Grammar is one of those subjects that tends to divide people into two groups: those who address grammar issues in social settings and those who do not.
When people from both groups spend time together, it can cause considerable tension, agreed the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.
Redditor Historical-Fill8218 had a habit of correcting their wife’s grammar, citing her position in the teaching profession as the main reason for doing so.
But when she criticized them for correcting her so often, the Original Poster (OP) wondered if they should lighten up a bit.
They asked the sub:
“AITA for correcting my wife’s grammar?”
The OP had a habit of correcting their wife’s grammar.
“Need some input on this one. My wife is upset with me for always correcting her grammar.”
“Example: We are watching the office.”
“Wife: ‘I bet they’ll be making money off of this show for the rest of their life.'”
The OP’s wife had had enough of it.
“She got angry and then cried and said that I correct her grammar a lot and she finds it condescending and rude and that I am treating her like a child.”
“I didn’t see it that way and feel that it isn’t really out of the norm to correct someone you’re close with, especially when it’s such a basic mistake.”
“I don’t view it as unkind to correct someone you love, especially because people in the world definitely do judge you by how articulate you are.”
“I didn’t believe I was overboard; however, it seems likely I have been.”
“Also, she is a fourth-grade teacher, so it is kind of her job to teach others proper grammar.”
The couple did not come to an agreement.
“She doesn’t want to be corrected. She said she knows it was wrong once it comes out and doesn’t need me to mention something about it.”
“If I correct her, it makes her feel like I’m the teacher and [she is the] student, which is where she feels condescended to.”
“I guess I can let it go because it obviously does come across as condescending, even if I don’t mean it that way.”
“I’m not sure it is a need to always be right. It was very common in my household growing up and wasn’t seen as rude. It’s more to speak properly, I guess.”
“My parents would correct me if I spoke poorly growing up to try and help me be more articulate, so I guess I inherited that habit from there. Maybe I should just bite my tongue.”
Fellow Redditors weighed in:
- NTA: Not the A**hole
- YTA: You’re the A**hole
- ESH: Everybody Sucks Here
- NAH: No A**holes Here
Some thought that a partner was the perfect person to correct grammar.
“She cried? Good grief.”
“Some time ago, my husband told me Minne-an-APOLIS is not the name of the city in Minnesota.”
“‘For some reason, you put that extra syllable in there,’ he said. It must be a regional thing as I’m from Wisconsin and heard this pronunciation all my life. I don’t feel too badly about this; it’s better than confusing Milwaukee with Minneapolis.”
“Guess what I did? I corrected myself and began pronouncing this Twin City by its actual name.”
“Similarly, my husband is from Boston and inserts Rs where they don’t belong, e.g., Africker (Africa), Moner (Mona). He knows he does this, and it’s humorous when I point that out.”
“So, if your spouse can’t correct your grammar, or spelling, for that matter, who can? NTA.” – GibsonGirl55
“You are definitely NTA! Adults who use poor grammar and speak improperly, ESPECIALLY if they are a teacher, should be embarrassed by that behavior.”
“It’s your place, being someone close to her to help her correct these mistakes for when she’s actually in the real world because she’s making a fool of herself. Imagine her saying something like that during a job interview or an employment review for promotion.”
“As a husband and wife, you are there to trust each other and help each other be the best versions of yourselves.”
“If you’re being a d**k about it, that’s one thing. But it sounds like your wife just has s**tty grammar so it happens a lot and, guess what? She’s embarrassed, and she should be. Sorry not sorry; you’re doing her a favor. Keep doing it.” – SeanSpeezy
“NTA. Depending on the delivery of your corrections, I’m gonna go with NTA.”
“There is a proper way to speak, and grammar rules were created for a reason. If your wife doesn’t speak properly, it makes her sound less educated and less credible, especially as a teacher, and can lead to misunderstandings.”
“Since your wife reacted that way, she may have some childhood trauma that you’re bringing to the surface. Perhaps her parents were overly critical of her?”
“I know that if I made grammar mistakes, I would like for people to correct me. Communicating properly is critical to human relationships, plus I don’t want to sound uneducated because it undermines the credibility of my message (who would you trust more delivering the same speech: Barack Obama or Larry The Cable Guy?).” – Mrs_Doubtfire
“I don’t think it is an issue of being rude. People judge each other based on how they speak. For example, I have a couple of friends who love to use the word ‘more’ right before they use a word that ends in ‘-er.'”
“My wife and I both correct them. We don’t do it to be rude. We don’t won’t them to be judged as “dumb” for speaking the way they do. In a professional setting, the way you speak can drastically affect how you or your proposals are seen.”
“NTA.” – Physical_Bad_7405
“Controversial, but NTA. With a condition, has she told you she doesn’t like it and finds it condescending previously? If she has, then Y T A.”
“I say you’re NTA primarily because I do this all the time to almost everyone, and only one person has told me they didn’t like it, so I stopped doing it to them.”
“Others have actually thanked me for it because (like myself) they’d rather be corrected than continue to say something wrong!” – RooneyTheWaster
But others thought it was obvious that the OP was pushing it too far.
“My husband isn’t a native speaker. English is his fourth language. There are times that he does that look when he is describing something that he doesn’t know. There are other times I do correct him when he has things flipped while talking. I just use a hand signal, and he fixes it.”
“I don’t do this to be condescending, though, or the grammar police like OP. I do this to help him because he asked for it. Plus, I know there is a line to not cross so I am not an a**hole.”
“YTA.” – lil-peanutbutter
“YTA. You have done this regularly enough to make her hit a breaking point.”
“People don’t have to speak with ‘proper grammar’ (which is a myth), especially in their own homes. Even (gasp) teachers!”
“You made your wife cry and she expressed that she feels condescended to, but you care about more about pluralizing a word than her feelings. She shouldn’t have to feel like she’s walking on eggshells around you every time she speaks.”
“Learn to let the grammar go and not police how she speaks.” – Crimson_Knight_004
“Okay, so you do a thing she finds upsetting. And then you continue to do the thing because you think it’s no big deal.”
“So, yeah, YTA.” – curly_lox
“I’m an English language teacher and I’m telling you right now that YTA.”
“Do I hear other native English speakers making grammatical mistakes all the time? Yes. Do I correct them? No, because even though it’s my job to teach English grammar, that would make me an AH.”
“Do I make grammatical errors when I speak? Yes, because speaking is an in-the-moment task and mistakes occur. Your poor wife.” – Pleasant-Koala147
“YTA. Learn to swallow the need to always be right and always tell people they are wrong.”
“No one likes that, least of all the person you are supposed to love and respect more than everyone else.”
“It’s completely understandable why she is not happy with you.” – 1u53r3dd1t
“YTA. Linguist here: everyone will occasionally make mistakes like that, even teachers and people with a Ph.D.”
“You correcting your wife will not reduce the number of slip-ups, because the problem isn’t that she doesn’t know. The problem is that she is a human with a human brain.”
“And even if she were learning another language, an aggressive approach to correcting her grammar will not help. It will only make her more anxious when talking to you.” – bemerry123
Some also thought the OP had no place to correct grammar based on their post.
“Can we also talk about how HE DOES THE THING, TOO?! The original post has at least four errors in it that I spotted on my first reading without even paying attention. Examples:”
“‘Need some input on this one,’ should be, ‘I need some input on this one.'”
“‘We are watching the office,’ should be, ‘We are watching The Office.'”
“‘She got angry and then cried and said that I correct her grammar a lot and she finds it condescending and rude and that I am treating her like a child.’ That’s a run-on sentence.”
“‘I didn’t see it that way, and feel that it isn’t really out of the norm.’ He either needs, ‘I feel,’ or to get rid of the comma, as ‘didn’t see’ and ‘feel’ both share ‘I’ as the subject.”
“Why should she need to use proper grammar when making an offhand comment about a TV show, but he doesn’t have to when writing a public post about how important grammar is?!?! Massive YTA on this one.” – 6hMinutes
“Given that you have used an ellipsis and ‘you’re probably right’ is a new sentence after the onomatopoeia, you should probably capitalize ‘you’re.'”
“Now imagine that s**t every time you reached out to connect with someone.”
“YTA. Go talk to your wife about why you feel the need to not communicate with her.” – AttackofMonkeys
“She said she knows (knew) it was wrong once it comes (came) out and doesn’t (didn’t) need me mentioning (cut this:) something about it. If I correct her (comma) it makes her feel like I’m the teacher and (she is the) student, which is where she feels condescended to (where I am condescending towards her).”
“How does it feel to have your grammar corrected by an internet stranger? Imagine how your wife feels, knowing any time she speaks, she risks being criticized by her supposed life partner.”
“Don’t be surprised if she stops speaking to you altogether. YTA!” – Unable_Ad5655
“She was trying to engage with you over the show you were enjoying together, not asking for an English lesson.”
“Also, you don’t seem to practice what you preach. Your post here isn’t free of grammatical errors. I doubt mine is, either. Both are comprehensible though, so it doesn’t matter.” – squigs
After receiving feedback, the OP shared a brief update.
“I see the consensus is I am the AH. I did apologize yesterday and apologized again this morning and will try to stop doing this in the future. Thanks to those who gave constructive feedback!”
While everyone could agree that strong grammar skills had their place, the subReddit was otherwise divided on how the OP was addressing the situation.
If the OP’s wife had given them permission to correct her, that might be one thing, but since she was accusing them of doing this too often, it was clear it was becoming a wedge between them.