Skitt's Law

Skitt's Law

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Added Jun 15, 2012 at 06:04PM EDT by Don.

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Skitt's Law is an Internet axiom which states that people who correct other's spelling or grammar are likely to commit errors themselves. It is often used as a humorous critique of the pedantic Internet users known as Grammar Nazis. Several similar laws referring to the same principle have arisen independently, but Skitt's Law is the most prevailing term.


On April 26th, 1999, a member of the Usenet group alt.usage.english[3] G. Bryan Lord (a.k.a. Skitt) coined the term in a thread discussing the nuances of using the titles "Ms. and "Miss." When user Perchprism replied remarking that the group's rules may make some users to be overly self-conscious, Skitt replied with the definition of "Skitt's Law":

"You've entered my vocabulary: Skitt's Law, a corollary of Murphy's Law, variously expressed as "any post correcting an error in another post will contain at least one error itself" or "the likelihood of an error in a post is directly proportional to the embarrassment it will cause the poster." The effect is, of course, magnified a hundredfold if the post is in reply to Skitt himself."

Similar Laws

On May 15th, 1990,[17] user Andrew Bell replied to a thread regarding grammar corrections that are incorrect with "Bell's First Law of Usenet":

"Bell's First Law of USENET: Flames of spelling and/or grammar will
have spelling and/or grammatical errors."

In March of 1992, Austrilian John Bangsund of the Victorian Society of Editors coined "Muphry's Law" in the Society of Editors Newsletter[10] as an editorial version of Murphy's Law.

"Muphry's Law dictates that (a) if you write anything criticizing editing or proofreading, there will be a fault of some kind in what you have written; (b) if an author thanks you in a book for your editing or proofreading, there will be mistakes in the book; (c) the stronger the sentiment expressed in (a) and (b), the greater the fault; (d) any book devoted to editing or style will be internally inconsistent.

On April 20th, 1999, just six days prior to Skitt's Usenet post, webmaster Jed Hartman posted an article titled "Nitpickers R Us", which introduced "Hartman's Law of Precriptivist Retaliation."

"Hartman's Law of Prescriptivist Retaliation states that any article or statement about correct grammar, punctuation, or spelling is bound to contain at least one eror."

In the October 2001 issue of the language quarterly publication Verbatim[9], American lexicographer Erin McKean was quoted describing what she referred to as "McKean's Law."

"Any correction of the speech or writing of others will contain at least one grammatical, spelling, or typographical error."


On December 3rd, 2003, Skitt's Law was referenced in a thread on the English Forums[12] regarding the nuances of sex and gender rules. On November 10th, 2004, Vocaboly[13] forums member Maria Conlon mentioned the adage in a thread regarding the correct usage of the responses "me too" and "you too." On August 8th, 2005, The Straight Dope[15] forums member Mops posted a thread questioning if there was a law for spelling corrections that contained spelling mistakes, to which user Catalyst replied that it was known as "Gaudere's Law" on Straight Dope and "Skit's Law" and "Tober's Lor" elsewhere. On October 23rd, 2009 The Telegraph[14] published an article tittled "Internet rules and laws: the top 10, from Godwin to Poe", listing Skitt's Law as the fourth Internet rule in the top ten list. On the following day, an entry for Skitt's Law was created on the Rational Wiki[11], which pointed out its similarities to Muphry's Law and McKean's Law. On December 10th, the blog Net Culture Talk[4] published a post titled "Internet Meme: Skitt's Law", claiming the point of the law was to point out that "everyone makes typos."


endermens 2 months ago the 87 people who disliked this video need to go sit in the corner and think about their miserable lifes Reply 169 fjohnson747 1 month ago This comment has received too many negative votes The plural of life is "lives", not lifes. No go sit in the corner and think about your failed education. Replyin reply to endermens TheBeast0911 1 month ago I believe you ment to say "Now" instead of "No" Reply . 17 iá ., in reply to fjohnson747 hello32600 1 week ago I believe you meant to say "meant" instead of "ment" Reply 17in reply to TheBeast0911 derekprince1991 1 second ago Lol, Skitt's Law at its finest! Reply . in reply to hello32600 (Show the comment) I met one Harvard Extension certificate holder who was functionally illierate, I kid you not... She is quite proud of her Harvard certificate and advertises her affiliation with Harvard in newspaper advertisements Of course, people instantly recognize that she has 9th grade verbal skills and most folks are left scratching their heads when they fdiscover that her Harvard certificate is genuine. MUPHRY'S LAW Sweet Sweet Hypocresy Nen ust mRainy Mood singh0387 1 day ago 86 Or The Netherlands lollypop12 in reply to singh0387 1 day ago or the belgians MegaStupidoo in reply to lollypop12 1 day ago No idiot it would be Or Belgium ThreeToucans in reply to MegaStupidoo 1 day ago palm face MegaStupidoo in reply to ThreeToucans 1 day ago 2 -Facepalm- missingxyourXsoul in reply to MegaStupidoo 20 hours ago 18

In addition to the comments and texts that are found online and fall under the definition of Skitt's Law, numerous images of xenophobic picket signs and bumper sticker messages advocating the proper use of the English language in faulty grammar have gone viral during the height of the Tea Party Movement between 2010 and 2011, which subsequently became a popular subject of online ridicule under the neologism "Teabonics".


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External References

[1] Rational Wiki – Skitt's Law

[2] Wikipedia – Murphy's Law

[3] Google Groups – to step down

[4] Net Culture Talk – Internet Meme – Skitt's Law

[5] Switched – Skitts Law

[6] Wordpress – Typos and Grammer – Skitt's Law

[7] Mathkb – The Spider and the Fly

[8] – Nitpickers R Us

[9] World Wide Words – Verbatim

[10] – Muphry's Law

[11] Rational Wiki – Skitt's Law

[12] English Forums – Skitt's Law

[13] Vocaboly – Me Too You Too

[14] The Telegraph – Internet Rules and Laws – The Top 10, From Godwin to Poe

[15] The Straight Dope – Is there a name for this law?

[16] Wordpress – Skitt's Law

[17] Google Groups – Stories and writing quality

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