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Nice Teeth and Good Grammar

It turns out that what women really want – and coincidentally what men really want too – is to find a significant other who has both nice teeth and good grammar.

USA Today reports that an online survey of 5,481 singles conducted for Match.com, the online dating service, reveals a number of interesting findings that you may want to check out for yourself.  Since this is a blog about education, however, I’ll just focus on the most relevant finding:  55% of men and 69% of women judge a potential date’s desirability on whether he or she has mastered agreement of subject and verb.  Seriously, who knew?

I could have been a contenderUsing good grammar came in second to having nice teeth, which I have to say is not really surprising.  Few people make it into the ranks of high earners without a full set of pearly whites.  Even some professional hockey players lose some of their bad boy charm when they smile in the penalty box after beating on an opponent.

But good grammar?  Wow.  As a former English teacher, I feel completely justified now in the endless drills I compelled my students to complete in their grammar books.  How many times did I cajole my students to speak and write good English because, I told them, “Whether it’s fair or not, people will judge you on how you speak.”  How many times did I write in the margins of their papers, “Agreement” or “A single subject takes a single verb.  What is the subject of this sentence?”  Imagine how much they value that instruction today!

I assume that the respondents to the survey were talking about using good grammar in spoken language given that written communication among potential daters usually takes the form of texts or tweets.  Grammar pretty much goes by the wayside along with spelling and punctuation.  Still, I’ve known a few singles (mostly women, I admit), who were completely turned off when they realized a potential date didn’t know the difference between to and too or your and you’re and was baffled by the use of apostrophes.

So good grammar makes a  prospective date more appealing.  This Valentine’s Day forget the candy and flowers and give a potential mate something that really matters:  Strunk and White.

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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in Practical Leadership are strictly those of the author and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Scholastic, Inc.