On Texting

I’d like to start a discussion.

How grammatically accurate are you when you send text messages? How closely do you pay attention to your spelling?

If you’re running late or pressed for time, does you become u and your become ur? Do you skip the apostrophes? Do you ever drop punctuation completely?


26 responses to “On Texting

  1. I always make sure the text messages I send are grammatically correct. I feel awkward if I don’t put in the correct punctuation (including commas). My iPhone won’t even let me make mistakes because of its “Auto-Correct” feature.

  2. As you can probably guess, I spell everything out all the time. L8r,


  3. I am a secretary by profession and I find I am unable to abbreviate my texts, just can’t do it!! Consequently, it takes me a long time to type out my texts!

  4. I pay close attention to spelling, but that’s largely because T9 predictive text affords me that luxury. I don’t pay a lot of attention to sentence grammar, opting for dashes more often that periods. That’s largely my IM writing style as well.

  5. I’m always grammatically accurate in my texts unless I’m trying to be funny.

    You NEVER becomes u in ANYTHING I write.

  6. I didn’t even know an apostrophe was possible in text messages! I find it annoying enough to move between numbers, caps, and other symbols, no way am I bothering with that stuff. It’s a freaking text message, people expect mistakes because of the format!

  7. It certainly depends on how quickly I’m going, but I attempt to use correct spelling and grammar whenever possible. However, I will sometimes drop the ‘ in contractions – because for a while I didn’t know how to do it and then I got in the habit of typing things that way.

    Capitalization is another whole animal – “I” is capitalized usually, but names and proper nouns on get caps if they’re in my phone that way already. First letter of a sentence is always capped. Random words become capitalized because that’s the way I wrote them in my phone the first time I wrote them, and now my phone automatically selects to write it out that way – “Txt” is a good example.

    I abbreviate “text”. I NEVER abbreviate “you”. I rarely abbreviate words like “tonight” (to …tonite…), before… or any of the others. The only exception to this is if I’m trying to cut down my letter count – I have a 150 character limit so sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do.

  8. I rarely text but when I do I refuse to use the maddeningly ubiquitous juvenile abbreviations.

    The reason I won’t use them isn’t because they’re incorrect. I understand the need to shorten words when using a medium that encourages brevity. But we now have an generation that feels it’s perfectly acceptable to substitute “u” for you, “l8r” for later, et cetera, et cetera in all modes of written communication.

  9. I try my best to spell out everything in text messages. I usually end up using a lot of ellipses…

    The one character I skip the most is the apostrophe. Sometimes I’m just lazy. But I never EVAR use atrocities like ‘U’ and ‘UR.’ Some of my friends do and it bothers me.

    I also hate when people don’t proof the message. I have one friend who gives me a lot of “them” instead of “then,” as in: “Them you wouldn’t mind picking up some ether?”

  10. Ryan, I don’t know what’s worse — the phrasing or that your friend is asking you to pick up ether!

    Personally, I will never, EVER use “u” or “ur.” I almost did once, and looking at it irritated me so much that I went back to change it back to the proper spelling!

    If I’m in a hurry, I’ll type a phrase like “on my way” or “15 mins away,” but otherwise, I’ll use the proper grammar, including apostrophes.

    (I have a Samsung and have to hit the number 1 nine times in order to get an apostrophe, but I’ve got it down to an art! My sister, by contrast, just got an Envy, and it includes a full keyboard. So nice.)

  11. Personally, I abhor the practice of texting. I suppose only iphone users have a decent interface – my razr is incredibly unintuitive. Plus, what’s the point of sending an email with a voice-capable device? Kate, please tell me you don’t send those “15 min away” messages while driving!

  12. Hahaha! No way. It’s more like when I’m on the red line while crossing the Charles, or in that little pocket of cell phone reception underground at Central Square.

  13. What is this ‘texting’ you speak of?

    But seriously, some people still don’t have cell phones. No, really.

  14. I don’t do much texting, but I believe that when I do, I’m consistent with my practice (relative to such shorthand techniques) when IMing (IM-ing?). That is, I allow myself to use initialisms, such as brb, or ttyl, but not abominations such as “ur”, and I don’t drop apostrophes. I’m not sure why one is acceptable to me and the other is, well, an abomination πŸ˜‰

    To the anonymous razr user: if you use the left “–” button to get to the different Symbol sets, you can easily select the character you want by number. Also, you can get from symbol set to symbol set using the Next/Prev buttons. Hope that helps!

  15. I use text speak when I send text messages – ur, u, etc. And yes, I drop apostrophes and sometimes don’t capitalize i or the first words of sentences.

    Do I need to wear a Scarlet Letter?

  16. I’m a mobile messaging junkie, and send loads of text messages each month. To me, it’s an extremely efficient way to get a message to someone, wherever they are. Text messages don’t require recipients to stop what they’re doing, “right now.” They’re also much quicker to retrieve (two clicks) than a voice mail.

    I try to be as correct as possible in my messages, but will abbreviate if necessary to get my message under the 160 character limit.

    My process usually goes in this order, until I’m under 160:

    – Replace longer words with shorter ones.

    – Eliminate words not necessary to understand the message (even at the expense of grammar).

    – Abbreviate words. (I rarely use traditional TXT speak, but will have something like, “Stuck in traf on MassPk Prob will be late.” or “Look in conf rm for msg from Bob re: mtg tommrw.”

    – Drop punctuation.

    – Send a second message.

    I’m probably guilty of a few of the errors Rhine hates to see. Predictive text will often guess “on” instead of “no,” and “then” instead of “then” since they’re the same keystrokes. Since my brain knows exactly what I wanted to say, I sometimes miss the error when I give the screen a quick proof-read.

  17. I am never so rushed that I won’t type “you’re.” Never. “UR” gives me hives.

  18. Eric Jay, I’m not a fan of predictive text for the same reason — it always comes out wrong. It does seem to work quite well on the iPhone, however.

    I’m long overdue for a new phone and I want to get something that’s better for texting. I have Verizon, so I’ll probably get an Envy, like my sister did. It has a full QWERTY keyboard. Any suggestions?

  19. I don’t know what I’d do without predictive text. All that tapping would drive me batty!

    It’s funny you should talk about getting a new phone for VZW. After deciding not to switch to AT&T, I went back and forth between different VZW phones for a while, then decided to go all out and get the BlackBerry Pearl.

    It just arrived yesterday, and I am absolutely thrilled with it. It’s everything I expected, and more… and as a former Nokia sales rep, I’m a hard customer to please!

    You can read a bit about my decision making process in a recent post in my LiveJournal. I’ll probably post a “first 24 hours” review later tonight, because that’s the sort of geek I am.

    If you’re not up for the full SmartPhone plunge, I know several other messaging addicts who are happy with the enV and with the Samsung SCH-u740

  20. What a coincidence! Eric Jay, you’re awesome. The BlackBerry intimidates me, but the Samsung SCH-u740 is more my speed. QWERTY is definitely a priority.

    I am so due for a new phone (my current phone is two years old and the keys stick because I spilled MILK, of all liquids, on it), so I will be sure to check it out.

    Thanks again.

  21. Renee – yes, but it can be a lower case scarlet letter πŸ˜‰

  22. Kate said, “I have a Samsung and have to hit the number 1 nine times in order to get an apostrophe,” but I have a Samsung as well and know a shortcut. Just press the pound button for a long time, and you’ll get a character map for punctuation (as opposed to the blank space that you get when you press the pound button quickly). Also, when the predictive text senses the wrong word, I usually just press the zero button with the plus sign; that changes the word option.
    I especially enjoy the predictive text when texting in Spanish because it adds the accents for me. When I spell the words out myself, the characters on my phone have the accent facing the wrong direction.
    I prefer to have correct grammar in my messages with one exception: I tend to not capitalize “i” or “stalina” to make mysef a common noun/pronoun as equal to others who text while avoiding the capitalizion of proper nouns, etc.

  23. Kate –

    I suppose someone of your stature has ether just lying around the house. πŸ™‚

  24. 1. There are no apostrophes in Russian language. Now I see that it is an advantage.

    2. But when I’m really in a hurry I use English words (sometimes written by cyrrilic letters) because English words altogether are shorter then Russian. Like “hi” instead of “privet” or “come” instead of “priezjai”.

    3. I hate T9. It is like an offscreen laughter in the soap operas.

    4. I like commas and usually use them to often. So when I skip some, it may even be better for the grammar. Anyway I don’t bother to look extra literate.

    5. There are also “juvenile abbreviations” in Russian language but I’m to old for that. πŸ™‚

  25. Pingback: The Worst Text Message of All Time « The Grammar Vandal

  26. Our situation is tht we tink tht u guyz must b vry old 2b writing in full form as a txt msg. Get wi the times and brk habit of ur crud crazy wayz, bt we respect ur luv for writing n engloish n stuff!!
    Hollar to beth!! luv the use of the word’come’ in english as an example…….u no it!!
    Eric Jay- freakin awesome…….txt me!

    txt bck xxx πŸ™‚

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