Proper Grammar and Punctuation in Texting? Yes, please.

 

A woman reading a text
A woman reading a text Source

Texting, as well as any instant messaging platform out there, are the go-to sources for communication these days. A lot of articles and sources have recently tried to make the argument that grammar isn’t important when it comes to texting. A lot of these sources have also claimed that using proper grammar in texting makes one seem mad or angry. But who is to really say that we shouldn’t use proper grammar when texting if we want to? In my personal opinion, I think that there is nothing wrong with using proper grammar and punctuation when texting especially in the realm of clarity. In this blog, I am going to explain why I think that using proper grammar and punctuation in texting is okay and may be a good thing.

Has there ever been a time that you misunderstood or couldn’t even understand the person that you were texting because they didn’t use proper grammar or punctuation? Think about it. Sometimes people type longer texts and if they do not separate their ideas, it may be possible to completely overlook certain aspects like embedded questions. I think that it is highly possible for a question to be disregarded or taken as a statement if there is no question mark, because through text, the reader does not get to hear the intonation of a question. It looks the same as all of the other text if there is no question mark.

This brings up the fact that texting does not allow the verbal aspect of conversation, only the non-verbal words. Suppose someone texted you and said, “Were you at home.” What does this exactly mean? Does it mean, “Were you at home?” Or does it mean, “Where you at, home?” In cases like this, I think that some apostrophes, commas, and punctuation could be helpful to the reader of your text. If the person meant “Where you at, home?” but you read “Were you at home?” and you respond with “Yes.” this could be a texting disaster depending on the context and who you are talking to.

A sample text message that shows problematic word choice and respective miscommunication
A sample text message that shows problematic word choice and respective miscommunication

It is really easy to misinterpret a text message due to it being just text. You are just reading the messages with no non-verbal communication and this can lead to misinterpretation. This is due to pragmatics. When someone misunderstands what a text message is trying to convey, this is a pragmatics issue. People sometimes semantically read what the text message says and this is where things can go wrong. This is how misinterpretation happens in texting. This is also how someone can be misinterpreted as being “short” or possibly not wanting to talk.

I think that using proper grammar and punctuation will help to clarify the pragmatics of a text messaging conversation. It is easier to misrepresent if you chose to not use proper grammar and punctuation. I find it very problematic to associate punctuation use with being angry. I think that people should assume the risk of being misunderstood when they choose to not use proper grammar and punctuation in a text. Obviously, it is perfectly fine to send a simple statement without a period via text, but if the meaning is unclear without proper grammar and punctuation, this is where I and many others draw the line on what is acceptable when it comes to texting.

Consider this. Even though some sources say that it is uncool or whatever to use proper grammar and punctuation when texting, there is actually data saying that, according to a source, “a recent study by Match.com found that 69% of female respondents said they judge men on their grammar.” I am going to go out on a limb here to say that men probably also judge others for using bad grammar (because I certainly do). I agree with Nicole Caldwell, this source’s author, that you may “want to make the argument that text abbreviations are actually a genius form of shorthand, fine. But can you really still not figure out where an apostrophe goes? I’m not the only person to have swiped left on [rejected] people who can’t figure out the difference between you’re and your.” The different forms of seemingly similar words like there, their, and they’re as well as your and you’re are commonly misrepresented in texting and social media. You may be able to withhold periods and commas when it comes to texting, but it is inexcusable to use the wrong word when it comes to the different forms of words like these. I can see how misuse can totally misconstrue the meaning of a text.

I hope you enjoyed this blog and found it as interesting as I did. How do you feel about using proper grammar and punctuation when texting? Do you think that it helps the reader understand the message? Do you think ending a sentence with punctuation is appropriate or uncool? Does it make someone seem angry, mad, or indifferent? Feel free to let me know in the comments section below. I value your feedback. Check out my contact page and my about page to learn more about me.

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