Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Yes, I Even Pay Attention to Text Message Grammar

I took an internet quiz the other day that brought up the subject of text message grammar and whether I’m the type to worry about it.

Among the questions I was asked in a recent internet quiz that sought to determine to which generation I belong was whether I fuss over text message grammar and spelling.

The quiz incorrectly predicted that I was a “Xennial,” some apparently new, made-up creation to describe people who are on the cusp of Generation X and Millennials. This article on HUffington Post describes Xennials as “the new term being used to describe people born between 1977 and 1983,” which presumably are somewhere in the middle between the two generations.

By that definition, I’m am definitely not a Xennial.

But one of the questions it asked me was whether I fuss over grammar and spelling when sending text messages. If you’ve read this blog for a while, you surely know the answer to that.

I do.

A while back, I wrote that bloggers should “give a damn” about grammar.

Among other things, I wrote this in response to a Blogchat discussion:

t seems that there are people who, given the choice between being “passionate” about a subject and being grammatically correct, will unapologetically go with passion.

But they should apologize. Because there’s no valid reason that they can’t be both at the same time.

And then I said this:

To not care about such things is, in my opinion, an example of failing to show my readers the respect you deserve. If you’re coming here to spend time reading what I write, I have an obligation to not waste your time with drivel into which I’ve put no real effort.

I really do believe it shows a lack of respect to your audience when you, as a blogger, don’t put any real effort into proofreading and double-checking what you say.

And if I believe that about blogging, how can I not believe that when it comes to the subject of text message grammar? I’m so tired of seeing messages that begin, “Y R U….” We now have speech-to-text technology: you can speak the words if you’re not willing to actually type them.

I shouldn’t have to decipher what you mean, and, the way I look at it, I shouldn’t have to force someone else to decipher what I mean.

I’ve been typing since I was about 5 years old. Granted, back then, I wasn’t trying to type words, but I learned the keyboard when I was very young. Today’s millennials were using keyboards long before that, we’re told. So they should have an even better command of the keyboard.

One might hope that would translate onto a phone’s keypad.

It’s the younger folks, from what I gather from the question, who seem to think they don’t need to apply their skills with the keyboard.

If there’s a typo, they don’t seem to care. If there’s a misspelling, no worries…they’ll just send a follow-up message with the word correctly spelled followed by an asterisk, which seems like more work to me than just pressing the misspelled word and making the correction in the first place.

So yes, if you get a text message from me, the grammar will likely be correct. Words will be spelled out and correctly. If there’s an occasional typo, I’ll fret over that, not be flippant about it.

I see that as an extension of showing respect to my audience here.

But maybe that’s just me.

How do you feel about grammar and spelling when texting?

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Patrick is a Christian with more than 27 years experience in professional writing, producing and marketing. His professional background also includes social media, reporting for broadcast television and the web, directing, videography and photography. He enjoys getting to know people over coffee and spending time with his dog.