Four Out Of Five Adults Consider Themselves To Be Good Spellers Yet Large Majority Often Find Spelling Mistakes From Others

Dictionary.com Study Identifies Most Bothersome Misspelled Words and Commonly Confused Terms; Millennials Most Particular About Proper Spelling and Grammar

Aug 20, 2015, 08:00 ET from Dictionary.com

OAKLAND, Calif., Aug. 20, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Spelling and grammar mistakes is a common annoyance of many Americans. If you're bothered by the incorrect grammar in that first sentence, count yourself among the six in 10 Americans (59 percent) who say that improper grammar is their biggest annoyance when it comes to the English language, according to a new study, Grammar Gripes 2015, released today by Dictionary.com, the leading online and mobile resource for everything word related. The study also found that four out of five (80 percent) American adults consider themselves to be good spellers, yet more than seven in 10 (71 percent) say they often find spelling mistakes in written correspondence from others. People might be better at finding mistakes in others' writing than in their own.

Back-to-school season is a good reminder to brush up on grammar and spelling, whether it be in the form of a written exam, work email, or social media post. Dictionary.com's study found that when it comes to social media in particular, 65 percent of adult Americans are bothered by misspellings and improper usage of the English language. The 18-34 set is the most bothered by such slip-ups, with 74 percent in this age group agreeing misspellings and grammar errors on social media irk them. This group, perhaps surprisingly, were consistently more annoyed about grammar mistakes than any other age group.

The Grammar Gripes 2015 study was conducted online by Harris Poll on behalf of Dictionary.com from July 31-August 5, 2015 among 2,052 adults ages 18 and older.

"We were glad to see that Americans are paying close attention to grammar and spelling, though some of the findings did come as a bit of a surprise," said Liz McMillan, chief executive officer of Dictionary.com.  "We may think of millennials as commonly writing in tech-driven shorthand lingo, but they are actually the most likely to consider themselves strong spellers and to be annoyed when other people use words improperly."

Additional findings from the Grammar Gripes 2015 study include:

Gud @ $pellin – Really?

  • While 80 percent of American adults consider themselves good spellers, that number increases to 87 percent for females age 35-44, the highest of any group; only 72 percent of males of the same age rank themselves proficient spellers.
  • Americans may be overestimating their own abilities however, given seven in 10 adults (71 percent) say they often find spelling mistakes in written correspondence from others.
  • Women notice the mistakes more, with three quarters (75 percent) saying they often find spelling errors in others' writing, compared to 66% of men.
  • Typos on restaurant menus, store signs, and ads are a pet peeve of almost six in ten American adults (59 percent).
  • That figure increases to over seven in ten (71 percent) among females age 18-34.

Grammar Police = Female Millennials

  • American adults age 18-34 are most apt to be bothered by misspellings and improper grammar use on social media (74 percent vs. 60 percent age 35-44, 59 percent age 45-54, 64 percent age 55-64 and 60 percent age 65+)
  • The percentage rises to 79 percent for females age 18-34 vs. 69 percent for males the same age
  • Across the board, women were more likely than men to consider themselves strong spellers and to say they were annoyed by improper grammar, misspelled words, and typos.

That "R" in February

  • When given a list of commonly misspelled standalone words, almost four in ten Americans (38 percent) say they are most bothered by the misspelling of February.
  • Misspellings of definitely are also bothersome for 31 percent of American adults; it tops the list for Americans age 18-34 (43 percent).
  • The "I before e except after c" rule still trips up Americans with 30 percent of adults saying the misspelling of receive bothers them the most.

Hors d'oeuvres Get On Your Nerves?

  • Mispronunciations irk almost half (47 percent) of American adults with those in the Northeast bothered the most (56 percent Northeast vs. 47 percent South, 41 percent Midwest and 45 percent West).
  • 46 percent of adult Americans typically correct family or friends when they mispronounce words.
  • Adults age 18-34 are more likely than adults over 35 to agree they have to point out the error (63 percent vs. 47 percent age 35-44, 42 percent age 45-54, 41 percent age 55-64 and 28 percent age 65+).

Commonly Confused in Conversation

  • The number one commonly confused set of terms that is most bothersome to American adults in writing is their vs. they're vs. there, coming in at nearly one in two (46 percent).
  • Your vs. You're came in a close second, with 42% of Americans saying it was the set that most irritated them when used improperly.
  • When it comes to words and phrases, almost half (49 percent) of adults in the U.S. say that they hear could care less used mistakenly in place of couldn't care less.
  • Regardless or irregardless? Almost four in ten Americans (39 percent) hear regardless used incorrectly, just like Gretchen Wiener's in Mean Girls.
  • Joey from Friends isn't the only one – over one-third (35 percent) of Americans say they hear the mispronunciation of supposedly, supposably.

For more information on Dictionary.com, please visit: http://dictionary.reference.com/.  

Survey Methodology
This survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Poll on behalf of Dictionary.com from July 31-August 5, 2015 among 2,052 adults ages 18 and older. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. For complete survey methodology, including weighting variables, please contact Jenny Davis, 925-935-2558.

About Dictionary.com
Dictionary.com, an operating business of IAC (NASDAQ: IACI), is the world's leading, definitive online and mobile resource for everything word related. We provide tens of millions of global monthly users with reliable access to millions of definitions, synonyms, audio pronunciations, example sentences, translations, and spelling help through our services at Dictionary.com and Thesaurus.com. Our leading mobile applications for reference and education have been downloaded more than 100 million times.

 

SOURCE Dictionary.com



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