Text Messaging Helps Develop Grammar

Illustration for article titled Text Messaging Helps Develop Grammar

RU4 reels???? A University of Toronto report shows that text messaging is giving people, specifically teenagers, a strong grasp of grammar. This is kind of hard to believe given that most text messaging with teenagers is done in a shorthand language that is foreign to everyone else. I guess it is good to hear that the tech messaging phenomenon isn't making our children more stupid. Now if only the kids would stop using the shorthand word "ur." That shit drives me nuts. Oh well. L8Rz M8s.


Texting Helps Teens' Grammar [Textually]


I can't seem to write in fractured versions of real-life sentences. Back since the chat and IM days began I was the guy writing full sentences when everyone else was using idiotic abbreviations. They laughed at me, but that's how I got to 116wpm, by keeping up with their typing speed while still using proper spelling, punctuation, and grammar.

The same applies to text messaging now. The only catch is Sprint limits you to 160 characters, so I have to use shorter words occasionally. As for it improving grammar for teenagers, I'm somewhat lost on that part. Considering they do type in a fragmented way, and so many seem to hate T9 (I long ago learned why some people hate T9: because they can't spell, and T9 has no tolerance for misspellings), most messages that go through are a mess.

I have only one idea as to why it may help: Teenagers' lives are packed with drama. Everything's about who said what, and why, and when, and how, and there's a lot of emotion there. Many people, especially teenagers, when they were in a world where they rarely wrote or typed anything could barely appreciate the benefits of proper punctuation and grammar. I know many who just didn't care or didn't get why it was such a big deal.

Now, though, that their lives revolve around it, suddenly grammar and punctuation make all the difference between the same sentence being taken two completely different ways. One reading can start an argument while one can shut one down. It becomes much more vital to ensure the reader actually reads it the way you meant it, requiring more effort to write it correctly to begin with. I know I've had a few fights with my wife over some text messages she sent simply because I read them a different way than she thought she wrote them. This applies ten times over for the average teenager.

I will say, though, that text messaging HAS at least improved respect for the written word. Teenagers that once avoided reading and writing like the plague now text and IM like there's no tomorrow. Poor spelling and grammar or not, at least they're reading and writing in some form or another, and that's a start.