Don’t be a keyboard hero

by Zana Pommier

pommierza@mnstate.edu

As an English major, I appreciate the importance of using good grammar. When it comes to texting, however, I find the right words, more than their usage, more important. Most of the time, I don’t need to text “Hey, what time should I come over?” In fact, just a simple “when?” suffices.

Don’t get me wrong. There’s a time and place for good grammar, even on Facebook. However, if someone feels the need to post “dayum im board,” the first comment on their status will be “Maybe you should use this time to learn how to spell” along with several others flaunting their author’s knowledge of the English language.

I acknowledge that sometimes it’s difficult to suppress the gnawing need to insert a comma into an endless snake of a status. The struggle is real. But when it comes down to it, are you really going to be rewarded a golden keyboard for pointing out someone else’s mistakes?

Text is more like a conversation. Imagine you’re chatting with a group of friends and someone says, “She gave us so much homework, and I stayed up until three last night!” You wouldn’t stop them to say, “Whoa. You really should’ve broken that into two sentences,” and receive applause and praise from everyone around you. No, instead, you’ve made yourself look like the idiot.

It’s important to realize someone’s bad grammar is a reflection of who they are, almost as much as your needlessly triumphant commentary is a reflection of you. Sorry to shoot down your uninvited pride, but if you believe your calling in life is demonstrating language superiority on Facebook, you need a new hobby.

In addition, keeping formalities in texts constantly creates misunderstandings. Sometimes the receiver knitpicks at punctuation, assuming the sender has hidden meanings. When texting is the primary communication between people, every little detail seems to have significance. For example, periods are the real anger-inducing deal-breaker. When periods are used repeatedly, people interpret it as anger.

For example, suppose a boy and girl are in a long-distance relationship. The boy texts his girlfriend and says, “I think we should skype later.” The girl may respond with, “What the hell? What does that period mean? Does he want to talk about something serious? Is he going to break up with me?”

Instead of keeping proper English and ending every statement with a period, it may be best to text exactly what you feel.

Most of the time, I find keeping texts short and humorous is the best way to go. After all, I don’t want to be attacked for having proper English, almost as much as I don’t want to attack someone else for lacking it.

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