I grew up with a rather strict brother who did not take any nonsense when it came to writing the correct English in addition to attending ‘the’ school, St Theresa’s girls’ boarding school Namagunga which formed my English language skills. So I did not have the luxury of using colloquial English especially in written speech. I did not appreciate this until I saw the effect of ‘petty’ use of colloquial English later in my adult life. I mean jobs have been lost because of individuals using informal English speech.
In this 21st century where we are flooded with ‘grammarly’, smart phones that have auto correct it could not get any better. The other day I got a text from a friend of mine and it was very distractful reading it. [I now understand why I get irritated when I see a consistent grammatical error]. Anyway the text went like this;
Hey Lutgard, I hp yhu are ok. u hv bin so lost but this pik luks so nice. Anyway hv a good day.
Many friends in their defense say that they only do that for texts but not for school or exams. And I don’t want to be out there feeling like the ambassador of the English language. Now I subscribe to the school of thought that says once something becomes a habit, it will cost you too much to break it. Same thing works here, you will be writing an essay and before you know it, you have the ‘u’, ‘hv’, ‘nd’ showcasing and this will cost you lots of marks however smart and bright you maybe.
The most bizarre thing is that every one seems to interpret these abbreviations their own way. More less like the new sensation, the emojis. (this will be a story for another day). On ‘debate.org, this topic earned a 50,50 score as to whether texting is killing the language. It is interesting to see people’s views, you may want to see this for yourself; https://www.debate.org/opinions/is-texting-killing-language
Here are my top ways on how to beat this habit and get yourself on a healthier relationship with your English.
- Make your informal engagements as formal as you can.
It does not matter whether you are texting your mother, brother, girlfriend, boyfriend or tutor. It does not hurt to write ‘and’ instead of ‘nd’ just and that missing ‘a’; throw those abbreviations to the bucket unless it is inevitable. The time you are trying to save by writing ‘idk’ instead of ‘I don’t know’ is costing you that school paper or that interview for your next job placement.
2. Remove or suspend Auto-correct from your settings
Call me backward or a hater for innovation but here is what I am saying. Removing or suspending that auto correct from your phone settings will get you to be more alert to what you write and how you write it. No one wants to embarrass themselves so am sure you will be more keen to write it right once the hideous red underline appears.
3. Proof read before running to ‘grammarly’
Let us face it, we are in a very fast paced millennium and this has not spared our literal skills. Sometimes you don’t need ‘grammarly’ at all. All you may need is a second read through. if you are tired, take a 30 minute rest from that text then come back to it. This may not apply to all situations but it does for school work and report writing.
I will leave you with this famous quote from Mahtama Gandhi