My website guru said "I know enough about language to get annoyed when I'm listening to the radio. You're the expert!"
Actually, I'm far from expert (that's David Crystal), but I sometimes annoy other people by drawing attention to their, shall we say, "idiosyncrasies" of language.
I was recently rambling - literally, physically, in the countryside, not just verbally - with a friend who said: "blah-di-blah...different to...blah-di-blah...".
I took the liberty of pointing out that if they were writing, not speaking, I would edit different to, changing it to different from, which is more acceptable in standard written English. So is different to a mistake, a linguistic boo-boo, or an acceptable deviation from the linguistic norm? After all, lots of people say it.
Luckily my friend was gracious enough to continue our conversation, along the lines of "spoken English follows different rules from written English, doesn't it?", rather than dismissing me as an offensive pedant. We enjoyed our conversation and the rest of the walk, but later I had two thoughts (quite a breakthrough for me, as one thought is often a struggle):
When, and with whom, is it acceptable to point out verbal mistakes, deviations from standard English or infelicities (other than in circumstances when you are wearing an editor's hat, and being paid by a client), and when is it impolite or even grossly rude?
When is a "mistake, deviation from standard English or infelicity" acceptable in the spoken medium, but not in the written?
What are your thoughts?
Betterwrite Managing Editor