In Tough Times, Grammar Snobs Get Tougher

By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 4, 2009 7:07 AM CST
Seattle SuperSonics fan Jason Little holds up a sign referring to SuperSonics owner Clay Bennett. Note the spelling.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – America’s self-proclaimed language cops are turning up the heat on spelling and grammar offenders, MSNBC reports, hitting the streets with Sharpies and venting their frustrations online. One psychologist says the flare-up could represent a need for control during hard times. “When people are under stress, they have less tolerance for minor frustrations,” she says. “Spelling is something concrete. It does make you feel temporarily in control.”

Those up in arms over misplaced quotation marks and improper apostrophes could also suffer from childhood trauma—or a power trip. Then again, some crusaders may simply be unable to stop themselves. “Our brains are wired to notice what’s different and when you’re sure of the right way and the wrong way, you notice mistakes more,” says a psychologist.