On dating sites, it’s not just your appearance that matters, but your language as well. Research shows that typos and grammatical stutters can make you miss the love of your life.
Are you a spontaneous, kind and reliable guy who is searching online for a sports partner to enjoy life with? Do you like to go for a run in the woods or park, but also like to hang out on the sofa in the evening with a cup of tea, an interesting chain and some delicious candy?
In any case, make sure that your dating profile does not contain any language errors, as this will turn off potential partners. That’s the scientifically corroborated advice of linguist Tess van der Zanden, who will take his Ph.D. at Tilburg University on Friday to research dating profiles.
A PhD student discovered that typing errors like hut instead of The, can give the impression to profile visitors that someone is careless. “It seems that this person didn’t want to put any time or effort into it,” she says. “And if you make grammatical mistakes, like d/t or if/then mistakes, you are considered less intelligent. Both types of mistakes make you less attractive, socially and romantically.”
Linguistic errors may indicate more than factual information
It was known that linguistic errors in job application letters could be disastrous. Van der Zanden wanted to know if this also applies to dating profiles. On a dating site, you have to make a very important decision based on little information, specifically whether you like someone as a potential partner. “Language errors can have a huge impact,” says van der Zanden. Especially because it was created spontaneously and unintentionally. They may be talking about the person more than the actual information on the profile, because it may have been intentionally manipulated.”
In preparation for her research, the PhD student visited several dating platforms, including Tinder and Parship. I immediately noticed that it was rife with grammatical errors. There were too many or too few capital letters, punctuation was a mess, words were written separately when they should be together, and so on. In short, golden material for her project.
On Parship, a paid dating site with relatively older members, I sent a message asking people to rate test profiles for attractiveness. She made those profiles herself, some flawlessly, others intentionally with the necessary typing and language errors.
Significantly less attractive
The results showed that errors mattered, but certainly not for all participants. Two out of three individuals did not notice defects. The impact was greater on the other candidates. They find a profile with significantly less bugs attractive. Unfortunately, that can’t be compensated for by an extra pretty picture.
Therefore, pay attention to your language, Van der Zanden advises. “Check your text with the spelling checker or ask someone to correct it.” Another tip from her research: You can score points using the original language, for example using metaphors. Then you look smarter and funnier. So creativity pays off.
Thanks to her insights, Van der Zanden can achieve great success on dating sites herself, but the reality is different. “I’ve never been active there before,” she says. “I met someone in real life. It is also possible.”
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