An Instagram account dedicated to correcting grammar on Indonesian influencers' image captions has been dividing social media and press in Asia.
@englishbusters will call-out influencers for poor grammar or spelling, posting a screen shot of the culprit's image and accompanying caption, with an explanation as to why the copy is incorrect. The manner in which this is done is often quite direct.
Commenting on an influencer whose caption was, "Thanks God its Friday", @englishbusters wrote: "Good morning! I hear this mistake A LOT. Indonesians just love to add an "s" to everything - why is that?
It's "thank God," as you are letting others know whom to thank. You're not speaking to God, in which case you would also need a comma: "thanks, God." Oh, and don't forget the apostrophe in "it's." Anyway, thank God indeed that it's Friday! Have a good day, learners."
While many people in Indonesia have accused @englishbusters of being a platform for public shaming, many of its 97.6k followers seem to appreciate the gentle, sometimes scoldings combined with good humour. A few influencers that have been targeted have even publicly thanked the account for its guidance.
Indonesian news website WowShack called the Instagram account "amazing" and wrote on the importance of good grammar: "...we must remember that we are absorbing information as we scroll through feeds and read captions. So, when there are hundreds of profiles with thousands of followers out there posting #sokinggris (wanna-be English) captions, they are inadvertently advertising (and teaching) poor language skills."
Interviewees in a New York Times article predominantly agreed. Auckland University of Technology lecturer Nelly Martin-Anatias told the publication that many influencers in Asian cities will use English for marketing purposes even though it's not their first language because, "There is an ideology baked in the English language that it’s the cool language, the successful language.”