Text message shorthand hurting our spelling, grammar, vocabulary


If you know me at all, you know I love the art of text messaging.

It’s such a quick and easy medium – I have instant access to any of my friends, any of my sorority sisters, any of the Orange staff members. Maybe that’s why I send and receive more than 6,000 texts a month. Last month, I sent so many text messages that my bill came in a big, thick box rather than the traditional envelope.

I usually love receiving texts. Sometimes I’m deep. Sometimes I pour my heart out in a text message to a friend. Other times I’m lame. I’ll send my sister the most random text message just to say I miss you without actually having to say it, admit it.

I hate the way my sister talks in text messages. She writes like a first-grader, misspelling simple words like “you” and “to.” Maybe text messaging accounts for the fact that she relies on spellchecker to write all of her papers. I can’t wait for her to come to Baker and take the LA series.

We’d all fail those classes without spell check. Let’s face it, the only reason any of us ever spell big words right in text messages is because of T9.

Sometimes even T9 can’t save me. I’ll try to type a word like apologize and I’ll forget how many Gs and Ps are in it. Do I look it up though? Absolutely not. I create a new word and then guess how to spell it.

A few days ago, my 12-year-old cousin sent me a text message saying “IMU.” I had no idea what it meant, and to be honest, I was completely baffled by the idea of a seventh grader having unlimited text messaging.

She meant, “I miss you.”

And I can’t forget about my mom’s recent discovery: our family plan has unlimited messaging. Great.

She sounds worse than my sister. I mean she’s a successful 47-year-old woman, yet she writes me text messages that say, “wat up” and “luv u.”

It wouldn’t kill her to use a capital letter and a couple of periods or commas every once in a while.

I understand the art of text messaging. I won most likely to be texting at my sorority’s formal this year just to prove it.

The art of texting requires craft. It’s not easy fitting an entire sentence into the confines of what our cell phone providers limit us to.

But it can be done.

Instead of “you,” a texter can put a “u.” Rather than typing out “because,” a texter can type “b/c.” Why spend those extra 10 seconds typing tomorrow, when you can just type “tmrrw.”

The problem with this concept is that we’re losing the true value of the English language in typing text message jargon. We’re forgetting how to spell simple words, and we’re forgetting the difference in words like “to”, “two” and “too.”

Personally, I refuse to type in text message shorthand. I’ll continue to capitalize every sentence; I’ll continue to write out every single word in my message – even if it costs an extra .10 cents to send two instead of one.

The art of text messaging is figuring out how to say a lot in a little space. All we’re doing is figuring out how to butcher words.