What to do about the death of proper grammar

Readers ask, The Hired Pens tries to answer. Today’s question comes from Sean, who wonders if the English language is dying a slow (or not-so-slow) death.

Dear Hired Pens,

Where has the proper and grammatically correct use of the English language gone? Seriously, it seems that everyone is using Text Speak and it is really pissing me off. I feel like I am speaking with a bunch of apes half the time. Rant complete.



Dear Sean,

Yesterday I was at the park waiting for a friend who was late. I decided to text her to see if she was still coming and thought, “I could just write ‘r u stl cmg.'” So much faster! But I didn’t, and here’s why: Doing so would make me the biggest hypocrite in the world. Okay, maybe not the biggest in the world — there’s a lot of competition out there. But all of this is to say, I feel your pain. This drives me nuts, too.

See, here’s the problem: If Text Speak were simply used when we were texting, great. No problem. I get it. It’s way easier to type in code. The problem is, Text Speak has migrated its lazy butt over to all other forms of communications, taking over the business world, even academia. To confirm this, just ask any college professor about the current state of student writing — or rudimentary spelling, for that matter.

So how can we get Text Speak to stay in our hands and off the page? A lot of ideas come to mind. Most involve rounding up everyone under 30, stripping them of all devices and dumping them on an island packed with college English professors. But that suggestion just makes me feel old. So Sean, I guess all we can do is set a good example. I know. This wasn’t a very satisfying answer.



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