Draw The Line

Is texting really ruining the English language?

Personally, I really don’t think so.

Obviously texting isn’t good, but it isn’t necessarily bad either. It’s convenient and easy for the on-the-go, young Americans of today. If we make sure to separate the way in which we text and the way we write for academic or formal purposes, then I don’t see an issue with it destroying our language at all. Although, I do believe it is an issue when you can’t even read what the person is writing because they don’t make enough of an effort to even write vowels.

Various Facebook friends of mine, originating from my high school in Massachusetts, enjoy leaving out so much of words that their posts just look like gibberish. For example:

“My mum jst dsnt qet it. Im nt a lttle grl nymore.”

Yes, someone I know actually posted that as a status that said that. It’s very disheartening that I went to an upper-middle class high school and so many graduates are still so close to illiterate. It’s actually extremely painful to read.

But, imagine she said:

“My mom just doesnt get it. Im not a little girl anymore.”

It would be far more bearable and easy to read. She’s spelling the words correctly and making full sentences, but just leaving out apostrophes, which in retrospect is not as bad as the first example.

Merely leaving out apostrophes and commas isn’t destroying our language; it is just because we live in a society in which we are always on the go. We don’t have time to grammar check everything in a quick text that says we are on our way to meet up with a friend. But, if we are writing something important, which we want to be taken seriously, then grammar is crucial or else the writer will come off uneducated and as though they do not know what they are talking about.

It is essential for us to separate the occasions for writing. We need to draw a line between the manner in which we text and how we write, formally. As long as we keep our “texting talk” in a different group from our “formal talk,” then no issue should arise. And a lot of people already know to do this, especially college students. You need punctuation and literary devices in order to write a paper, but not to just text a friend. You don’t need to spice up your text with dashes and colons, but you do need to do so with your writing in order to catch a reader’s attention. In texting, you aren’t trying to catch their attention; you already have it by specifically sending a message to that particular person. Whoever you’re talking to doesn’t want you to beat around the bush with colorful words–they just want to know if you’re going to come over or not so they can clean up a bit first.

This is the same with how we talk, compared to how we write, too. When we talk, we just spew out the words that come to our mind. You can’t edit it or think long and hard about it or whoever you’re talking to will just give up waiting for you to answer. People expect an immediate response. Just like with texting.

As long as we don’t start merging the two styles, then I don’t believe texting will ruin the English language. There will always be people who take “texting talk” way too far, but those are the outliers in the scenario. Most college students don’t type their papers the way they would text their best friend because the situation is completely different and they know they won’t be taken seriously in that format. Instead of trying–and failing–to eliminate “texting talk” we need to assert that there is a big difference between that and formal writing. We need to make sure young adults know correct grammar well so that they can break the rules through texting and still be aware that they need to use correct grammar in academic settings.

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