by J.T. Buchheit
With the rise of social media and text messaging, people’s motivation to put any effort into wording, spelling or punctuating anything correctly has declined at a shocking rate. What was once “Oh my God, that’s hilarious!” has now become “OMG ROFL.”
I understand people are busy and have better things to do than scan everything they write to search for the minutest mistakes, but it has become a pandemic in the English-speaking world to make words and sentences as illegible as possible. One does not have to be a grammatical whiz to know “you” is not spelled “u.”
Contrary to what one may believe, people are judged by the grammar they use. If I’m receiving a text message filled with mistakes and shorthand writing, I feel the person is not really interested in talking to me and is doing it out of necessity, whereas if a person puts in the effort to appear at least borderline literate, I believe the person truly cares about the conversation, and I hold them in a higher regard because of it.
What depresses me the most is that this sloppy way of writing has become so ubiquitous, many consider it to be the norm and find anyone who takes the time to use correct grammar in their texts or posts to be odd or out of touch. A recent study of 126 students showed people who use periods at the end of their texts are seen as less trustworthy than those who use no punctuation at all, while those who use exclamation marks are seen as more trustworthy.
Autocorrect is a major reason for the language’s devolution. If one can put in something resembling the intended word, it can often change it to the correct spelling. People may not pay attention to the change made and think they typed the word correctly, thus learning nothing. Even worse is when one types something correctly and it changes the word or spelling to make it incorrect, which the typist may fail to see and end up becoming embarrassed. This is why I have disabled autocorrect for my mobile devices.
Correct grammar is becoming sparser every day, and unless radical changes occur, it doesn’t look like it’s going to change anytime soon. While this new technology definitely makes our lives more convenient, it has come with the sacrifice of the public’s knowledge of em dashes, semicolons and Oxford commas.