Does grammar matter in your online dating profile? YES! I don’t know what’s going on lately, but I keep encountering profiles that would make any decent English teacher squirm. Poor grammar, misspellings, and general linguistic mangling are infiltrating both written profiles and verbal speech. I’m somewhat of a grammar nerd, but I know that poorly-written prose is a huge turn-off to more people than just me. In fact, a quick Google search yields dozens of articles on the topic, some of which quantify the decreased rates of response received by poorly-written profiles. And I’m not talking about a misplaced modifier or a preposition at the end of a sentence (although some of us may consider such egregiousness unforgivable)! I’m referring to those profiles that look like they were written by an overzealous 12-year-old girl who is texting her BFF!!! Or even worse, those that somehow managed to evade spell check and all junior high language classes. Is your profile in less-than-pristine condition? Don’t despair. Ask Tamar for content help, and contact me for editorial assistance – I will happily proofread your profile! Here’s a brief primer to remind you of some common grammatical or usage problems.
PLEASE DON’T YELL! Typing in all capital letters looks aggressive and angry. Don’t do it unless you’re making some kind of point. Similarly, don’t use all lowercase letters. Remember to capitalize the first letter of new sentences as well as names and places.
2. Sentence Structure
Have you ever come across a profile that says something like, “I like to travel. I like dogs. I also like pizza. I have a big family.” Never mind that this profile is generic – but it would come alive with some varied sentence structures, like “Having grown up with 5 siblings,…” or “New York is my favorite place to visit…” or “Pizza drives my daily ambition to finish work by noon…” etc.
Using abbreviations in place of actual words looks either lazy or like you’re trying to be cool. Or maybe cool’s not the right word here. But neither situation is ideal. No need for AIM speak (hey, wut r u up to? Do u like me?) or your generational equivalent of popular social communication forms (telegram? Snapchat?). Similarly, don’t assume everyone knows the same acronyms. When it doubt, write it out!
This is a big one. If you aren’t sure of a punctuation mark’s correct usage, avoid it. In other words, don’t randomly add semicolons to look smart or throw in quotation marks unnecessarily (My name is “Caryn.”) For some reason, people like quotes, but if used improperly, the text looks suspicious, like, my name might be Caryn.
Most browsers have a built-in spell check, meaning that typos are clearly denoted by a squiggly red line. So no excuse here. I realize spell check doesn’t always catch errors like your vs. you’re, but human eyes do, so proofread! Or send to me or a friend to review.
Is writing not your strong suit? Or maybe English isn’t your first language? Not to worry – you can still craft an eloquent, enticing, error-free profile. Elicit the help of a friend or even read the text out loud to yourself to check for typos. People online don’t know you, so to the internet world, a sloppy profile = a sloppy person. Luckily, it’s time for spring cleaning, so no more sloppiness!