Grammar: Text Messaging’s Vanquished Foe?

by Peter Thomas Ricci

OMG, rly? Oh yes, the evidence has arrived, and it’s damning – text messaging, and the “techspeak” it promulgates, is harmful to grammar and writing.


Without sounding too dramatic, we’re going to start this article with the obvious: text messaging, and the “techspeak” slang that propels its dialogues, represents a rather sad bastardization of the English language, what with its abbreviations, slang terms and liberal ignorance of capitalization, grammar and punctuation.

Yet, we’ll be the first admit that texting is mighty convenient, which is probably why it’s proven so popular with today’s cell phone users – and why, in turn, it’s become increasingly common for real estate agents to text with their clients. After all, it’s admittedly easier to shoot a quick text to a client between appointments, rather than call them.

Can text messaging, though, spill over into our other forms of communication? Could you find yourself accidentally dropping a LMAO or BRB in your correspondence with clients, lenders or appraisers? A new body of research has offered some interesting insight into that question.

Texting in a Grammarian World

In a highly entertaining infographic collecting research from such sources as Education Week and Nielsen, OnlineCollege.org stated its main findings:

  • Forty-three percent of today’s teens purchase a cell phone for the sole purpose of text messaging.
  • Girls average more than 4,000 texts per months, while boys average more than 2,500; young adults, meanwhile, average around 1,600, and Millennials average 1,500.
  • An even 50 percent of teens admit to NOT using proper grammar, spelling and punctuation when sending text messages.
  • Even worse, 64 percent admit to using techspeak in their school writings, with 25 percent admitting to the use of emoticons and 38 percent to the use of abbreviations, a la LOL (laugh out loud) and IMHO (in my honest/humble opinion).

Be Careful What You Text

Though the research that OnlineCollege.org cited primarily concerned teenagers, its findings concern real estate agents in two main ways.

First, though the majority of agents are far beyond their teen years, it’s still useful knowing how text message norms can creep into your other forms of communication; after all, 35- to 44-year-olds still send around 500 text messages a month, and the last thing you’d want is lax techspeak influencing your communications with, say, your preferred title company.

Second, and more importantly, those survey findings offer huge insight into the future first-time homebuyers that real estate agents will be dealing with. Already, text messaging is an increasingly common form of communication between agents and younger clients, and if the data is any indication, we can count on text messaging taking on an even greater eminence in future real estate transactions.

But if we can offer any piece of advice, it would be this: do not put all your trust in the autocorrect function. Though its usefulness is paramount, all one has to do is visit the conveniently named Autocorrectfail.org to see how perilous autocorrecting can be!

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