Whether or not you are part of the Apple world, you’re probably aware by now of the new iOS app called Grammar Snob. Articles about it abound; for a mere $0.99 you can correct errors in your friends’ iMessages like a boss.
When I read the first reports about the app, I had mixed feelings: on one hand, anything that might help writers learn the difference between there, their, and they’re has to be a good thing, right? But on the other hand, I can’t imagine using this app to (for all intents and purposes) humiliate friends, family, or clients.
Yes, I’m a freelance editor, and yes, I spend my days correcting stories, blogs, articles, web copy, and many other types of writing. When I send these back to the author, they are often “covered in red ink,” which actually means I used track changes to mark up a digital copy with corrections; track changes allows both author and editor to see the original document with suggested changes in a different color (often red). I understand how intimidating that sea of red can be for a newer author; I even wrote a blog titled “How to Survive ‘The Shock’: Your First Round of Editing” to help you put those edits into perspective.
This Isn’t Professional—It’s Personal
But acting as a professional whose job it is to work with a writer is very different from acting as a grammar snob who wants to let you know you are WRONG. We all make mistakes; even paid professional editors are human. My go-to typing mistake is to add “r” whenever I type “you”; I have no idea why, but my fingers just seem to automatically add that extra letter whenever I’m texting. I’m one of those people who really tries to make sure my texts are grammatically correct before I push send (which can be quite a challenge thanks to Siri and autocorrect, right?). My point is that marking up a message and returning it to the sender just seems to me to be in poor taste, and this is one app I do not intend to use.
I’d love to know your thoughts. Am I looking at this the wrong way? Am I taking a fun app too seriously? Or would you be angry/humiliated/embarrassed to have your iMessage marked up and returned to you? Please let me know in the comments, and if you feel like sharing your biggest messaging faux pas, that would be great too.
Candace Johnson is a professional freelance editor, proofreader, writer, ghostwriter, and writing coach who has worked with traditional publishers, self-published authors, and independent book packagers on nonfiction subjects ranging from memoirs to alternative medical treatments to self-help and on fiction ranging from romance to paranormal. As an editorial specialist, Candace is passionate about offering her clients the opportunity to take their work to the next level. She believes in maintaining an author’s unique voice while helping him or her create and polish every sentence to make it the best it can be. Learn more here, and follow her on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.