Texting: a Foreign Language

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The hours kids spend on their phones are paying off. They have become fluent in a foreign language—texting. We get it. Texting is a way to communicate quickly with friends and family. Our fluency isn’t great. “C u l8r”—see you later—caught us off guard. LOL (Remember, grammar queens, no need for a period after text acronyms. Exclamation points, however, are just fine. OMG!)

A new study confirms what we suspected. The more kids send and receive texts, the worse their grammar skills become. IMHO

Sure, linguists will tell you language is very dynamic. We coin words, change definitions, expand usage, and watch popularity wax and wane. But, 70 percent of all text language is just plain incorrect English.

This is worrisome because text acronyms have become words for kids. Parents report that their kids are using these acronyms in their school assignments more than 60 percent of the time. And, then there is autocorrect, which can lead to an incomprehensible sentence and is creating a generation who can’t even spell common words.

We text. We are oldies yet we have embraced change! We break grammar rules all the time, knowing we are ignoring them for artistic and creative purposes. We start sentences with conjunctions…a no-no. Conjunctions include the words and, but, because, while, until, although, or if that are supposed to link sentences, clauses, phrases, or other words.

Okay, okay, okay. We swore we wouldn’t get into this fray. But, (see…we did it again…started a sentence with a conjunction) there are certain errors that are like fingernails on a chalkboard to us. Hmmm, we need to find another analogy since chalkboards, like rotary phones, won’t resonate with anyone but us oldies.

Please humor us! And, please correct the younger crowd when they screw up.

Misuse of the words fewer and less is really common and drives us nuts. Fewer is quantitative. It refers to things you can count, like mistakes in grammar or car windows. Use less as a modifier when it refers to something you can’t count, like rain or snow. We are constantly yelling at the television when ads and talk hosts misuse these words, shouting fewer when they have used less. And, these are the “guys” making the big bucks?

Irregardless is not a word! If you type it, your spell check tool will underline it in red. That should be a hint. It’s simply regardless.

Incorrect possessives have caused us to deface public and private property. The possessive is a word used to show who or what something belongs to. Ooops! Just ended a sentence with a preposition. Forgive us! Here’s the rule: always add an apostrophe “s” unless it’s a plural that ends in “s.” In that case, just add the apostrophe and nix the added “s.” That’s the Joneses’ house.

Think about the ladies’ room or the women’s dressing room, not the ladies’s room or the womens’ room. We took out our magic marker when we noted a restaurant had labeled the girls’ room the girl’s room. Oh, so this precludes more than one “girl” entering a bathroom with four stalls? FTFY! For those not in the know, that’s text for fixed that for you.

Lastly, spelling should count, too. Remember exiting is just the letter “c” away from exciting.

Our wrinkled wisdom for today? Good grammar and spelling still count, not just orally—as in spoken aloud, but in thank you notes, resumes, and especially business proposals and emails. We’d love to include tweets, but we would be wasting our breath. If you are emailing your boss, reread so autocorrect doesn’t foul something up. And perhaps most intriguing, we recently read that bad grammar can knock you off someone’s dating site picks!! Hotness points are given for knowing how to correctly use the homonyms their, they’re, and there. Bad grammar might keep you from meeting the one! Yes, sex could be a powerful motivator for all ages.