Twitter grammar police say musicians can't write

A writing enhancement startup called Grammarly decides to analyze celebrities' tweets. Musicians are, it seems, even worse writers than politicians.

It's "going to," Justin, "going to." Screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

I had always thought that technology was freeing burdened souls from having to follow ancient rules. The cherished principle of disruption has taken an ax to any supposed truth that's more than seven years old.

Yet some still want to preserve old ways. Grammarians, for example.

What use is grammar, really? You know what someone's trying to say when they tweet: "LOL. SKOOL SUX!!!!" -- even if the grammar gods might feel the bile rising toward their vocal chords.

Surely the most important thing about communication is the communicating part, not the following-some-old-Englishman's-rules part.

And yet there is an app called Grammarly, whose sole existence is predicated on preserving linguistic decorum.

In order to prove its alleged worth, Grammarly decided to analyze the tweets of the famous to see just how terminal grammar skills had become.

Its conclusions will rock you. For the worst writers on Twitter are, allegedly, musicians. They average 14.5 mistakes every 100 words.

How might this compare with other famous people? Why, the most accurate tweeters are, of course, writers. But even they (we), according to these droning Draconians, make 6.9 mistakes per 100 words -- which sounds like utter piffle.

I can feel your tongue offering involuntary spasms, so might I offer you some nuances?

In general, famous women have stronger grammar skills than famous men on Twitter. Yes, only 11.1 mistakes per 100 words! (The men average 13.)

We all know that the young are, these days, educated to a level just above that of the armadillo, so it's unsurprising that younger celebrities make more mistakes than their mature counterparts.

However, what might stun you into further education is that celebrities over 40 struggle more with spelling.

They make 5.5 mistakes in every 100 words, as opposed to a mere 2.7 for the under-40s. I imagine the proliferation of mere "LOLs" and "AWESOMEs" elevated the younger celebrities' scores.

Still, kids, that's what drugs can do to you in later life. You won't even be able to spell your own name. Ask Mik Jogger.

You might wonder at this point what methodology the Grammarly Police used to reach such painful conclusions.

Its supposedly expert proofreaders analyzed the last 25 tweets from the highest echelons (by number of followers) of celebrity tweeters.

Yes, Biebs, Gaga and, who knows, Beethoven. (You don't think Beethoven's on Twitter. Oh, ye of the little rhythm.)

In fact, 8 of the Top 10 tweeters are musicians (loosely put). The other two are YouTube and President Barack Obama.

By my calculation, 19 of the Top 30 tweeters are musicians -- and I have generously left Selena Gomez out of this equation. Counting further, it seems 31 of the top 50 make their money from music.

So might it be that this analysis was rather weighted against the crotchet-and-quaver types?

Or might it be something else? The term "celebrity" seems to have comprised politicians, actors, athletes, and business leaders. So, in general, all those who often don't write for themselves.

Could it be that all these famous people are hiring semiliterate assistants? Surely not.

No apostrophe between the "I" and the "m"? DING! Screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET
 

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