Why Text Messaging is Butchering Grammar

by • June 05, 2014

Emily Green, texting, text speak, shorthand, grammarGuest post from Emily Green

Well, it took a decade, but it’s finally happened. People text so much that they’ve forgotten how to use proper grammar. What’s worse, it seems like the general population is accommodating them. This needs to stop. Let’s look at why text messaging is butchering grammar and what we can do to stop it.

Typing Shorthand is the Popular Style

You may not know what shorthand is by its name, but you’ve definitely seen it. Have you ever seen someone on Facebook type like their keyboard is missing vowels? That’s shorthand. It’s when people can’t be bothered to talk properly. It’s translated to e-mails, general Internet chat, and, sadly, even schoolwork. All too often, people write “wud” instead of “would,” “lyke” instead of “like,” and so on. This type of typing isn’t even acceptable on phones anymore! Blackberry phones include a spellcheck option, so use it and stop looking like a tool.

Typing shorthand is extremely tempting because it saves a few seconds. Maybe you’re not supposed to have your phone out, or you’re in the car (don’t text and drive), and you need to send just one text. It’s a slippery slope, though. Soon, that texting becomes how we write, especially in younger children. It’s best to avoid shorthand style altogether.

They’re Adding Acronyms to the Dictionary

It’s difficult to describe the thoughts that came to mind when this news was revealed, but the “powers that be” have started to add acronyms to the dictionary. “LOL,” “FYI,” and “OMG” – meaning laughing out loud, for your information, and oh my god, respectively – were added to the Oxford English Dictionary. Really? As if we’re not butchering the language enough, we’re now making it okay to do so? It’s embarrassing that these words were added to the dictionary — they have no place being there. What will people a hundred years from now think of this generation? Is this really the legacy that we want to leave behind — that text messaging made us too lazy to type out full words?

It’s almost scary to think of what the future holds. If they’ll add acronyms, will they add words that are misspelled? When Webster wrote the dictionary, he made a few changes. He dropped the “u” in colour, honour, and other similar words; he substituted an “s” for “c” in a few words; and he made other little changes. Will that be something that happens in the future? Do you really want to live in a world where “alot” is acceptable?

What Does This Mean for the Future?

These changes imply a much darker future for grammar. It seems like fewer people are reading books lately, and even fewer letters are being sent by mail. In fact, texting is eroding literacy in young adults. The next generation of adults will be faced with serious literacy issues, which could lead to even more serious problems. We’re already facing some grammar and literacy barriers between generations.

The next generation is going to be peppered with poor grammar, misplaced homonyms, and more, which may be why editors are in demand. As we’re all so absorbed in our phones, this constant texting could lead to some serious social and communication as well. This is evident with Facebook and Twitter’s popularity. We find ways to say what we want in 140 characters (or less), but we struggle in a face-to-face conversation.

So, what does this mean for the future? It’s difficult to say. Really, it could go either way. The texting generation could prevail, and we could live in a world that’s similar to the film “Idiocracy” — everyone lives a brain-dead life, everything is picture or symbol based, and intelligent adults are few and far between. Or, people could realize how ridiculous they sound and grammar could make a triumphant comeback.

What do you think? Does text messaging butcher the English language? Is grammar dying a slow, painful death? Leave a comment below and weigh in on the situation.

About the Author

Emily Green is a freelance writer with more than six years of experience. When she is not writing she like to go on jogs.

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