How ‘U’ doin’?

While I admit that sometimes it feels like I am fighting a rearguard AND losing battle against the decline of general good English and grammar, I like to think that I am still somewhat flexible and not really a horrible grammar Nazi; insisting on perfection in every single written thing I see.

It breaks my heart to see certain things,  I can accept a certain laxness of spelling and grammar in highly informal settings like IRC, or on IMs, where people using ‘u’ and ‘r’  or not even bothering with capitalisation is the norm, that I can grit my teeth and get over, because I admit that on occasions my own spelling leaves a little to be desired and I too have suffered from ‘fat finger’ syndrome, even on a full sized keyboard.

What I cannot and will not accept is that style of communication in an environment that is meant to be formal, especially one that is dedicated to the formal study of English. One of my courses involves participation in an online discussion, the participation counts towards part of your marks, not a vast amount but in my opinion, every little bit counts.

When what is supposed to be a serious, formal discussion about English and the facets that are involved in the course is peppered with things like

‘How u doin on the assig, im not sure i have all da facts i need, r u goin to aks for a extension, i thinks u should so u can help me with mine’


‘i feel like i have been writin this same page 4 eva, noone sed it was gonna b this hard’

I can only hope that they are trying to graduate with a degree in txtspk or lolcat.

P.S and my own inbuilt grammar checker just nearly had a conniption with the above sentences.

3 responses to “How ‘U’ doin’?

  • Andrew

    Although correct grammar and spelling is great for anything professional i.e. cover letters, essays, articles, etc., I feel like when you’re chatting its fine to abbreviate because its way easier to type u or sup. In addition spelling is becoming an obsolete skill because of spell check. If you’re able to use word, spelling should be no problem as long as u come close.


  • Judy

    I disagree with the previous comment on several counts. First of all, yes, tstspk is great for teens texting, otherwise as much as most of them do, their fingers would probably fall off. However, in other settings, for instance on a forum, it is only good manners to observe the conventions of the majority of the forum members — ‘when in rome’ and so forth. If I receive a text from an actual adult (yep, adults do text) I expect fewer abbreviations than if i receive one from a teen. Maybe I’m a bit of an anomaly (after all, my bff tells me I’m the only person she knows whose texting improves with alcohol consumption — I’ve been known to use four-syllable words, correctly spelled, capitalized, and punctuated, when drunk-texting — yeah, yeah, I know…) but my thirty-something friends in general agree with me.

    Too many abbreviations in serious forums (i.e., for other than socializing purposes), no capitalization, no punctuation, and lack of white space is annoying.

    Of course, in chat all bets are off, and chatspk ends up being whatever is acceptable to those chatting. No problem; as in texting, speedy communication is the important thing.

    As for spelling being an obsolete skill, well, I think most of us know how unreliable spell check can be. You can type ‘entree’ for ‘entry’ and refer to your dinner instead of your arrival. As long as you have typed an actual word, spell check can’t help you determine if you chose the right one. In everyday writing (phone messages, bills for services rendered, memos and notes, emails, reports), if a person doesn’t even make an effort to spell correctly, he runs the risk of looking like a dumba**, and all for no good reason, just laziness. If that’s a risk you’re comfortable with, fine.


  • admin

    Oh I agree with you totally, there is certainly a place for relaxed spelling, and I agree that my own spelling takes a nosedive when I am on IRC, but I do draw the line at using ‘u’ and ‘r’. To some levels I will not stoop.

    But in a formal educational environment, txtspk or shorthand does not have a place, I do not want to have to work extra hard to parse into English what someone is trying to say.


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