SETTLING in for another lonely night of Tinder swiping? Preparing for a pitiful first date that you know will end with you feeling like Ralph Wiggum?
If you’re the type to spend hours crying into your pillow over your woeful, sexless existence, fear not. We’ve officially got you covered.
Popular online dating site Zoosk has revealed the one thing that could be responsible for your online dating woes: poor grammar.
If you don’t know the difference between ‘then’ and ‘than’, ‘you’re’ and ‘your’, and ‘who’s’ and ‘whose’, we have some bad news: you’ve just alienated a ton of dating prospects.
The study surveyed more 9000 Zoosk singles, looking at the extent to which poor grammar affected an individual’s attraction levels across different age groups. Here’s what it found.
1. POOR GRAMMAR IS A DEAL-BREAKER.
The survey found that nearly half of singles (48 per cent) consider grammar to be a deal-breaker in online dating.
2. POOR SPELLING IS AN EVEN BIGGER DEAL-BREAKER.
Blatant spelling errors are a turn-off to the majority of singles (72 per cent). Even slightly more forgivable mistakes, like forgetting that space between “a lot”, will decrease response rates by a good 12 per cent. If spelling and grammar isn’t your strong point, you’d best be getting that dictionary out.
3. IT’S OKAY TO USE FULL STOPS.
This one’s a tad controversial. Previous studies have found that using a full stop at the end of sentences comes across as aggressive or insincere. But according to this survey, a period at the end of a text impresses singles, with 93 per cent saying they’d be happy if they received a text message with this proper punctuation.
4. AND EXCLAMATION MARKS!
First messages sent with an exclamation marks produce a 10 per cent higher response rate. (Just don’t overdo this – you don’t want to sound like shouting is your default register).
5. WOMEN ARE ESPECIALLY CRITICAL OF POOR GRAMMAR.
65 per cent of women said poor grammar – either in an online dating bio or after multiple offences – would be a deal-breaker – compared to 40 per cent of men. Women were also slightly more likely to deem poor grammar a sign of being uneducated, unintelligent and lazy.
6. THE OLDER YOU GET, THE LESS IT MATTERS.
People over the age of 45 were found to be the most lenient about poor grammar, with 43 per cent saying that it doesn’t really mean anything.
7. STOP TRYING TO SOUND HIP.
That is to say, don’t use terms like ‘YOLO’ (which was arguably never actually hip in the first place). People who use this four-letter acronym of prepubescent doom will see a 47 per cent decrease in response rates. That said, ‘LOL’ increases responses by 25 per cent – more than likely because you’re making them think they’re funny.
On that last point, Zoosk relationship expert David Pedersen acknowledged that while these abbreviations are becoming more normalised, some people will always appreciate the use of proper English.
“While abbreviations such as YOLO and LOL are more popular with millennials, these phrases are becoming more common beyond that demographic and slipping into the everyday vernacular.
“These pop-culture phrases could very well become accepted over time, after all, some of them are starting to be included in Oxford’s dictionary! However, there will always be those individuals that appreciate the use of proper English to abbreviations.
“It really comes down to the individuals involved and what they feel comfortable communicating to each other with.”
In October last year, dating site Match ran a similar survey on 5000 U.S. singles. Next to personal hygiene, the quality of a person’s grammar was considered most important, with 88 per cent of women and 75 per cent of men saying it mattered most to them.
But Pederson stressed that statistics and numbers can only tell us so much. Having perfect grammar won’t necessarily make you a perfect date, just as you can be both a poor speller and an excellent conversationalist.
“Despite all the data in the world, you could go on a date with someone who has perfect grammar and not find that spark. Go with your gut instinct and enjoy yourself.”