Column: Good grammar is sexy


It’s true — people with better spelling and grammar get more dates.

I regularly receive emails from readers asking me about the death of spelling and grammar, especially concerning the rise of generative AI. They fear writing skills are on the endangered species list as our lives become increasingly dependent on technology.

Never fear, because you need good grammar and spelling to procreate (or at least get a date). But is this true across the board? Not so fast.

In a 2022 ProWritingAid study of more than 12,000 online daters from the U.S. and the U.K., 63 percent of women surveyed and 53 percent of men said good grammar was important to them for “swiping right” (finding someone attractive in Tinder-speak). However, what people said and what they actually did are two different stories.

Let’s start with women. Among women aged 18–34, 58 percent reported good grammar was important in a dating profile. In reality, this group was 311 percent more likely to find another dater attractive if the person’s profile showed excellent language skills. For women 35 and better, 65% said good grammar is important, and they were 39 percent more likely to pick a profile with better grammar.

Now for the dudes. And it hurts me to say it, but the news isn’t good. Among men in the 18–34 age range, half reported good grammar was important in an online dating profile, but, in reality, they were 11 percent less likely to select a profile with a superb grasp of the English language. In the 35-and-older age group, 55 percent of men claimed good grammar was important, but they were 10 percent less likely to find a dater with good grammar attractive.

What are the lessons here? Have a well-written dating profile if you want to date a smart woman. However, if you want to be found attractive by a male doofus, dictate your profile to a first-grader.

I have some issues with this.

Although I didn’t find my wife through online dating (we met the old-fashioned way), this study makes me question men’s motives for engaging in online dating. Moreover, if you want a long-lasting relationship, I think you should swing for the fences. This is where AI or a human Cyrano de Bergerac can actually help!

Daters can use a service like Fiverr to have someone write an online dating profile for you. Or, if you want to go the AI route, you could use ChatGPT to generate a (mostly) error-free profile. The free version of Grammarly can check your profile for spelling and grammar errors.

If you’re dating for love, have better grammar. Good spelling is sexy. Take it from me, your newspaper grammar guru and armchair love expert.


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