Celia Rivenbark

Grammar matters in online dating

Is 2016 going to be the year in which you find your soulmate? Are you committed to plunging into dating websites if need be? Well, god speed and get tested.

No. What I meant to say was that, when it comes to crafting the perfect online profile, literacy do count for something.

A recent report in the “Wall Street Journal” found that bad grammar can torpedo romance faster than a garlic milkshake.

Run-on sentences, misspellings and even an entire dating profile written in lower-case were signs that potential suitors were lazy, imprecise and possibly a Kardashian.

The automatic proof-reading company, Grammarly, analyzed spelling errors on dating site eHarmony and discovered that a man with two spelling errors on the site was 14 percent less likely to receive a positive response compared with a man with zero spelling errors.

Interestingly, poor spelling by a woman, the “Journal” reported, didn’t seem to affect her chances of a positive match.

This is not surprising. Men are just naturally more forgiving of a few dangling participles. They are more concerned with physical appearance than misplaced modifiers and the like. You can have the best grammar in the universe but if you show up for that coffee date at Starb’s with a pretty sizable neck goiter, he’s gonna run like his clothes are on fire. Word o’ warning.

And all you will be able to do is think to yourself: “I imagined he would be someone with whom I could have pursued a relationship.”

One of the most depressing revelations in the “Journal” story was that there is an entire industry that caters to folks who have trouble stringing compelling words together. eFlirt uses professional writers to craft irresistible profiles, rewriting copy submitted by clients who need a little help.

It’s like Cyrano de Bergerac for the millennials. The reader thinks you wrote it but really there was a moonlighting English teacher out there in the metaphorical bushes stage whispering to you what to say.

One of the worst offenses when crafting a profile or responding to someone else’s, the article noted, is the use of text abbreviations. For instance, if you’re really interested in meeting someone based on their profile, you do not want to write: “Sup?” “ur hot” or “Netflix & chill?”

These are not good things, especially the last, which I have recently learned is NOT about watching a movie and relaxing at all but actually means “having sex.” Harumph! And, please, pay attention to “your.”

Don’t respond to a profile with “Your pretty” or you’re toast.

It’s a good idea to remember the very wise words of author Lynne Truss in her best-selling grammar send-up “Eats, Shoots & Leaves” which famously decried the “sloppy usage and low standards” perpetuated by the internet and text messaging. Using this example of how punctuation is hugely important, Truss reminded readers that “A woman, without her man, is nothing” is changed dramatically by a colon, becoming: “A woman: without her, man is nothing.” Much better.

Celia Rivenbark is the New York Times best-selling author of “Rude B****** Make Me Tired.” Visit www.celiarivenbark.com.

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