Grammar don’t matter on a first date – Mark Butler

By Hannah Frazer 

Mark Butler ran this grammar and love tutorial, bringing with him a book full of knowledge and experience (he actually has written a book). From misplaced apostrophes to double negatives. From possessive pro nouns to conjunctions, Butler is able to educate and entertain simultaneously.

He shares personal experience with dating, online and otherwise. He makes connections between his intense frustration with bad grammar and the imminent demise of his past relationships. He turns to the audience to find support and likeminded individuals. He gives specific examples of the bad grammar that he has observed with passed relationships, and asks if this would be an error we could move on from, even find endearing or if it would indeed be a deal breaker.

Butler takes a “show no mercy” approach to these past loves, with an attitude that could possibly be taken as arrogance. He asked for the audience’s input, it came as a maybe not so big surprise that we are possibly just as much grammar snobs as Butler. With the audiences general consensus that the much too commonly used ‘LOL’ (if not being used ironically) is not something that could be forgiven. Mistaking your and you’re and confusing the various ‘there’s’ was also up there with reasonable excuses to end a relationship before it got too far.

It is not only with past romantic liaisons that grammar gets a once over. Popular hits of the 80’s, 90’s and today also have a bright red marker taken to them. Songs, should you check out this show, you will not be able to enjoy the same way.

If you are a grammar geek, you will find a comrade in arms, a kindred spirit in Butler. If you are not, the idea that you learn something new every day will never feel so relevant. You will think you have experienced a thousand days when you will leave, educated and not able to speak a sentence again without mulling it over in your mind a million times. Or taking way too long to overlook text and email messages. Your finger will hover over that send button for what will seem like a lifetime. Your mind will become the internal editor you hadn’t yet locked into.

Again, whether you care about potential partners having a grasp on the English language or not, Butler makes the evening feel like you are having a casual drink with a good friend. Everyone comfortable enough in his presence to participate and even correct the tutor. Education made fun. Maybe we would all be better at the basics of our language had we had a fun and entertaining teacher like Butler.

Grammar don’t matter on a first date is on at The Court House Hotel in Nth Melbourne until October 5