feel funny doing so.

I don’t mind being corrected politely when I mispronounce something. I realize that my reading vocabulary has always been larger than my spoken vocabulary, so I do make the odd mistake, and I like to be corrected so I can avoid those mistakes thereafter.

I don’t correct people unless I’m asked to proofread something they’ve written (which I’m often asked to do). Then I go to town.

What I don’t like is when the people here try to correct (or even just blatantly make fun of) the way I talk. I speak a standard American dialect, but I live in Scotland where many people consider American English to be a “butchering” of the “proper” English language. Needless to say a lot of words are pronounced differently between the two dialects, although they are perfectly appropriate in their own dialect. Having some knowledge of linguistics, I usually counter with the argument that they are in fact seperate dialects and perfectly correct in their own right. I also sometimes point out that in many cases American English follows an older form of English than does present-day British English (e.g. words like “gotten”). None of my arguments are taken seriously, of course, because the original intent is usually just to make fun of Americans. (And what could be more fun than that? It never gets old. Sigh.)

For the record it’s my use of alveolar flaps in the place of /t/'s that draw the most attention (e.g. the way Americans pronounce “city” more like “sid-ee” than “sit-ee” – hope that’s clear). I would never try to “correct” this anyway. I’d feel like an idiot saying “sit-ee”. I also used to feel uncomfortable pronouncing traditional Scottish names and words the way they should be; like “loch” (/lax/, where the final consonant is a velar fricative). I do it now, though. There are a few words I wish I had the nerve to pronounce like they do here. For example, “proven” is pronounced with a long “o” (i.e. rhymes with “cloven”). I think that’s cool. Maybe in a few more years I can filter that in with my newly acquired speech idiosyncracies, and no one will notice.

I don’t correct pronouncations unless it’s really hideous. I hate sloppy writing, however, and went nuts with correcting people on the boards until someone told me to knock it off. But at work, everyone asks me to write everything in my style and correct the spelling (I am a human spell check and 411).

I know someone who is buggy on people prouncing names correctly. Since we are both into musical theatre, he’s always correcting me on foreign names. Makes me nuts.

We’re a bilingual family. My mother tongue is (American) English; fella bilong missus flodnak’s is Norwegian. I will gently correct flodjunior (flod2k doesn’t talk yet), but whenever possible I’ll try to just repeat the word or phrase back to him correctly. ("…and then we goed inside again." “Oh, and what did you do after you went inside?”) If I notice he is consistently mispronouncing a word, or if he continues to let his Norwegian intrude into his English after hearing the correct version several times, then I will call it to his attention more directly. Never when anyone outside the immediate family can hear, however.

I will correct fbmf’s English, and do the same for other Norwegian speakers I know well, only if what they said was so wrong that an English speaker who doesn’t know Norwegian wouldn’t get it. If my better half makes a less serious error, I will try the same trick as with flodjunior, try to slip the correction into conversation somehow. He will basically do the same for my Norwegian, although our errors in one another’s languages have become relatively infrequent now. (We’ve been married for ten years, so…)

I never correct a native speaker’s English and I get miffed if someone does that to me.


Trust me, I get “Letters to the Editor” that will probably rival your nasty e-mails and irrational posts (you don’t know angry until you hear from the mother of the bride pointing out you misdiscribed the bride’s wedding gown [What is the difference between off-white and pale coral anyway?]). Someday we should colaborate for a nasty note thread.


(sorry about the hijack)

I like to be corrected. I’d rather look like a fool for just a moment than say something wrong for a lifetime.

However, I realize most people don’t appreciate it. I only correct people I know well if they seem to take it well. I will only correct a casual aquaintance if I feel like I have some special knowledge about the subject, like if they’re using a term from a field I know well, or if they make an error that I just discovered–like, “Actually, did you know that the more correct word is ‘flout,’ not ‘flaunt’? I just found that out the other day!” You know, when it’s more like conversation than criticism.

I try to hold back on the grammar flames, since they aren’t clever, but I relish the opportunity to sic a quote if someone has pissed me off.

I shout corrections at the tv all the time, though. “Gee, were you in Makeup the day they taught subject-verb agreement, you illiterate moron?”

Since I can’t hear people, I don’t correct them & I don’t like correcting board writers too much as they aren’t too accepting of that.

I don’t mind people correcting me on what I said, since I can’t hear it anyway.