Writing In The Age Of Texting - Does Grammar Really Matter?
When I woke up this morning, I couldn't help but write about this topic, "Writing in the age of texting - does grammar really matter?" Now, I know some of you are probably saying – well, of course it does, and I agree too! This is why we hire editors, proof readers, beta readers and you name it, to read our books - grammar and everything else that makes a book, do matter!
But, as I was skimming through my messages on Messenger and Instagram I noticed, by and large, almost everyone I communicated with used abbreviations that couldn't be found in the English dictionary. Some even used universal slangs, and this made me think about technology and how it has impacted writing and the way we communicate. It made sense! People of all walks of life and educational background are reading, and we live in a time where books and other digital media are accessible to all. Moreso, people are reading on the go. During long, or maybe not so long commutes to school, work, home, people are plugged in. It used to be that we listened to music before the age of YouTube and e-readers, but now we’re reading.
We have access to a plethora of blogs, free books, and websites that offer free downloads of books. And with these choices, we can choose what we read and how we read. People on the go are opting for shorter stories that are captivating and tend to be written by free-lance writers and indie authors.
Usually, on-the-go readers aren’t too focused on grammatically critiquing a piece of writing for its use of slang, or, a dangling participle here or there. In fact, when I asked a group of young adult readers if the use of slang and occasional grammatical errors turned them off from reading a particular book – the overwhelming majority of them said, no, because they know what the writer is trying to say, and the storyline was so good, that those little hiccups were forgivable! I was speechless and to a certain degree, relieved. Now, I know as writers we should all aspire for grammatical perfection, that’s why most of us hire a team to scrub, critique, and proof read (at least a dozen times!) our work.
But, I can’t deny that there is a part of me that lets out a sigh, and a breath of relief knowing that all readers are not out to slay my work with an unforgiving, grammarian eye. Being a self-published author, I have confidence to push the boundaries of writing, and in the process of doing so, I produce my best work. I’m not suggesting that writers ignore the rules of grammar and take to the keyboard without thinking about the quality of work they are providing, after all, I consider books to be learning tools, and I have in the past, picked up random books in my library to see how that writer applied the use of certain words, punctuation marks, and even how they constructed their sentences. So, with this being said, I do believe as people who create books, we owe it to our readers to steer them on the right track, because we never know when someone will use our work as a reference guide.
However, I write this article to shed light on the fact that in an ever-evolving world, rules are being implicitly re-written, and this has trickled into the way we communicate. We love efficiency, and this often means, employing an abbreviated way of doing and saying things that would typically require more time where the reader/consumer isn’t very caught up on technicalities, i.e. grammar.
So, to what extent are you willing to forgive grammatical or spelling slip-ups, if at all? I know opinions on this topic will differ greatly. Please let me know your thoughts! I’m excited to read your comments! Until next time, keep writing!