The pedants revolt: meet the Spanish teenagers who hunt down celebrity spelling errors

Access to the comments Comments
By Euronews
The student detectives at work
The student detectives at work

Celebrities in Spain would be well advised to brush up on their spelling and grammar — lest they find themselves hunted down by a class of teenage spell-checkers who are publicly calling out written mistakes found on social media.

Actors, politicians, sports stars and TV personalities are all in the firing line of the Detectives of the ESO (ESO means secondary education), who have been gaining a reputation for pointing out mistakes.

They created a Twitter and Instagram account, @ESO_Detectives, and started their hunt for grammatically incorrect social media posts coming from celebrity accounts.

As their presence has grown (the Twitter account currently boasts almost 9,000 followers), so has the number of responses from their targets.

The 14- and 15-year-olds, of the institute IES Cuatro Villas de Berlanga, were encouraged in the endeavour by their geography teacher Alejandro Galán.

He aimed to encourage his students to improve their grammar and spelling with one of their most time-consuming after-school activities: social media.

"It's about giving them a didactic use and it's a more fun way to work on the many problems that there are with spelling in high schools," he told Euronews.

Galán says he took the idea from a school in Brazil where students corrected spelling mistakes to learn English.

"At first they were quite surprised, just by talking about Twitter and Instagram in class, and they found it attractive to write to celebrities and get answers from their idols," said the teacher.

"We found it interesting, some of the celebrities were our idols," corroborates Ana Chaves, one of the network "detectives", who says they started by selecting accounts with more than 20,000 followers or those that had been verified by Twitter.

Then they checked their publications for spelling mistakes. "I thought there would be fewer, this project has opened my eyes," he said.

Those on the receiving end of corrections, which include singer Rosario Flores and prime minister Pedro Sánchez, seem to be taking it largely in good spirits, with many celebs responding to thank the class for their hard work, and commending them on their mission.