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Who Not Whom: What Texting With Grammar Means

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at PSU chapter.

Compare texting your mom to texting with your friends.

When texting with your mom, you may get paragraphs sent to you with an odd attempt at an “LOL” or “LMAO.” When texting your friends, it feels natural to not talk formally.

But does it really matter? Does texting with capitalization, proper sentence structure or correct spelling really matter as long as you are getting the message across?

Texting has become the new norm, and the slang and abbreviations that have come with it save time! We get the message across with less words.

The New York Times shares in the article, “No More Periods in Texting. Period.,” how texting has created an entirely new interpretation of language.

For the first time in centuries, we can communicate instantly with little to no effort. And this has created an entire new format for communication.

The article explains how communicating formally has become exhausting. So, when we are not in school or work, it is a form of stress relief to text causually. Along with a new set of grammar, texting has created a new emotional interpretation from text.

It is natural for people to interpret tone from texts, but this has created a new interpretation. The article brings up, for example, how a sentence with a period has become a passive aggressive act. It is amazing that we have changed the interpretation of text that has been around for thousands of years.

While texting has had some amazing effects on our society, there have also been some negatives. Penn State’s Drew Cingel did a study on the effects of texting on teens’ grammar skills. He found that texting does have a direct correlation on our ability to write formally. Students ARE forgetting how to write with proper grammar.

Chances are you can find some grammar mistakes in this article because we simply do not write formally constantly anymore.

Cingel found that students who text did worse on grammar tests. And it was not on things like capitalization or periods; students did poorly with sentence structure, syntax and more. And with students constantly having spellcheck, we have lost our ability to spell correctly.

Both arguments are extremely interesting. On one hand, gone are the days of understanding coming from paragraphs.

Teens have shortened the time and space needed to convey a message. And everything from gossip to entire cultural movements have been able to spread easily. Texting has created a unique dialect! And this is not a negative thing.

On the other hand, we do not always properly convey the messages we aim to spread while texting. Texting certainly has its negatives.

Periods become passive aggressive. Wording gets messy. And texts can sometimes be confusing! Also, if you are fighting about something over text, matters often become even worse. As we text without grammar, we are losing our ability to text formally.

So texting has its advantages and disadvantages. At the end of the day, language has this amazing ability to evolve. With texting, we have flipped the entire paradigm.

As harmless as it seems, when texting with grammar or no grammar, you are making a choice with every message.

Kyra is a second-year student at Penn State. She is double-majoring in Political Science and Broadcast Journalism. She is also involved in PSU's TEDx program. For fun, she loves to play tennis, read, hang out with friends, and eat cheezits!