That Girl - Since When Is Txt-Spk Acceptable in Real Life?


That Girl Co

My name is That Girl, I’m a columnist for English teaching articles in the US and I also happen to be a quirky English teacher. I’ve been using WhiteSmoke for quite some time and have been given to opportunity to have a column, of sorts, here as well! So stay tuned for future posts here and on my blog.


Today we’re going to discuss text speak (or txt spk).


It is fairly common for people to respond to complaints of poor grammar on the internet with indifference. Many think that because communication via internet and text messages is informal, proper language is not necessary. While in some situations that might be true, people have become less weary of crossing the barrier between formal and informal communication. There are all too many reports of embarrassing predicaments caused by inappropriate use of “text-speak”. Text slang has been known to pop up everywhere from school papers to job applications.


The problem extends beyond lack of capitalization. reported that students use shortcuts in their work such as “ur” instead of “you’re”. They write “luv” in place of “love”, and they often neglect to capitalize i’ s and the beginnings of new sentences. Students even utilize “LOL” and “OMG” in their assignments. Teachers have come to accept that they will see these informal usages in their students’ work and learned the best way to deal with it is have the students turn in rough drafts. They circle the informal spelling and grammar and the students correct it before handing in the final assignment.


A far less forgiving arena in which text-speak has been spotted is business communication. Laura Wiegert wrote about such an occurrence in the Herald Times Reporter. A college graduate ended her cover letter by informing her potential employer that she was “looking 4ward to working 4 U”. Needless to say this candidate was not hired. 


Using the same shortcuts one uses for informal communication for school or business reflects poorly on the person and institution they represent. If you are prone to using text-speak without realizing it, it may be worth investing in a grammar checking software. For those less fluent in the English language, consider using a translator and then run the translated text through a grammar checker to be sure you’re expressing yourselves accurately and properly.


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-          That Girl.